This Junior A encounter in Thomastown on Saturday evening was interesting, with plenty of good hurling acumen, and not too little endeavour between two sides hell-bent on getting over the line ahead of the chasing pack.
Thomastown were by far the younger of the two outfits, an issue which was more than important in the final distribution of the points at the finish.
Young though they may be, I would have to say that the three youngest players on the pitch were probably three of the best players on view. If there are two better defenders in the county, still eligible for the county minor grade, than full-backs Eoin Kearney (Dunnamaggin) and Jay Burke (Thomastown) I would like to know about them. My opinion would be reflective of the opinions of all present in Thomastown on Saturday evening.
Dunnamaggin hit the ground running when Jason Doherty drove a speculative long-ball towards the Thomastown goal after four minutes of action. Lo and behold it ended with the green flag being waved.
That certainly shocked the home side as Thomastown reacted with a very positive attitude from there until the 10th minute with points from Derek Brennan, Eddie Corrway and Gary Lehane bringing them to within a single point of the Dunna’ lads.
It got even better when Corrway broke through with a very positive run to slam home a great goal, a leading one to boot, by the 14th minute. Danny Monks was next to record a goal when he fired home a super effort in the 21st minute to give Thomastown a cushy 2-5 to 1-2 lead.
Four minutes later another very impressive young minor, Ronan Coffey, tore through the Thomastown defence to explode a delightful shot into the net to narrow the gap to single point. It was a score which roused his side as further points by Seaghan O’Neill, Colin Herity and young Coffey again left the half-time score reading Dunnamaggin 2-7, Thomastown 2-5.
Colin Herity, who had been rather quiet during the initial moiety, opened the Dunna’ account in the second half with a fine point. His presence was greatly felt for the duration of the second half as his encouragement of the younger Dunnamaggin brigade was a valuable contributor to the newfound confidence of those around him.
The scores swung from side to side for a spell, as Ray Cody shot a point in the 36th minute. Corway nullified its value with a similar score one minute later. Herity with a free and a point from play restored the Dunnamaggin advantage, but Seaghan O’Neill had a delightful couple in the 42nd and 44th minutes.
Herity again weighed in with a brace-one from a free, and in truth it was a matter of how much they might win by. Johnny Fitzpatrick grabbed a few, Aidan Donovan too, and it was a merciful full-time whistle that was blown by referee John Bennett as Dunnamaggin registered their 21st point of the night compliments of Seaghan O’Neill.
Dunnamaggin - Ray Cody (0-1), Conor Long, Eoin Kearney, William Hughes, Richard O’Shea, Aidan Donovan (0-1), Andrew Hickey, Seaghan O’Neill (0-4), Sean Connery, Ronan Coffey (1-2), Colin Herity (0-7, 0-4 frees), John Fitzpatrick (0-6, 0-3 frees), Jason Doherty (1-0), Andrew O’Neill, Donal O’Shea. Subs: Brian O’Shea, Jack Brett.
Thomastown - Paul Barron, Fergal Challenor, Jay Burke, Robert O’Hanrahan, Eoin Treacy, James Hoyne, Neil O’Meara, Derek Brennan (0-1), Aaron Keogh (0-1), Danny Monks (1-2), Michael Mahoney, Jamie Lanigan, John Fitzgerald, Gary Lehane (0-1), Eddie Corrway (1-3, 0-3 frees). Subs: Paddy Kahn, Colm Corrway, James O’Hanrahan, Eamonn O’Donnell.
Referee - John Bennett (Tullogher-Rosbercon).