The Rower bite the dust after marathon semi

Ballinkillen 0-20

Ballinkillen 0-20

Rower Inistioge 0-15


This South junior hurling league ‘A’ semi-final in Graignamanagh was exciting, with plenty of thrills and not too little skill being the order of the day. And it needed extra-time to produce a winner before the contestants pulled the tent-poles, released the stays and went about their merry way.

In essence the Carlow outfit lasted the distance better, but the hard-trying Rower-Inistioge will point to a number of chances that were stared down, not availed of, and could have made the difference ultimately.

Free-takers were important in the overall context. The winners had David English in good form early on, and when his form dipped somewhat, young wing forward, Dion Wall stepped into the vacancy, and unerringly continued in similar vein to the more experienced English.

For the Rower, Danny Cottrell was no less effective, being successful from his free shots. The glaring difference being that his chances were numerically less that those on offer to the Ballinkillen pair.

Blistering pace

The opening half, which started at a blistering pace, moved from one end line to the other with fierce determination and alacrity. No man had a breath of space to do the business on the ball, such was the closeness of the marking.

The movement of the ball along the ground was very noticeable, and obviously a ploy predetermined by mentors and players alike, given the condition of the excellent Graignamanagh sod.

Both sides found it difficult to create some clear water between themselves. Ballinkillen led by three points to one by the 9th minute thanks to points from Wall, English and Sean Murphy. By the 13th minute, the Rower had caught them with points by Cottrell (two frees) and the valuable John James Kenny.

Two mighty frees by English handed the initiative to the Carlow side, but Cottrell unerringly nullified the advantage with two smashing frees of his own by the 21st minute. Within four minutes of the break, the Rower had struck out for advantage with two grand points by Michael Cody and Kenn.

Again, not to be out-manoeuvred, English and a superb Wall lineball stitched the whole affair up, at seven points apiece when John Kennedy blew the half time feadóg.

The second half progressd with an even greater fire.

Rower advantage

English and Cottrell exchanged early points, but a few from Kenny, Paudie Fleming and Cottrell extended the Rower advantage. Meaney narrowed it somewhat with a delightful point in the 42nd minute. Neil Lyng restored the three-point advantage with a superb line ball two minutes after the Meaney effort.

Within the closing five minutes, points by Peter Minchen, Dion Wall and the driving English levelled matters as the game flitted towards extra-time. Another surging English run gave the advantage to the Carlow men, and it didn’t look too rosy for the Rower.

But, cometh the hour, cometh the man, and in the ebbing seconds Neil Lyng drilled the equaliser through the Ballinkillen posts from a 40 metre line ball. We had extra time!

Four unanswered points by Wall, Minchen, Darren Dalton and John Ryan inside the closing four minutes of the extra-time first half probably sealed the game for Ballinkillen. Here a point was a big lead, and they added another two points on the turn round.

The Rower had a chance when a Rory Galavan 20-metre free screeched over the bar with three minutes remaining, but that was as good as it got for the men in green and red.

The better team won? Yup.

Scorers: Ballinkillen - Dion Wall (0-8, six frees); David English (0-6, five frees); Vinny Meaney (0-2); John Ryan, Sean Murphy, Peter Minchen, Darren Dalton (0-1 each). Rower-Inistioge - Danny Cottrell (0-6, frees); J.J. Kenny (0-3); Neil Lyng (0-2); Michael Cody (0-2); Paudie Fleming (0-1); Rory Galavan (0-1, free).

Ballinkillen - Martin Minchen, John Hughes, James Kinsella, Lauren Kinsella, Sean Minchen, David English, John Ryan, Craig Wall, Sean Murphy, Peter Minchen, Vinny Meaney, Dion Wall, Marty Dalton, Darren Dalton, Thomas Kinsella. Sub - Brendan Foley.

Rower-Inistioge - David Murphy, Tadhg Leahy, Nicky Kenny, Toby Kavanagh, Richard Ryan, Neil Lyng, Pauric Ryan, Paudie Fleming, Rory Galavan, Brendan Lyng, J.J. Kenny, Tom Murphy, Michael Cody, Conor Lyng, Danny Cottrell. Subs - Michael McDonald, Tomás Lyng.

