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Bennettsbridge Intermediates into semi final of Champ after a bruising encounter with Tullogher

posted Nov 3, 2015, 5:54 AM by Alan Flynn

The dream goes on for this wonderful bunch of lads in the Michael Lyng Intermediate Hurling Championship. Playing against a hardened Tullagher Rosbercon team who were semi-finalists last season and only narrowly went down to eventual champions Mullinavat our boys knew they were in for a mighty battle. And so it was on a glorious evening in Ballyhale last Saturday evening. It was the Bridge that waved the first flag with a sweet point from Sean Morrissey which was quickly 2 from a Nickey Cleere free. In fact the half was going along very nicely until the 27th minute when the Bridge were 8points to 5 in front. Then when taking a puck out Enda Cleere strained or twisted his knee and went to the ground. Concern was on everyone’s face because Enda is such an important part of all the success the team has enjoyed  and he does not go down lightly. Bravely he got to his feet to resume action but when a long range free landed on the edge of the square Edmund Cullinane caught and  drilled the ball to the net. All the good work of the half was undone and it was all square. Just on the stroke of half time Nickey Cleere pointed a free to leave just the minimum between the sides going in for the break. If the first half was frantic the second got off to the perfect start for the Bridge. Liam Blanchfield won the ball in the middle of the field and headed for goal. The tackles were coming in hard and fast but Liam kept on going before rifling  the ball to the net. Liam was on the wrong end of 2 heavy challenges from the Tullagher defence in a 5 minute spell with both backs receiving yellow cards when one would have seen the line on another occasion. Four further points were scored by both teams but with 10 minutes left on the clock Aidan Cleere caught a high ball but was hit and his legs taken from under him. Amazingly a free was not awarded and from the breaking ball Tullagher headed for goal and when the ball reached Cian O’Donoghue he made up for some poor free taking by firing the ball to the net. Game back on and the pressure was mounting on the Bridge defence. However with James Moran directing operations at full back the Bridge defence held firm. With the score at 1-14 to 2-09 and five minutes remaining Liam Blanchfield struck again with another great goal followed by 2 more points a little breathing space was regained and the win was ours. So next Sunday we go to Nowlan Park for a semi-final and no matter what it will not be easy. But at this stage you would not expect it to be and for now the dream goes on. Our team  E Cleere, E Morrissey, J Moran, C Wafer, J Cleere, R Lennon, A Cleere(0-1), D Wafer, K Blanchfield, H O’Neill, N Cleere(0-11), B Lannon, S Morrissey(0-3), L Blanchfield(2-1), K Brennan. Subs used. M Shiel and E Murphy.