Seaghan Connolly of St. Fechin's gets the better of Pearse Óg's Shane Kellegher during their SHC meeting in Darver. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Senior Hurling Championship
St. Fechin's 3-13 Pearse Óg 1-12
This St Fechin's outfit have been on the road for two years plus now and they put all that know-how to good use in Darver on Thursday night.
Both sides went into the game without a victory, so the match was effectively a quarter-final knockout.
And it was the reigning champions, St. Fechin's, who extended their run with a polished performance.
Their victory was mainly down to Paddy Lynch and his ability to find the posts from dead balls. The punishing accuracy of the wing-forward wore Pearse Óg's indiscpline down.
Five-points to no reply at the tail end of the opening-half positioned Cathal Ryan’s men in the ascendancy and when John Crosbie pounced for goal on the referee’s half time whistle it was a lead they would not relinquish.
The Dundalk team responded after the break, coming out strongly with Gerard Smyth's penalty goal coming almost straight from the throw-in.
Vincent Hynes goaled on the counter for St. Fechin's to nudge them further clear, but, with a strong wind at their back, Ógs took over with four minors in a row.
You could feel St. Fechin's becoming nervous, though substitute Brian Stephenson sealed the game with a goal at the end of a fine passing move.
The major signalled the end of the road for Pearse Óg in this year's Paddy Kelly race, however, the Hoops remain in the hunt for a third title in a row.
St. Fechin's: Stephen Hackett; Caoimhín Seery, Brian Devlin, Colin Griffin, Wayne Treacy (0-1), Cathal Ryan, Óisín Byrne; Seaghan Conneely (0-2), Darren McDonnell; Paddy Lynch (0-9, five frees and three '65s), Donal Ryan, Vincent Hynes (1-0); David Stephenson, John Crosbie (1-0), Niall Devlin
Subs: Michael Ryan (0-1) for Stephenson (43), Cormac McAuley for Seery (43), Ian Connor for Griffin (51), Brian Stephenson (1-0) for Crosbie (52), Liam Ryan for McDonnell (60)
Pearse Óg: Barry Myles; Adam Traynor, Brian Minogue, Richie Scanlon; Noel Callan, Shane Callan (0-2), Gerard Smyth (1-5, goal pen and four frees); Mike Lyons (0-1), Gary O’Brien (0-1, free); Dean Walsh (0-2), Andy McCrave, Padraig McCarthy; Aidan Callan, Brian McCabe (0-1), Gerry Hoey
Subs: John Callan for Scanlon (39), Pat McGauley for Hoey (39), Mark Egan for Traynor (45)
Referee: Gerry Keoghan