The Ringtown team before their IHC victory over Raharney.

McCauley’s goal crucial as 14-man Ringtown advance

Ringtown 1-16 Clonguish Gaels 1-12

Gerry Buckley

Despite being a man down for over two thirds of the game, Ringtown still had enough in hand to edge past a gutsy Clonguish Gaels outfit in this afternoon’s Leinster Junior Hurling Championship opener, played in front of a small but enthusiastic crowd in Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.

Given the abundance of heavy rain before the game, the surface at Longford GAA headquarters was in remarkably good shape. Both sides were wasteful – especially in the first half – but, overall, the Westmeath intermediate champions looked marginally the more skilful and cohesive unit throughout. They will now face Kilkenny representatives, Black and Whites, in the provincial quarter-final at a Lake County venue on Saturday week (November 12).

Ryan McCauley put the visitors a point up after a mere 20 seconds. The first of a plethora of missed opportunities followed before Jason Moran doubled his side’s lead by slotting over a 40-metre free. Clonguish skipper Bart Hanley responded by converting a 30-metre free in the fifth minute.

The winners continued to take wrong options in front of goal and when Moran’s second successful free – this time from a difficult angle – in the 11th minute restored their two-point cushion, their wind-assisted hosts were flattered to be just two points in arrears (0-3 to 0-1) at the end of the opening quarter.

Moments after Matthew Flynn was wide from a decent goal chance, his colleague Joe O’Brien converted a 65-metre free. Pat Burke’s deliveries from placed balls were, as ever, lengthy and accurate, and he teed up Emmet Corrigan for his side’s fourth point in the 17th minute. McCauley then doubled his tally, but Nigel Mannion’s troops were dealt a major blow in the 19th minute when Paul Nangle was red-carded after the referee had consulted a linesman and an umpire.

Buoyed by this, the green and white-clad outfit rattled over four unanswered points between the 21st and 28th minutes, courtesy of Dan Crossan (a great point under pressure) and a Hanley hat-trick (the first of them from open play coming shortly before Flynn missed another chance of a three-pointer) to nudge Clonguish in front for the first time (0-6 to 0-5).

With exactly a half an hour on the clock, Mark Cunningham, who had been quiet by his standards up to this point in time, almost conjured up what would have a great solo goal, Eanna Daly thwarting him with a fine save. However, the green flag at the stand end of the ground was being waved within a minute, McCauley flashing the sliotar past Daly at the end of a patient move. Moran converted a ‘65’ with the last puck of the half to put Ringtown ahead by 1-6 to 0-6 at the interval. The opening ten minutes of the second moiety proved to be something of a shootout from frees between Cunningham (who scored all three that he took) and Hanley (who slotted over a brace before missing what looked like a ‘gimme’ in the 40th minute). Ciaran Moran broke the monotony by rifling over a terrific point from open play. Hanley (a free) and sub Darren Kilcoyne (a great score under pressure) traded points to leave the men in green and gold stripes ahead by 1-11 to 0-9 at the end of the third quarter.

Hanley pointed another free before Cunningham, who had a fine second half, raised a white flag after picking up a Burke puck-out, and sub Luke Moore added another with a sublime finish. Ringtown now led by six points (1-13 to 0-10) and they looked in control, but when the impressive O’Brien, now operating in attack, was fouled close to goal in the 50th minute, he dusted himself down and duly rifled an unstoppable penalty stroke past Burke.

Moore then scored his second classy point for the winners, and his fellow-sub Jeff Nea followed up with another splendid point, but points from O’Brien and Crossan had the gap down to three points (1-15 to 1-12) by the 59th minute. A minimum of four minutes’ added-time was announced. A lobbed free from Hanley drifted wide before Cunningham gave his team a little breathing space by slotting over a routine free. O’Brien’s attempt to blast a goal from a last-gasp free was foiled by a resolute Ringtown rearguard.


Ringtown: R McAuley 1-2, M Cunningham 0-5 (4f), J Moran 0-3 (2f, 1‘65’), L Moore 0-2, C Moran, E Corrigan, D Kilcoyne and J Nea 0-1 each.

Clonguish Gaels: B Hanley 0-8 (7f), J O’Brien 1-2 (1-0pen, 0-1f), D Crossan 0-2.


Pat Burke; Niall Moran, Ryan Moore, Thomas Daniels; Charles Flynn, Ciaran Moran, Feidhlim Burke; Mark Cunningham, James Boylan; Paul Nangle, Emmet Corrigan, Ryan McAuley; Sean Boylan, Johnny Hardman, Jason Moran. Subs used: Darren Kilcoyne for J Boylan (h-t), Luke Moore for J Moran (h-t), Jack McMahon for F Burke (45), Conor O’Grady for Hardman (48), Jeff Nea for S Boylan (51).

Clonguish Gaels

Eanna Daly; Oisín Flanagan, Gerard Moore, Michael Devlin; David Gregg, Joe O’Brien, Podgey McGuinness; Declan Lee, Paul Barden; Francis Molloy, Stephen Gregg, Bart Hanley; Matthew Flynn, Alan Sorohan, Dan Crossan. Subs used: Ray O’Brien for D Gregg (20), Shane O’Brien for S Gregg (39), Eamonn Nertney for McGuinness (48), Cathal McGlynn for Devlin (54).

Ref: Sean Michael Maher.


Man of the match: Ryan McCauley (Ringtown). His haul of 1-2 from play was crucial in a tight game, while his fielding of the greasy sliotar was impressive throughout.

The key moment: McCauley’s goal came at a great stage, when Ringtown were a man down and had just fallen into arrears for the first time.