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Collins Strike Earns Share of the Spoils

November 8, 2018

Sarfields ............ 2-13 
Liam Mellows  ... 3-10

Report by Tommy Devane

For long periods of this entertaining Group D Senior Hurling Championship at Athenry on Saturday, Sarsfields looked to have enough done to collect the spoils.

They led from as early as the second minute and deep into injury time they still managed to be three points ahead, but when inspirational centre back John Lee found himself on the opposition's 14 yard line he was bundled to the ground and referee Sean Moran had no hesitation in awarding a penalty to the city side.

David Collins who had already rifled home a 21 yard free five minutes previously, showed huge character to step up and strike home a super match-saving goal. There followed another couple of minutes of injury time but both sides were unable to find a match-winner and yet another championship tie would end in stalemate. Draws by their nature leave mixed emotions and while Liam Mellows will feel relieved at the final outcome (as a defeat would surely have put paid to their championship ambitions), Sarsfields will be disappointed that they were caught on the line.

The New Inn/Bullaun outfit may point to wayward shooting which saw them tally ten wades in total while Liam Mellows were far more economical with their chances. Liam Mellows have become a bogey team for Sarsfields over the last few seasons and again on Saturday, while showing them huge respect, they also showed no fear as they gave as good as they got in an action-packed entertaining game of hurling.

End to end action, some excellent point taking from play and placed balls, five excellently taken goals, not a bad belt struck all day, 100% commitment from both sides and an efficient referee combined to give the ingredients of what was an enjoyable showpiece.

Liam Mellows started rather sluggishly and Sarsfields found themselves five points to one ahead after the opening quarter. Kerril Wade was deadly accurate with three frees which Kevin Hynes and Joe McGrath added one apiece from play. David Fahy fired over Liam Mellows opener after eight minutes. Aonghus Callanan, who looked sharp up front, exchanged points with Peter Garvey before Callanan found Ciaran Hynes all alone on the edge of the square and he fired home the opening goat after 22 minutes. Their joy was short-lived however, as two minutes later Kieran Kelly did some excellent work to release Kerril Wade who pulled first time to rattle the back of the Mellows net.

Hynes and Garvey swopped a point apiece and when Paddy McMahon slapped home goal number two minutes into injury time, Sarsfields found themselves seven points to the good. John Hughes had the final score of the half a minute later to leave the half-time score Sarsfields 2-7 Liam Mellows 1-4.

The city side's tally of 1-4 at the break looked to be a satisfactory return considering the elements were against them and showing no immediate signs of abating, and would have had aspirations of turning around a six point deficit in the second period.

But two points in the opening five minutes from Noel Kelly and Kerril Wade ensured Sarsfields were continuing where they left off but Liam Mellows, who introduced Geffrey Lynskey late in the first period, began to find the range from placed balls. Allied to points from Aonghus Callanan and Brian Keville, Mellows were beginning to make inroads into Sarsfields lead. They trailed by five points with four minutes of normal time remaining when John Lee was fouled, The athletic David Collins rifled home the free and suddenly there was only two points in it. Kerril Wade hit his seventh point of the day two minutes into injury time and Sarsfields looked to have done enough to hold on, but there was to be another twist and Collins' late penalty gave Mellows a deserving draw in the end. Sarsfields who upped their performance significantly since their clash with Clarenbridge, and were denied the services of Paraic Forde and Peter Kelly are still in the championship hunt. Paraic Kelly, Donal Keane and Michael Warde worked tirelessly all through with Kelly excellent again. Kieran Kelly and Ronan Quinn just about broke even with their rivals while upfront once again Kerril Wade was the star of the attack ably assisted by Joe McGrath, Peter Garvey, Noel Kelly and Paddy McMahon.

Liam Mellows had excellent displays from Seanie O'Brien, John Lee and David Collins (the latter having a storming game all through in defence and attack), while Aonghus Callinan, John Hughes, Geffrey Lynskey and Conor Hypes all looked threatening up front.

Sarsfields: T. Kenny, C. Murray, D. Keane, P Kelly, R. Quinn, M. Ward, A., McMahon, K. Kelly (0-1), K. Hypes (0-1), J. McGrath (0-1), P Garvey (02), K. Wade (1-7, 0-7 frees), P McMahon (1-0), N. Kelly (0-1).

Liam Mellows: P Gannon, M. Grealish, S. O'Brien, S. Hypes, D. Collins (2-0, 1-0 free, 1-0 penalty), J. Lee, C. Hypes, D. Fahy (0-1), E. Ryan, A. Callanan (0-2, 0-1 free), B. Keville (0-1), J. Hughes (0-1), K. Walsh, N. Mclnerney (0-1), C. Hypes (1-1). Subs: G. Lynskey (0-3) (22), and P Ryan for Keville (52).

Referee: Sean Moran.

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