A goal after three minutes by Conor Delaney set the tone for this county junior hurling ‘B’ final in Palmerstown, and it posted an early warning for John Lockes (Callan) that they were not going to get an easy ride from the fast and furious Ballyraggett lads.
The aforementioned Delaney tore the heart out of the pedantic Callan defence as he orchestrated most of the scoring chances that came the way of his fellow attackers. Delaney, sited at centre-forward, had scored a whopping 1-3 before the 16th minute had elapsed.
That, coupled with the unerring free-taking of wing forward, Davy Kelly certainly presented a sizeable challenge to the John Lockes men. Even allowing for the stunning start by the winners, one suspected that the Callan lads were not going to roll over too easily.
Bill McDowell, and Jim Power in midfield slowly got to grips with the direction of the game. Liam Kennedy and Mark Nolan too grew into the pace of the encounter. By the 30-minute mark, John Lockes had clawed their way back, and were only four points adrift.
An excellent goal by Dan McCormack on the stroke of the break rattles the Ballyragget lads to the core. They had plenty to think about now, as they traipsed off the park to their dressing room.
At half time, St.Patricks led by 1-7 to John Lockes 1-6.
The title was still available for those that wanted to win it most.
McCormack and Kelly exchanged early points. A goal by Mark Staunton in the 37th minute rattled the Callan resolve, but they stayed with the force of the demand. A non-score period of some nine minutes from the 40th minute produced exciting, solid hurling fare in which both sides had major scoring chances, and glaring scoring misses.
In the 50th minute, that man Delaney again, roaming away from his centre forward position sickened the hard-trying John Lockes with a great goal, which all but put paid to the Callan challenge. But still they didn’t submit. They tore through the Ballyragget defence, belted over points from Niall Hennessy and Noel Dawson, and a penalty goal from Bill McCormack.
St Patricks were delighted to get over the line in front at that stage.
They had good performers in Delaney of course, Kelly, Alan Ruth, Paddy McEvoy, Gerry Kennedy, Niall Staunton, and Conor Foley.
Martin O’Connell, Keith Doheny, Liam Kennedy, mark Nolan, Bill McDowell, Dan McCormack, Jim Power, Dan Doheny and Keith Fitzpatrick were best for John Lockes .
Scorers: St Patrick’s - Conor Delaney (2-4); David Kelly (0-4, frees); Mark Staunton (1-1); Conor Foley, Gerry Kennedy (0-1 each). John Lockes - Dan McCormack (1-4, four pointed frees); Niall Hennessy (0-2); Bill McCormack (1-0, pen); Keith Fitzpatrick (0-2); Dan Doheny, Noel Dawson (0-1 each).
St Patrick’s - Mark Tyler, Dermot Brophy, James Staunton, Brendan Dooley, Paddy Cahill, Paddy McEvoy, Alan Ruth, Gerry Kennedy (capt), Stephen Roberts, David Kelly, Niall Staunton, Mark Staunton, Conor Delaney, Conor Foley, Jack Ryan. Sub - Michael Kenny.
John Lockes - Martin O’Connell, Keith Doheny, Eoin Fahy, James Macken, Mark Nolan, Bill McCormack, Liam Kennedy, Bill McDowell, Jim Power, Mark Shelly, Niall Henessy, Keith Fitzpatrick, Brian McCann, Dan McCormack, Dan Doheny. Subs - Noel Dawson, JJ.Corrigan.
Referee - Paddy Neary (James Stephens).