YOUNG Irelands (Gowran) showed great spirit and commitment when putting the hurt of a first round defeat behind them to win this high-scoring second round intermediate hurling league game at Tom Walsh Park on Friday.
There was little or nothing between the teams entering the final straight, but try as they might All-Ireland junior champions, Thomastown, just couldn’t save the situation against a team that gave their all as they scored a 2-15 to 0-10 win.
The first half was like a shoot-out between free takers, Paul Keogh (YI) and Micheal Donnelly (T) who grabbed the lion’s share of scores. Keogh put his name on seven points on his way to a terrific tally of 1-12, which was some take for any player.
Thomastown burst into action and early points from Dylan Waugh and Adrian Burke helped them settle. Keogh got Young Irelands off the mark in the fourth minute, but concessions to Donnelly (free) and Waugh left them 0-1 to 0-4 behind after only six minutes.
A pair of pointed frees from Paul Keogh was followed by a goal from the same player in the 10th minute to put ’Irelands 1-3 to 0-4 in front. They drove on strongly, and while Thomastown were always close, it was the winners who hit the rest leading by 1-7 to 0-9.
Michael Donnelly claimed five of those losers scores as he did his best to keep the strong early momentum going.
The hurling was fast and very competitive during the next quarter, and neither side was able to gain the upper hand. They hit the 44th minute with nothing decided as the score stood at 1-11 to 0-13.
A point from Paul Keogh edged the winners a bit further ahead, but they were called back by Donnelly. However, a 49th minute goal form Dick Carroll tilted the balance in ’Irelands direction as they inched 2-12 to 0-14 ahead.
Keogh tapped over a point as the pressure piled on Thomastown, who were still giving as good as they got. Donnelly and Chris Nolan swopped points as the game heading into the closing five minutes.
In a frantic dash to the line, ’Irelands had one score from Paul Holden while Thomastown narrowed the gap with efforts from Donnelly (2) and Dylan Waugh, but they came up short.
The winners had every reason to be grateful to goalie, Martin Carey, who brought off two top class saves during the closing half, which proved to be vital in the end. Their other stars were scorer supreme, Paul Keogh along with towering centre-back, Michael Walsh, Paul Holden and P.J. Treacy.
Scorers: Young Irelands - Paul Keogh (1-12); Dick Carroll (1-0); Paul Holden, J.P. Treacy, Chris Nolan (0-1 each). Thomastown - Michael Donnelly (0-12); Dylan Waugh (0-3); Thomas O’Hanrahan, Jonjo Farrell, Dessie Walsh (0-1 each).
Young Irelands - Martin Carey, Niall Walsh, Emmett Byrne, Ciaran Carroll, Jack Glendon, Michael Walsh, J.J. Lennon, Michael Lennon, J.P. Treacy, Paul Holden, Jodie Foley, Paul Keogh, Dick Carroll, Sean Keogh, Thomas Carroll. Sub - Chris Nolan.
Thomastown - Dylan Waugh, Sean Mahony, Shane Lanigan, Barry Whelan, Brian Murphy, Derek Lanigan, James Hoyne, Dessie Walsh, Dylan Waugh, David Prendergast, Michael Donnelly, Stuart Waugh, Adrian Burke, Jonjo Farrell, Thomas O’Hanrahan. Subs - Peter O’Hanrahan, Richard O’Hara, Robert O’Hanrahan.
Referee - Ray Byrne (Glenmore).