Connacht PPS Senior A Hurling Final – Saturday, 24th February
Darren Kelly in Duggan Park
The damage was done in the first half and Presentation College, Athenry didn’t look back and were crowned Connacht PPS Senior A hurling champions.
Two Adam Brett goals and nine Mark Kennedy points were the major scores as an unanswered second quarter put 11 points between the teams at half-time.
The teams were level at 0-2 apiece in the first quarter. Athenry started strongly with Kennedy and Jason Reilly on target but Gort were back on terms as Connell Keane and Enda Egan made it 0-2 apiece on 15 minutes.
Jordan Nolan also had a Gort opportunity fall short just before Egan’s free but Athenry responded with Conor Walsh setting up Ian McGlynn for the third point on 16 minutes.
It gave them an advantage they never relinquished as five minutes later, they hit a 10-point patch that produced a comfortable 1-10 to 0-2 interval score line.
Cillian Lawless put made the margin two points before he was denied by the woodwork and Kennedy’s shot was saved by Oisin Higgins.
Wing back Karl Conneely stretched the lead but on 23 minutes, Brett struck the first goal and Presentation were 1-5 to 0-2 clear.
Lawless’ second added before three Kennedy minors were following by Walsh before the break.
Athenry didn’t rest on their laurels as within 30 seconds of the restart, Brett got his second major and points for Lawless and Kennedy made it 2-12 to 0-2 on 33 minutes.
Egan hit back with two Gort placed balls but Kennedy added making it 2-13 to 0-4. Sean Gardiner took over the free taking duties for Gort adding four by the 54th minute. But two points each for Kennedy and Brett left it 2-17 to 0-8.
Kennedy got his sixth from play before departing and Walsh put over Athenry’s last free. Gort desperately chased a consolation goal and got some fortune in injury time when Egan’s long-range sideline cut was dropped by keeper Patrick Rabbitte for their green flag.
Gort will have to pick themselves up again for next Saturday (3rd March) when they are in All-Ireland quarter-final action. Presentation can focus on potential opponents as they don’t play their semi-final until Monday, March 19th.
Pres Athenry: Patrick Rabbitte; Eoin Lawless, Adam Clarke, Jason Reilly; Karl Conneely (0-1), Conor Lee, TJ Brennan; Shane Quirke, Ian McGlynn (0-1); Eoin O’Donnell, Adam Brett (2-2), Brion Connolly; Mark Kennedy (0-9, three frees), Conor Walsh (0-3, one free), Cillian Lawless (0-3).
Gort CS: Oisin Higgins; Evan Duggan, Ivan Neilan, Tadhg Dean; Jason O’Donoghue, Darach Fahy, Padraig Murphy; Evan Hunt, Oisin Flannery; Enda Egan (1-3, 1-0 sideline, three frees), Connell Keane (0-1), Cathal Hegarty; Jordan Nolan, Donal Moloney, Sean Gardiner (0-4, all frees).
Referee: Shane Hynes