Goals win games and JK Bracken's endorsed this adage with a hat-trick of green flags which proved the main difference between themselves and neighbours Clonakenny in the Séamus Ó Riain Cup county senior hurling championship group four clash at Templetuohy on Saturday.
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JK Bracken's 3-20 Clonakenny 1-17
This was a winner-takes-all contest and the victory propels JK Bracken's into the quarter-finals and they will fancy their chances of doing well.
The scoreline flattered JK Bracken's as Clonakenny contributed well to a decent contest which was put to bed with Darren Russell’s penalty goal for the Templemore lads after thirty-eight minutes - that strike put them 3-10 to 0-12 ahead.
Clonakenny did not bend the knee at that stage, but they did not have the firepower up front to extract themselves from that downward slide.
Clonakenny were short a few regulars going into the game and were hit by a David O'Shea goal for JK Bracken's after only three minutes following a Paddy Cadell delivery.
Clonakenny did not falter, but eleven minutes later they conceded a second goal when Lyndon Fairbrother’s long-range free dipped in under the crossbar to put JK Bracken's 2-2 to 0-3 clear.
JK Bracken's were looking the slicker outfit, but Clonakenny were competing all the way with Michael J Carroll’s free-taking crucial.
At the break JK Bracken's led 2-7 to 0-9 with the game still very much in the melting pot.
DRAGGED TO THE GROUND
JK Bracken's were still ahead 2-10 to 0-12 seven minutes into the second half when Shane Scully was dragged to the ground. Goalie Darren Russell made the long trip forward to take the penalty and made no mistake - his goal tipped the scales very much in favour of the Townies.
Clonakenny needed a goal, but a Michael J Carroll effort was scrambled clear by the JK Bracken's defence. Later, with Templemore ahead 3-16 to 0-17, Nicky Ryan had a blast for goal also beaten out. A goal on either occasion might have sparked a Clonakenny rally.
They did get a goal thanks to Cian O'Dwyer in the 62nd minute, but that strike arrived too late to make any real difference.
So, JK Bracken's are through to the knock-out stages and they look to have a side capable of seriously challenging for honours. They are drawing on the very successful underage teams of recent years with inter-county star Paddy Cadell an inspiring figure at the heart of their defence.
Shane Bourke’s return to the club is a huge boost to their attack while Tom Murphy, David O'Shea, Shane Scully and Lorcan Egan were others to catch the eye as did goalie Darren Russell.
Full marks to Clonakenny for a battling performance which came up just short. The loss of a few key players was a big blow to them. Willie Ryan, John Joe Ryan, Eoin Nesbitt, Bobby Bergin, Nicky Ryan and the accurate Michael J Carroll were their key performers.
JK Bracken's: Darren Russell (1-0 penalty), Keith Kennedy, Tommy Murphy, Martin Delaney (0-1), Cathal Scully, Paddy Cadell (0-1), Niall Quinlan, Eanna McBride, Lorcan Egan (0-2), Shane Scully (0-2), Lyndon Fairbrother (1-10, 1-9 frees), Lorcan Roche, Owen Fitzpatrick (0-1), Shane Bourke (0-2), David O'Shea (1-1). Subs: Jack Fogarty for Roche (48th), Adrian Bourke for Fitzpatrick (57th), Dean McEnroe for O'Shea (58th), Michael Egan for Kennedy (59th).
Clonakenny: Walter Byrne, Donie Greed, Willie Ryan, Tom Carroll, Eoin Nesbitt, John Joe Ryan (0-1), Delacey Byrne, Bobby Bergin, Jonathan Cody (0-1), Michael J Carroll (0-11, 0-10 frees), John Costigan (0-1), Liam Mullally, Paul Bergin, Nicky Ryan (0-3), Peadar Byrne. Subs: Prionsias Mathews for Cody (32nd), Cian O'Dwyer (1-0) for Mullally (53rd).
Referee: Ger Fitzpatrick (Roscrea).