ALL conquering O’Loughlin-Gaels powered to a good win in the 2011 Kilkenny under-14 hurling league final in Clara to add another crown to the Feile-na-nGael hurling and football All-Irelands won weeks earlier.
Brave Dicksboro played with great heart and the game was a thriller. The future of Kilkenny hurling is safe and well if the standard of play in this match is anything to go by.
After nine minutes the score was level at 1-2 each. The best player on view, Robbie Buckley had helped himself to all O’Loughlin’s scores while the Dicksboro full-forward, Jim Dollard’s, shot a goal Two frees from Andrew Gaffney made up their account.
Between the 10th and 20th minutes Dicksboro enjoyed their best spell and went 1-4 to 1-2 in front. Robbie Buckley pulled back a good point. After that O’Loughlin’s were awarded a free 80 yards out. Young Buckley stood over the free, gave it a mighty effort and sent the ball over the black spot for a massive boost for his side.
Before half-time Buckley added another point from a 21 yard free to leave his side ahead at the break, 1-5 to 1-4.
On the resumption, O’Loughlin’s upped the pace. Almost immediately Buckley added a point. He scored the next point from a free as well. The hard-working Cian Loy got on the scoreboard with a well taken point for the St John’s Park outfit.
All this time talented Dicksboro were trying desperately to break down the opposing defence, who had their best hour yet. The full-back line of Shane Fahey, Pat Clifford and Jay Leahy were all man of the match contenders.
The O’Loughlin’s centre-back, Gary Bryan, was, as always, outstanding. He was flanked by two class acts, Thomas Gleeson and Jack Lawlor. Midfield was dominated by O’Loughlin’s through the stylish play of Shane Maher and Ross Butler.
The ’Boro didn’t surrender. They put the O’Loughlin’s defence under heavy pressure. The defence held firm every time. From one clearance Thomas Gleeson broke out with the ball and off loaded to Shane Maher, who skilfully doubled on it up to full-forward Robbie Buckley. The later buried the ball in the net. A magnificent score.
On 39 minutes the ’Boro scored their first point of the half through, a free from Andrew Gaffney. They were trying very hard to get scores and O’Loughlin’s were under severe pressure.
The winners work rate was top class. At one stage Marcus Stapleton chased 40 yards to hook an opponent and force him to strike the ball wide. It was a brilliant piece of play. Joe Bolger hooked and blocked all evening. Shane Mahoney worked his socks off too.
Centre-forward Daniel O’Connor pitched in with a good point on 45 minutes followed by a similar effort from Buckley. On 53 minutes Andrew Gaffney landed another free which was followed by a lovely score from Buckley, this time from the right wing.
On 58 minutes Robbie Buckley scored another superb goal to bring his personal tally to 3-10. Aaron Malone finished the scoring for Dicksboro with a good score from the near midfield.
Both teams can look forward to a break before the championship starts in mid-September.
O’Loughlin-Gaels panel - Daniel O’Connor, Robbie Murphy, Jay Leahy, Marcus Stapleton, Jack Lawlor, Shane Fahy, Peter Collins, Ross Butler, Robbie Buckley, Shane Maher, Gary Bryan, Cian Loy, Sean Bolger, Jordan Molloy, Lyndon Brannigan, Thomas Wadding, Joe Banville, Shane Mahony, Garry Gleeson, Patrick Clifford, Kevin Rowe, John Dillon, Steven Scallan and the injured Sean Kiely.
Dicksboro panel - Ben Tynan, Conor Fitzpatrick, Aaron Malone, Evan Carroll, Aidan Nolan, Edward Moylan, Conor Doheny, Thomas Kenny, Cormac Buggy, Robbie Murphy, Kieran Ryan, Andrew Gaffney, Oisin Gough, Jim Dollard, Adam Clifford, Robert Crotty, Cian Butler, David Ryan.