Calry St Joseph's come out on top in hurling championship opener

Back 13/06/2023 @ 01:54 | hurlingnews | Calry St Joseph's come out on top in hurling championship opener

Calry St Josephs, the kingpins of Sligo club hurling for much of the last decade got their 2023 Davis and Yeats Tavern Sligo senior championship campaign off to the best possible start with a hard earned victory over Western Gaels at Hazelwood on Monday afternoon.

It was a classic game of two halves with the west Sligo side having the upper hand early on to lead at half time but the home side then dominating in the second period to prevail by three points in the end.

The warm conditions made for a pleasant day for spectators but made for difficulty playing conditions with water breaks allowed in both halves.

The visitors had the first score on the board with a point from play by Alan Cawley in the first move of the game, but Calry equalised within a minute when centre forward Conor Griffin pointed a free.

The visitors were dominating the exchanges around the centre of the park over the following ten minutes and had Calry under pressure for an extended period before Darragh Flynn got a fine point from long range after 13 minutes to reflect that dominance on the score board.

That was quickly followed by the first goal of the game as Flynn again got on the end of a move involving Tomas Cawley and Michael Connolly to find the net to give Western Gaels a four-point lead.

Conor Griffin immediately responded with a point for Calry to leave the score at a 1-2 to 0-2 at the water break.

In the period immediately after the water break the sides swapped points as Calry came more into the game with the visitor’s goalkeeper Simon Wade called on to keep his goal intact.  Ciaran Keenan added two points for Western Gaels with Conor Griffin responding for Calry to leave a margin of four, 1-5 to 0-4, between the sides at the break, the Gaels ahead.

The home side immediately reduced that margin to three within a minute of the resumption and although Keenan again pointed for Western Gaels, the momentum was very much with Calry. Points from Griffin again and a pointed free by goalkeeper Declan Reidy narrowed the gap further and by the time the second water break was called there was just a point between the sides 1-6 to 0-8,

Calry continued with that momentum on the resumption and got their big breakthrough when Mark Anderson found the net in the 17th minute of the half to put them ahead for the first time in the game.

Keenan immediately pulled one back with a 65 but Griffin restored the home side’s two-point advantage as the game entered its last ten minutes.  Ronan Cox then added to that with a booming point froim inside his own half to put them three ahead.

Both sides were tiring at this point but Western Gaels piled on the pressure in an attempt to pull the game back. It wasn’t to be however and although there was a final exchange of points, Calry finished with a three-point margin of victory 1-11 to 1-8 to get the perfect start to their championship campaign.

Calry St Joseph’s: Declan Reidy (0-2); Sean Hynes, David Colleary, Marc Gray; Thomas Kelly, Niall McDermott, Adan Kenna; Brian Shannon, Ronan Cox (0-1); Darragh Cox, Conor Griffin (0-8), Matthew Hunt (1-0); Mark Anderson, Michael O’Callaghan, Ciaran Maguire Sub: Geoff Hynes

Western Gaels: Simon Wade; Michael Connolly, Lee Gilmartin, Tomas Cawley; Eoghan Durkan, Darragh Bourke, Aidan Morrison; Alan Cawley (0-1), Feargal Riain; Daniel Kirby (0-1), Niall Crean, Colm Naughton; Ciaran Keenan (0-5, 3f, 1 65), Darach O’Boyle; Darragh Flynn (1-1).   Subs: Jack Byron for Crean (38m)