It WAS brutally windy in Páirc na Reatha on Sunday afternoon where the Rower-Inistioge, seeking their second win on the bounce, nobbled a fancied Mullinavat by 1-10 to 0-7 in what was an entirely a forgettable experience for most of the fine gathering at this lively intermediate hurling league clash.
Some might suggest that the testing wind across the pitch was central to the excuses being proffered as the reason for such awful poor shooting. Maybe so, for some of the bad shooting, but Michael Grace didn’t seem to have any problems when shooting four from four with little difficulty. One high profile player managed to shoot two successive wides from the same distance on opposite sides of the goalposts.
Hard to fathom that one!
The better team
The winners were by far the better combination. Whilst the game was brimming with more bluster, and blubber than memorable hurling, whatever quality play over the hour was carried in the bag brought by the men in green and red.
Defenders were the dominant force on both sides, and while the Rower-Inistioge forwards collected all of their scores from play with the exception of two Paul Sheehan frees, Mullinavat didn’t bag a single score from the same source until the 51st minute.
Mullinavat’s only score from a forward, the only one other score from play was driven over by midfielder, Mark Mansfield two minutes earlier.
Let there be no doubt that the winners deserved their victory. Their midfield pairing of Sean Grace, and particularly Joe Lyng dominated for long periods. Behind them the Rower had the returned, enormously dependable Sean Cummins lording matters from number 6.
Cummins stood imperious, swallowing up huge amounts of action. He probably shaded the man of the match award over Joe Lyng.
Never lost lead
Scores were at a premium. The Rower were awarded a semi-penalty early and Paul Sheehan rammed home the first shot, but his re-taken shot was saved by the Mullinavat defenders. Michael Grace slipped the winners into a one-point lead 30 seconds later, a lead they were never to relinquish, nor did it ever seem likely.
A sizeable 12 more minutes passed before the next score. Some of the wides were unbelievable. Quite a number were well, well wide of the mark.
A mix-up between two of the Mullinavat defenders in the 17th minute allowed Paul Sheehan in for a goal.
At half time the winners led by 1-3 to 0-3.
On mature reflection it can be suggested that some of the losers didn’t want to win badly enough. The Rower were hungrier, and more determined especially at 6 and 9.
Mullinavat had solid returns from Thomas Aylward, Simon Aylward, who shot a terrific five points from long-range frees, Pauric Gahan, Joe Fennelly, captain Michael Murphy, Ger Malone, Mark Mansfield (second half) and Liam Murphy.
Both sides missed two golden goal chances apiece, in addition to the points. Mullinavat only mustered four points in the second half, a statistic that will not make pleasant reading to their management. They have a lot of thinking to do about where they are heading.
Scorers: Rower-Inistioge - Paul Sheehan (1-3, two pointed frees); Michael Grace (0-4), Sean Grace, Kieran Joyce, John James Kenny (0-1 each). Mullinavat - Simon Aylward (0-5, frees); Thomas Aylward (0-1, free); mark Mansfield, Ger Malone (0-1 each).
Rower-Inistioge - Liam Tierney, Eoin Doyle, Ruairi Galavan, Tommy Grace, Kieran Joyce, Sean Cummins, Sean Lyster, Sean Grace, Joe Lyng, Michael Grace, David Lyng, Conor Joyce, Padraig Tierney, Tom Murphy, Paul Sheehan. Subs - James Cassin for Padraig Tierney (35 mins); James Doyle for Sean Lyster (46 mins); J.J. Kenny for David Lyng (55 mins).
Mullinavat - James Culleton, Tony Duggan, Seamus Farrell, Joe Fennelly, Thomas Aylward, Pauric Gahan, Liam Murphy, Simon Aylward, Mark Mansfield, Willie O’Dwyer, Dinny Butler, Ger Malone, Joe Gahan, Michael Murphy, Paddy Raftice. Sub - John Walsh for Dinny Butler (37 mins).
Referee - Maurice Flynn (Mooncoin).