St Lachtain’s (Freshford) showed great commitment and attitude when they produced a good winning effort against Mullinavat in the intermediate hurling league, and the result shot them into the Shield final.
This defeat in Gowran on Sunday wasn’t all bad for Mullinavat, who ended up avoiding the relegation zone, and they also showed a bit of promise with the championship due to commence this weekend.
The winners had slightly the better of things during the opening half and led by four points at the break. The scoring opened with Bill Beckett (St L) and Wille O’Dwyer trading points.
When Beckett regained the lead for St Lachtain’s with a minor in the third minute, they never looked back. Colin Corcoran doubled the winners advantage before Beckett rifled home a goal in the sixth minute to put his side 1-3 to 0-1 clear.
Mark Mansfield pulled back a point for the losers, who perked up a bit for a while. John Walsh and Mansfield again added points to keep the momentum going for Mullinavat, who were playing into the fresh breeze.
The winners reeled off three scores per wing-back Seamus Hayes, Beckett and Colin Corcoran before Shane Donnelly slipped the ’Vat defence in the 19th minute and shot a good goal. The St Lachtain’s lead jumped to 2-6 to 0-4 and they were powering along nicely.
Mullinavat regained some of the lost ground in the run up to the break with scoring contributions from Michael Murphy (free), Dinny Butler, Ger Malone and Mansfield but still they trailed by 0-10 to 2-8 at half-way.
The game was as good as decided in the opening minutes of the new half when St Lachtain’s struck decisively. First Noel McGree blasted over a point. The dust had barely settled after that when Shane Donnelly burrowed his way through for a goal.
The score was now 3-9 to 0-10. Mullinavat were in a bit of trouble, and the players sensed it. The effort slowly drained from their game as St Lachtain’s grew in confidence and turned up the heat.
Bill Beckett lashed over another point as the pressure was heaped on the losers. Willie O’Dwyer hit back for a point for Mullinavat but that drew a quick and sharp response from the sure firing Beckett in the shape of a point.
Mark Mansfield (free) and Bill Beckett (65) swopped scores as the game passed the three quarters mark. It was gone on Mullinavat, but just in case Shane Donnelly and Beckett threw over points for the winners. Mullinavat had the final scoring say, a goal from Pat Mulhearn.
Scorers: St Lachtain’s - Bill Beckett (1-10, six points frees, one 65); Shane Donnelly (2-1); Colin Corcoran (0-2); Seamus Hayes, Noel McGree (0-1 each). Mullinavat - Mark Mansfield (0-6, five frees); Willie O’Dweyr (0-3); Pat Mulhearn (1-0); Dinny Butler, Ger Malone, John Walsh (0-1 each); Michael Murphy (0-1, free).
St Lachtain’s - Darren Brennan, Tommy Flynn, Michael Kavanagh, Niall Phelan, Seamus Hayes, Brian Kennedy, Brendan Quinn, Noel McGree, Mark Kavanagh, John Fitzpatrick, Bill Beckett, Barry Hughes, Philip Campion, Colin Corcoran, Shane Donnelly.
Mulllinavat - James Culleton, Joe Fennelly, Seamus Farrell, Thomas Aylward, Brian Phelan, Walter Burke, Liam Murphy, Simon Aylward, Pauric Gahan, Mark Mansfield, Dinny Butler, Ger Malone, Michael Murphy, Willie O’Dweyr, John Walsh. Subs - Joe Gahan, Liam Fennelly, Andhy McGovern, Pat Mulhearn.
Referee - John Bennett (Tullogher-Rosbercon).