BACKBONED by nine players from their Minor B Championship winning side, Ardrahan produced a solid second half performance to overcome Athenry and qualify for a tilt at the 2018 U21 A hurling title.
In a game hosted by Clarinbridge on Sunday morning, they played second fiddle for the majority of the opening half, before powering away on the resumption as seven unanswered points saw them open up a gap that Athenry seldom looked like pegging back.
While they slotted over the scores in the second half, Ardrahan did some of their best work in the opening half when facing the influential elements as they trailed by just two points at the break. A terrific workrate allied to some outstanding defence helped set up the game for their second half fightback although the ease in which they pulled away on the resumption was somewhat of a surprise.
On an occasion when both sides did some outstanding defensive work, Athenry will look to their attack for their downfall as nine opening half wides when playing with a strong wind was costly and matters did not get any better on the resumption as they added five more. In fact, it took them 30 minutes to get their only point of the second half and their goal, which came in additional time, just made the semi-final look more competitive than it actually was.
The first quarter of the contest was very slow warming up as the sides shared just four points in the opening 20 minutes. It was Ardrahan who drew first blood with a Sean Gardiner free, with Ronan Hardiman getting the first of his three points to level matters. In fact, the score was contentious, as the umpire waved the shot wide on two occasions before eventually raising the white flag following some protests.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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