Peter Brennan bursts forward forward for Knockbridge. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Senior Hurling Championship
Knockbridge 2-19 Pearse Óg 1-11
Knockbridge began their Senior Hurling Championship campaign with victory over Pearse Óg in Darver on Thursday evening.
Their side included seven players who started last year’s final against St. Fechin's and with the wind at their backs, Trevor Hillard’s side led by 2-10 to 0-4 at the break with the goals coming from Shane Fennell and Gavin Kerrigan, who were a handful inside.
Despite a spirited second-half showing from Pearse Óg, spearheaded by their player/managers Gerard Smyth and Shane Callan, Knockbridge ran out comfortable winners.
Knockbridge were 1-5 to 0-4 ahead after 19 minutes with 1-3 coming from Fennell while the impressive Gerry McKeown and Conor Deane also found the range with Paul Grimes, Brian McCabe, Smyth and Gary O’Brien keeping Pearse Óg alive and kicking in the game.
The 'bridge stepped up their performance and scored a further 1-4 without reply to take a commanding 12-point lead into half-time, with Kerrigan raising the second green flag.
Pearse Óg reshuffled the pack at the interval and won the second-half by 1-7 to 0-9. Smyth (2) and Callan scored the first three-points of the second-period before Andrew Smyth and Deane raised white flags for the 'bridge.
Further points from Seán Marry, McKeown and Fennell added to their side’s lead before Smyth and Fennell traded frees and sub John Callan put some respectability on the scoreboard for Ógs with a goal.
Fennell (2), McKeown, Robert Wallace and Ronan Byrne concluded Knockbridge’s scoring as they prevailed with an 11-point margin.
Knockbridge: Kevin McNally; Ronan Mullholland, Brian Buckley, Andrew Smyth (0-2); Mark Wallace, Ronan Byrne (0-1), Gavin Kane; James Costello, Conor Deane (0-2); David Kettle, Peter Brennan (0-1), Gerry McKeown (0-6); Seán Marry (0-1), Gavin Kerrigan (1-0), Shane Fennell (1-5, 0-3 frees)
Subs: Liam Molloy for Kane (37), Padraic Mackin for Smyth (37), Robert Wallace (0-1) for Marry (45), Gerry Hall for G. Kerrigan (45), Michael Fitzpatrick for Deane (53)
Pearse Óg: Barry Myles; Noel Callan, Brian Minogue, Cian Sholloe; Shane Kellegher, Shane Callan (0-1), Aidan Callan; Gerard Smyth (0-5, four frees and one '65), Gary O’Brien (0-2); Paul Grimes (0-1), Pat McGauley, Padraig McCarthy; Andrew McCrave (0-1), Brian McCabe (0-1), Mike Lyons
Subs: Adam Traynor for Aidan Callan (HT), Dean Walshe for McGauley (37), John Callan (1-0) for Noel Callan (41), Gerry Hoey for Paul Grimes (50)