Referee - John Kennedy (Shamrocks).

Shamrocks sunk as ’Vat brim with goals

Mullinavat 3-16

Ballyhale Shamrocks 1-14

At Hugginstown, basking in sunshine, Mullinavat were good value for an eight-point victory over Ballyhale Shamrocks in the second junior hurling ‘A’ league semi-final.

Spectators enjoyed a high standard of fare for this grade. The winners, who now meet Carlow’s Ballinkillen in the decider, established a firm grip through early scores.

Although Ballyhale fought on to the end, they never really looked like overhauling the deficit. The Rod Iron men were able to drive on any time the gap narrowed.

On 16 minutes Paddy Raftice copper-fastened dominance in the middle third by goaling a penalty for a lead of 1-5 to 0-3. The Mullinavat full-forward line had been causing no end of bother.

Two minutes later, Brian Kenneally finished a defence-shredding move with another green flag.

Two swift white flags meant Ballyhale Shamrocks, on 21 minutes, were staring at a 10-point hole, 2-5 to 0-3. They rallied and reeled off six points before the break. Graft by the forwards was the key to this upturn.

A Raftice point in the 28th minute meant his side’s half-time advantage was five points, 2-8 to 0-9. Hope glimmered for the chasers. Although Eóin Doyle quickly slotted a free on resumption, this shade never brightened. Ger Malone turned back on the style with two sharp minor scores.

The leaders kept the opposition at arm’s length and hurled away. Even three fine points by Brian Cody left the deficit no better than 2-12 to 0-13 on 41 minutes. Five minutes later, the exuberant Malone killed the contest with a goal.

Doyle did provide some consolation, deftly netting a penalty of his own in the 50th minute, but the die was cast. Mullinavat, who brim with promise at this level, eased away home.

For them, Paddy Jones kept a sound goal. His defence hurled solidly, with centre-back Thomas Aylward the rock on which many attacks perished. That seven of the front eight scored speaks for itself. Nicky Anthony and Paddy Raftice swung an advantage in midfield. The attack, led splendidly by Ger Malone, was consistently dangerous.

For Ballyhale, David Harrington made several good saves. Best at the back were Ger Holden and Keith Nolan. Tom Coogan and Willie Coogan battled to the death.

Up front, Patrick Mullen struck good ball and Eóin Doyle again registered strongly on the scoreboard. The promising Brian Cody took three classy scores.

Scorers: Mullinavat - Ger Malone (1-5); Paddy Raftice (1-4, goal penalty, 0-3 frees); Brian Kenneally (1-1); Eoin Maher (0-3); Nicky Anthony, Tommy Holden, Mossy Murphy (0-1 each). Ballyhale Shamrocks - Eoin Doyle (1-7, goal penalty, six frees); Brian Cody (0-3); Patrick Mullen (0-2, one free); Enda Fitzpatrick (0-1).

Mullinavat - Paddy Jones (capt), Derek Aylward, Gerry Anthony, Darren Kenneally, Simon Aylward, Thomas Aylward, Liam Murphy, Nicky Anthony, Paddy Raftice, Joe Gahan, Ger Malone, Tommy Holden, Brian Kenneally, Mossie Murphy, Eóin Maher.

Ballyhale Shamrocks - David Harrington, Stephen Donnelly, Michael Dermody (capt), Ger Holden, Keith Nolan, Kieran Grace, Brian Butler, Willie Coogan, Eóin Doyle, Michael Carroll, Tom Coogan, Liam Grant, Brian Cody, Patrick Mullen, Enda Fitzpatrick. Subs - Liam Elvidge, Dylan Doran, Gary Fitzpatrick, Jack Kenneally, Darren Mason, Keith Murphy.

Referee: Julian O’Dwyer (Windgap).

Kilmacow keep nerve and edge through in tight semi

Kilmacow 2-21

Slieverue 2-8

The first of the South junior hurling ‘B’ league semi-finals in Mullinavat on Sunday was a very evenly contested affair, at least for the first half, during which Slieverue gave as good as they got, and they would have been well entitled to think that they had more than a reasonable chance of winning.

