Laois Shopping Centre ACHL Division 1 Rd 5
By Pat Delaney
THESE modern day rivals met at Derrynaseera on Saturday for just another league match? Not really. There was still the scent of sulphur from their last meeting in last year’s championship decider.
There were hard knocks given and taken but nothing dangerous. A huge crowd turned up on a perfect evening for hurling and they were not disappointed with the result in doubt until the final whistle.
The visitors were in search of a first league or championship victory in three years and after a slow start they grew into the game. Camross raced in to a four point lead, Niall Holmes, Zane Keenan and Matthew Collier on target before Keenan placed Dean Delaney for a fourth after five minutes.
Rathdowney/Errill settled and Brandon McGinley posted their opening score from play and James Ryan added a second a minute later. Niall Holmes converted a free but after the visitors missed a few chances Pat McKane opened his account. Himself and Niall Holmes swapped on two occasions and Darren Gilmartin pushed the home team further in front with an excellent strike after 20 minutes.
Tadgh Dowling pulled one back then limped off injured while points by Niall Holmes and Zane Keenan saw the hosts in front by four with five minutes remaining to the break.
The closing minutes were frantic. Pat McKane pointed from play, then John Purcell whipped over a brace while at the other end Zane Keenan and Dean Delaney fired over leaving the visitors trailing 0-10 to 0-12 at the interval.
Within four minutes of the restart the visitors had drawn level with points by Brandon McGinley and James Ryan. The visitors were dealt a blow when centre-forward Shane Dollard was shown a second yellow card. A minute later Zane Keenan split the posts to reclaim the lead.
Pat McKane then fired two frees between the uprights and the champions were in arrears for the first time. Matthew Collier levelled the game again after 42 minutes.
Camross now hit the front with a Zane Keenan point and they would extend their advantage to five in an eight minute blitz. Substitute Dinny Cleere pulled one back for Rathdowney/Errill.
Points by John Keane and Pat McKane with a beauty from a line ball, saw the tension mounting. In injury time Brian Campion journeyed down field take a close in free but his effort sailed over the bar and the holders clung to a two point lead.
The result puts Camross in third place and they are poised to claim a knock out place when their next outing takes them to Knockaroo. Rathdowney/Errill face pointless Abbeyleix next time out.
CAMROSS: Tadgh Doran; Mick Phelan, Andrew Collier, Dan Breen; Darrell Dooley, Gearoid Burke, Craig Delaney; Zane Keenan (0-7), Dean Delaney (0-2); Darren Gilmartin (0-2), Ciaran Collier, Matthew Collier (0-2); Dwane Palmer, Darren Drennan (0-1), Niall Holmes (0-6).
Subs: Martin Burke for Dooley (53m), Odhran Phelan for M. Collier (55m)
RATHDOWNEY/ERRILL: Damien Madden; Jimmy Corrigan, Brian Campion (0-1), Kevin O’Dea; Joe Fitzpatrick, John Keane (0-1), John Purcell (0-2); David Poynton, Alan Delaney; James Ryan (0-1), Shane Dollard (0-1), Pat McKane (0-8); Tadgh Dowling (0-1) Eoin Bourke, Brandon McGinley (0-2).
Subs: Paddy Meehan for Poynton (36m), Dinny Cleere (0-1) for Delaney (45m)
Referee: John Lalor (Shanahoe)