A FIVE-STAR performance from Sean Kehoe saw Young Irelands (Gowran) hold off a spirited challenge from Lisdowney in this enjoyable Northern junior A hurling encounter.
Played in ideal conditions on a splendid surface on a perfect Summer’s afternoon, Kehoe inspired the Gowran contingent to victory on Sunday. He accounted for 1-12 of his side’s total (1-9 from play) to sink Lisdowney who, despite grabbing two late goals, came up agonisingly short.
Kehoe was awesome as he struck over superb individual points from all angles. The former county minor could afford the luxury of having a penalty saved.
The Gowran men led 1-9 to 1-7 at the interval and dominated the majority of the second-half, but wasteful shooting - they struck 13 wides in total - allowed Lisdowney to stay within touching distance.
They appeared to have put daylight between the sides in the 56th minute, when a fortuitous goal from Paul Delahunty stretched the advantage to six points (2-15 to 1-12).
Lisdowney hadn’t read the script - a Sheamie Bergin point, followed by a Michael Kenny goal, set up an exciting grand finale.
Young Irelands went back on the attack. They appeared to have steadied the ship with three unanswered points in a 60-second spell in injury-time from Kehoe (2) and J.P. Treacy, but Lisdowney were not finished yet.
With nearly four minute of injury-time played a Kieran Bergin 65 deceived the Gowran defence. The sliotar went straight to the net but moments Paddy Neary brought a halt to proceedings, much to Young Irelands’ relief.
Lisdowney got off to the perfect start. The game was just 60 seconds old when Michael Kenny goaled from a 20 metre free after James O’Neill had initially brought off a brilliant save from Eddie Kenny.
The visitors held the edge throughout the opening quarter and led by 1-4 to 0-3, with Eddie Kenny in particular looking very sharp.
Young Irelands responded during the second quarter, outscoring Lisdowney by 1-6 to 0-3. They finished the half strongly with a brilliant team move that carved the opposition open.
The superb Eoin Walsh won possession around half-way, linking up with Paul Delahunty who sent a long ball forward towards goal. Tom Carroll raced through in possession, and although he mishit his shot the sliotar fell into the path of Charlie Carter. He laid it off to the on running Sean Kehoe, who superbly pulled overhead to finish off in style.
That goal was the first time the Gowran men led. With Charlie Carter kicking over a point they increased that advantage to two points (1-9 to 1-7) at the interval.
Lisdowney levelled shortly after the restart courtesy of points from Michael Kenny and Sheamie Bergin, before Kehoe pointed three times in succession between the 33rd and 36th minutes to restore Gowran’s lead (1-12 to 1-9). The hosts maintained that three point lead up until the 55th minute (1-15 to 1-12). They had the chance to stretch it even further when awarded a penalty, but Sean Kehoe’s attempt was well blocked by Lisdowney goalkeeper Paul Murphy.
Victory appeared to have been sealed though with Paul Delahunty’s goal in the 56th minute, when his shot attempt from around 40 yards bounced around the goal-line beyond netminder Murphy, but a Michael Kenny goal gave Lisdowney hope.
Three consecutive points in quick succession from Kehoe (2) and J.P. Treacy appeared to have secured victory, but Kieran Bergin’s goal from a ’65 accounted for a few anxious moments, before the full-time whistle sounded.
Overall, a deserved victory for Young Irelands, and apart from the exceptional Kehoe, Owen Walsh excelled at wing-back producing a towering performance, while Emmet Byrne at full-back and the industrious Paul Delahunty also performed well.
Best for Lisdowney were Jimmy Delaney and Anthony O’Hara who performed solidly in the full-back line, while Michael Kenny from frees and Eddie Kenny fared best in attack.
SCORERS: Young Irelands - Sean Kehoe (1-12, 0-3 frees), Paul Delahunty (1-0), J.P. Treacy (0-3, 0-1 free), Charlie Carter (0-2), Peter Carroll (0-1). Lisdowney - Michael Kenny (2-7, 1-6 frees 0-1 65), Eddie Kenny (0-3), Kieran Bergin (1-0, 65), Sheamie Bergin (0-2), Raymond Fitzpatrick (0-1).
Young Irelands - J. O’Neill, J. Glendon, E. Byrne, G. Corcoran, O. Walsh, T. Drennan, M. Carter, M. Lennon, P. Delahunty, J.P. Treacy, T. Carroll, W. Bolger, S. Kehoe, P. Carroll, C. Carter. Sub: P. Lennon for Corcoran, 35 mins.
Lisdowney - P. Murphy, J. Delaney, A. O’Hara, O. Lyons, K. Bergin, Michael Bergin, N. Kenny, Mick Bergin, R. Fitzpatrick, S. Bergin, L. O’Carroll, M. Kenny, C. Carroll, A. Fogarty, E. Kenny.
Referee - P. Neary (James Stephens).