Rapparees 2-17 Buffers Alley 3-10
Tomás ‘Mossy’ Mahon added another hefty wad to his career totals for the Rapparees as they held off determined Buffers Alley in Saturday afternoon’s Pettitt’s county senior hurling championship Group A opener at sunny Innovate Wexford Park.
‘Mossy’s scoring contributions for the Rapps are already comfortably in a completely different stratosphere to most other mere mortals, and his excellence was again absolutely crucial to the Enniscorthy town-men coming through this searching test on an afternoon when he notched a tidy 2-11 (0-9 frees).
Buffers Alley were always threatening, and after the Rapps generated a 0-5 to 0-2 lead, the Kilmuckridge crew mixed things up when a long delivery from wing-back Ross Donohoe was touched on inside by Paul O’Leary for Andrew Kenny to net and complete a 1-3 to 0-5 transformation after 15 minutes.
But the Rapps’ Mr. Reliability ‘Mossy’ snapped back with a 19th-minute goal after good work by Anthony Roche, while Mahon tagged on three pointed frees to help steer the eventual winners clear by 1-9 to 1-5 at half-time as Ross Donohoe (’65) and Paul O’Leary (free) kept the ‘Alley encouraged.
Indeed, Buffers Alley really appeared to have their tails up when Andrew Kenny capitalised upon a rebound after Shane Grannell had forced a save as Kenny bagged his second personal goal to help restore parity after 33 minutes (2-7 to 1-10).
The Rapps tested the ‘Alley’s resolve once again as points from Darragh Pepper and ‘Mossy’ Mahon sandwiched ‘Mossy’ being set up by Pepper for his second goal which fed into a 2-12 to 2-7 lead after 43 minutes.
Once more though Buffers Alley demonstrated their stubbornness as a long-range free from Ciarán Kenny was fetched on the edge of the square by Shane Grannell who rammed home to cut the gap to two points midway through the second-half (2-12 to 3-7).
There was little real certainty about the outcome when that gap remained after the sides shared the next six points, and Buffers Alley twice had the Rapps’ goal under serious threat during that spell.
But ‘Mossy’ Mahon ensured Paudge ‘Skinner’ Walsh’s charges got the job done as he bolstered another impressive personal haul when firing over another free and one from play in the closing stages, although his colleagues had to defy determined ‘Alley efforts before emerging with maximum spoils.
Rapparees – Eamonn Furlong; Dillon Redmond, Liam Ryan, Mel Doyle; James Peare, Ricky Fox, Jack Kelly (joint-capt., 0-1); Leonard Connolly, Kevin Foley (joint-capt.); Kevin Ryan (0-1), Ryan Mahon (0-1), Anthony Roche; Darragh Pepper (0-3), Tomás Mahon (2-11, 0-9 frees), Alan Tobin.
Sub: Richie Farrell for Roche (46).
Buffers Alley – Darren O’Brien; Paudie Reidy, Bobby Kenny, Conor Kenny; Seán Murphy, Ciarán Kenny (capt., 0-1), Ross Donohoe (0-2, free and ’65); Robert O’Leary, Kevin Roche; Shane Grannell (1-1), Willie Doran, Ciarán Murphy; Paul O’Leary (0-4, 2 frees), John Lee Meyler, Andrew Kenny (2-1).
Subs: John Farrell (0-1) for R O’Leary (ht); R O’Leary for C Murphy (53); Páraic Roche for K Roche (53).
Referee – Seán Whelan (St. Martin’s).