But it transpired that the foundation of such expectation was founded on a base of quicksand. Despite the fact that they managed to draw level with Kilmacow with two smashing points by Paul Rockett and Brian Grant within four minutes of the restart, they couldn’t manage another score from the 34th to the 52nd minutes.

Therein lies the story of the game, or more pertinently, the reason why Kilmacow returned with the spoils of war.

The side arrived at the half-way stage of the first half within a point of each other, but then Kilmacow, as they were scheduled to do again in the second half, took off on a scoring spree that yielded 1-4 without reply from Slieverue between the 14th and the 24th minutes.

Sean Ivory, Peter Mullally, Emmett Blanchfield, Josh Tobin and Mullally again flagged points before a terrific passing movement involving Shane Gaule, Peter Mullally and Liam Kearns worked the ball to corner-forward, John Daniels, who blasted home the first of the two Kilmacow goals. However, a terrific goal by Paul Rockett and a super point by the same player within three minutes of the Daniels goal gave Slieverue reason to expect, reason to hope.

That expectancy was further embellished with a fortuitous goal by Richie Roche in the 29th minute, when to his utter surprise, a speculative long-range lob from him appeared to go all the way to the back of the Kilmacow net. On investigation, it appeared that the ball took a slight touch off a defender’s hurley before going by the Kilmacow custodian, Davy Long.

The Kilmacow defence was well marshalled by full-back, Tom Reddy, who led by example. His contribution merited a man-of-the-match award, and he underlined his enthusiasm with the score of the game in the 51st minute when he gathered the ball on his own half back line, travelled through plenty of difficult terrain before landing it between the Slieverue posts. A truly remarkable score.

Kevin McNamara, Liam Power and Andy Kearns were pretty solid on the half back line all through, while Josh Tobin put in a strong shift at midfield all through the hour. Peter Mullally led the attack with cohesion, and confidence.

His ability to involve all around him was excellent, and his score taking was top class. Emmett Blanchfield at corner forward was the pick of the full forward division.

Alan Atkins had a strong game at full-back for Slieverue. Kieran Dowling was very commanding in the pivotal defensive role, while Robbie Roche and Paul Rockett worked extremely hard for the cause around the middle of the park.

It was further afield that the losers had the big problems. They just couldn’t disentangle themselves from the shackles of the Kilmacow defenders, and in such situations, score-getting is never an easy ask.

At half-time Kilmacow were slightly in front by 1-11 to 2-5.

Slieverue were level at the 34-minute mark, but that was as good as it got for the men in black and amber.

Kilmacow took off, and led by 2-19 to 2-8 by the time the game had ticked into the last five minutes. Sliverue had a glimmer of hope left when they were awarded a 20-metre free in front of goal. However, a brilliant save by Davy Long resulted in the shot being stopped and cleared, and with it went the last chance.

The better team won, of that there can be no doubt, and if Slieverue are looking for reasons why defeat was their lot, they can only have a squint at the second half stats for the answer.

Scorers: Kilmacow - Peter Mullally (0-8, four frees); John Daniels (2-1); Emmett Blanchfield (0-4); Sean Ivory (0-3); Josh Tobin (0-2); Tom Reddy, Shane Gaule, Liam Kearns (0-1 each). Slieverue - Paul Rockett (1-6, 1-3 frees); Robbie Roche (1-0); Brian Grant (0-1); Gavin Quilty (0-1).

Kilmacow - Davy Long, John Barron, Tom Reddy, Shane Power, Kevin McNamara, Liam Power, Andy Kearns, Richie Walsh, Josh Tobin, Shane Gaule, Peter Mullally, Liam Kearns, John Daniels, Sean Ivory, Emmett Blanchfield. Subs - Paul Laffin, Declan Gahan, Sean McGrath, Conor Walsh.

Slieverue - Noel Wall, Chris Butler, Alan Atkins, Jamie Murphy, Richie Roche, Kieran Dowling, Brian Kirwan, Paul Rockett, Robbie Roche, Ricky Hogan, Dylan Habberlyn, Brian Grant, Michael Habberlyn, Martin Knox, Gavin Quilty.