This All-County junior hurling league tie in Thomastown on Saturday was a most enjoyable affair with both sides displaying their best when aided by a very significant wind, writes Barrie Henriques.
The Gaels were first to play with the elements. They took full advantage with a powerful display from their backs Brian Murphy, Paddy Deegan, Padraic Meaney, Vinnie Wallace particularly. Danny Lenehan grabbed the first major for the city side, and with further points by Alan Geoghegan and John Doyle, they had set their stall out early.
James Norris, with some well taken frees, kept Piltown in touch. Disaster struck the Piltown effort on 14 minutes when a long delivery was not dealt with safely. Lenehan was again on hand to slam home.
This gave the city side an extended cushion of nine points. The Gaels were rampant as half time approached, at which stage the O’Loughlin Gaels led by 2-11 to 0-7. They eventually won by 2-18 to 0-22.
On the resumption, Piltown, with Kevin Walsh, Daniel Norris and Nicky Kenny providing an impenetrable defensive line took the game to the Gaels, giving their forwards a steady supply of well-directed possession.
Piltown responded with gusto. Philly Kenny, James Norris, Nicky Kenny and Shane Kinsella belted over points. At the end of the third quarter the sides were level. Piltown looked the more likely to emerge victors.
However, the Gaels reinvented themselves, grabbed a few points from Lenehan, Nigel Skehan and Geoghegan to create some clear water at their bows. However, Piltown were not for surrender.
James Norris and Nicky Kenny from the half back line belted three smashing, brave points to leave the minimum between them. Alan Geoghegan grabbed a free, and so it remained – a hard earned two point win. O’Loughllin’s advance to the quarter-final.
Scorers: O’Loughlin Gaels - Alan Geoghegan (0-9, eight frees); Danny Lenehan (2-1); John Doyle (0-3); Fergal Brennan (0-2); Vinny Wallace, Paddy Cantwell, Nigel Skehan (0-1 each). Piltown - James Norris (0-11, eight frees, one ’65); Nicky Kenny (0-4); Philly Kenny (0-3); Martin Power (0-2); Shane Kinsella (0-1); Kevin Walsh (0-1 free).
O’Loughlin Gaels - Sammy Johnson, Gary Bryan, Brian Murphy, Kevin O’Brien, Martin Gibbons, Paddy Deegan, Padraic Meaney, Vinnie Wallace, Brian Dowling, Alan Geoghegan, Fergal Brennan, Paddy Cantwell, John Doyle, Sheamie Cummins, Danny Lenehan. Subs - Nigel Skehan, Ross Butler.
Piltown - Andrew Norris, Brendan Norris, Pa Connolly, Shane Walsh, Kevin Walsh, Daniel Norris, Nicky Kenny, Neil Kelly, Conor O’Shea, Adam Murphy, Shane Kinsella, Dean Brophy, Martin Power, James Norris, Philly Kenny. Subs (used):. David Burchill, Ian Long, Michael O’ Dwyer, David O’Shea, Tom Kenny.
Referee - John Kennedy, (Ballyhale Shamrocks).