The entertainment value and the quality of the hurling in this junior ‘A’ championship tie bore scant relativity to the standard expected. This was a cracker of a game, with the issue in doubt right to the final second of the added time.
Not being a buddy, buddy associate of referees this season, I would have to say that John Walsh contributed greatly to the enjoyment of the contest with his common sense approach, and his clear-cut reasoning for some of his decisions.
For long periods, Glenmore looked the more competent, and more likely to succeed. Their centre-back, Darren Aylward was a one-man army against all, and every Thomastown attack during a flying opening 18 minutes.
He maintained his input throughout, but eventually the Thomastown mentors lessened his influence with some astute manipulation of their attacking forces.
The game was memorable for a number of reasons, not least of which was the superb free-taking of Robbie Donnelly, Thomastown and Paddy Murphy, Glenmore. From all angles, and numerous distances, they both were assassin sure with their efforts. It was a joy to watch, and marvel at the expertise of two young skilful sharpshooters.
Murphy shot five good frees in the first half, Donnelly bagged four. Both made a big contribution to their respective clubs with their scoring prowess.
At half time Glenmore led by 1-9 to 0-8. Glenmore looked good. James Aylward had crafted their goal in the 29th minute after a powerful solo run.
But thomastown were the dominent force in a frenzied second half. They moved the laid back, James O’Hanrahan with the lazy style to leader of the forward pack, and his contribution was very valuable from direct play, and his creative abilities.
Within the opening five minutes, Robbie Donnelly really burned Glenmore with a take of 1-2. His goal came directly from a 45-metre line ball, plus two frees. Thomastown had hit the front earlier than expected.
That is where they stayed, compliments of the determined Jamie Lanigan, my man of the match, Fergal Challenor who was a tiger of a defender at corner back, Colin Clarke, Kieran Treacy and James Burke. The likes of Eoin Treacy, John Barron and Colin Corway grew in stature as the game developed.
By the 44th minute, Gary Lehane had stretched the Thomastown advantage to two points. With the help of Donnelly they increased the advantage to four points by the 50th minute. Two further minors by Donnelly, one a ’65 left Glenmore with an Eigar to climb, with too little time remaining to do so.
Glenmore were pushing hard to the final whistle. Murphy clattered home a goal from a free, but the clock beat them. A terrific game, enjoyed by all.
Scorers: Thomastown - Robbie Donnelly (1-9, one 65, seven frees); James O’Hanrahan (0-3); Gary Lehane (0-2); Eoin Treacy (0-1). Glenmore - Paddy Murphy (1-5, one ’65. 1-4 frees); James Aylward (1-0); Eoin Aylward, Colm Doherty, Ger Kehoe, Ken Cottrell (0-1 each).
Thomastown - Dara McGarry, Fergal Challenor, Colin Clarke, Kieran Treacy, Luke Blanchfield, Cian O’Meara, james Burke, gary Lehane, Eoin Treacy, John Barron, James O’Hanrahan, Robbie Donnelly, Joe Butler, Jamie Lanigan, Colin Corway. Subs - Dan Whelan.
Glenmore - Shane Murphy, Niall Dunne, James Irish, David Boyle, Michael O’Connor, Darren Aylward, Philip Roche, Colm Doherty, Shane Doherty, Paddy Murphy, Ken Cottrell, Ger Kehoe, Eoin Aylward, PJ.Roche, James Aylward. Sub - Brian O’Donoghue.
Referee - J. Walsh (Rower-Inistioge).