LAST year’s finalists Passage have booked their place in the semi final of the BCE Consulting Engineers Seandún Junior A Hurling Championship as they defeated Whitechurch in their hard-fought quarter final at Ballinlough on Saturday.
This game was in the balance right to the finish as wayward shooting in the closing stages was to prevent Whitechurch from sending the game into extra time as Passage held out for a two-point win.
Points from play by Cian McCarthy and Graham Carroll gave Passage an early lead before Dylan Burke put Whitechurch in the driving seat with the game’s only goal in the fifth minute.
Whitechurch were on the back foot for most of the opening quarter as Passage outscored them by 0-5 to 0-2. Whitechurch’s only scores approaching the first half water break were points from play by Burke and Cathal Dennehy, while Cian McCarthy slotted over the first two of his 12 frees.
Persistent fouling was to prove costly for Whitechurch in the second quarter as Cian McCarthy converted four further frees.
Ryan Carroll got Passage’s only score from play in this phase. Whitechurch replied with two pointed frees from Ronan Murphy and further points by Cillian Egan and Burke, as Passage led 0-12 to 1-6 at half-time.
In a high-scoring second half, Ruairi Dennehy tagged on a point from play for Whitechurch within seconds of the resumption, before Passage took a grip on proceedings with three unanswered frees by Cian McCarthy.
Ronan Murphy converted two frees for Whitechurch and Tomas O’Neill responded with a point from play.
Cian McCarthy slotted over two frees for Passage approaching the second half water break, while Ronan Murphy pointed his fifth free.
Whitechurch also had points from play by Egan, Cathal Dennehy and All Ireland Under 20 medallist Micheal Mullins, to stay within touching distance.
Both sides scored three points each in the final quarter as Whitechurch sought to rescue the game, but a late point by Niall McCarthy ensured victory for Passage.
Scorers for Passage: Cian McCarthy 0-14 (0-12); R Harrington, G Carroll 0-2 each; R Carroll, T O’Neill, N McCarthy 0-1 each.
Whitechurch: R Murphy 0-7 (0-6f, 0-1 65); D Burke 1-2; M Mullins, C Egan, C Dennehy 0-2 each; R Dennehy 0-1.
Passage: A Long; Cathal McCarthy, E Murphy R Cooney; A Kidney, R Harrington, S Harrington; R Carroll, G Carroll; T O’Neill, N McCarthy, L Hanlon; S Howard, Cian McCarthy, C Coughlan.
Sub: J Healy for Coughlan 45.
Whitechurch: C Mulcahy; A Murphy, A Kelleher; C Ryan, M Callanan, J O’Riordan; R Murphy, J McGrath; R Dennehy, C Dennehy, M Mullins; C Egan, D Burke, H Woulfe.
Sub: R Blake for R Dennehy (57).
Referee: Paddy O’Sullivan (Bishopstown).