Kieran’s College lay down marker with impressive win

Kieran’s College produced a classy display to see off St Brendan’s CS, Birr in the opening round of the Leinster senior hurling league last Wednesday.

Kieran’s College produced a classy display to see off St Brendan’s CS, Birr in the opening round of the Leinster senior hurling league last Wednesday.

Playing on their home pitch, the Kilkenny side built a seven point lead in the first half and saw out the rest of the game in comfortable fashion.

Conor Murphy opened the scoring with the first of his seven frees, before James Maher doubled the lead distance. A point from Brian Cody was followed by three scores from the Offaly side, with centre forward Ryan O’Meara proving troublesome.

Billy Hanlon and O’Meara traded scores before Kieran’s College opened up a five point lead. Four straight scores from Conor Murphy were followed by a fantastic strike from the stick of Dylan O’Shea from the left hand sideline.

Birr kept themselves in the game with the opening goal. Shane Ryan collected a long ball, beat his man and laid it off to Jack Regan, who then gave Gavin Costigan no chance from close range.

Kieran’s College finished the half the stronger however, restoring their strong lead when Tadgh O’Dwyer capitalised on a mistake in the Birr back line to strike the ball between Andrew Robinson’s legs and into the net.

Birr lost the influential Ryan O’Meara to injury early in the second half. Kieran’s College then killed off the game when O’Dwyer laid off the ball to Brian Cody, who buried the ball out of the keeper’s reach.

Despite playing against the wind in the second half, the Kilkenny side picked off classy scores from open play. James Maher, now playing further up the field, was on hand to finish off a nice team move early in the half before striking from long range with minutes remaining. A Birr resurgence, including a goal from Shane Ryan, closed the gap to seven points but Kieran’s College remained in control.

With ten minutes remaining, sub Ray Lahart laid the ball off to Conor Murphy, who capped a fantastic personal display with the Kilkenny side’s third goal.

St Kieran’s College- Gavin Costigan; Conor Browne, Paul White, Eamon Egan, Bill Carrigan, James Maher (0-4), Ricky Drennan, Jason Byrne, Josh Haines, Conor Murphy (1-9, 0-7 frees), Billy Hanlon (0-1), Kieran Freeman, Tadgh O’Dwyer (1-1), Brian Cody (1-1), Dylan O’Shea (0-1). Subs: Billy Ryan for O’Shea, 43 mins; Ray Lahart (0-1) for Cody, 43 mins; Jack Keoghan for Drennan, 46 mins; Ally Rafter for Freeman, 46 mins; Luke Dowling for Maher, 53 mins.

St Brendan’s, Birr- Andrew Robinson; Brian Loughnane, Craig Taylor, Eoin Parlon, Patrick Mulrooney, Brian Hogan (0-2, 0-1 free, 0-1 ‘65’), Eoin Carroll, Padraic Guinan (0-1), Joe Gilligan (0-1), Shaun Dunne (0-1), Ryan O’Meara (0-3, 0-2 frees), Conor Freeman, Brian Dunne, Jack Regan (1-0), Shane Ryan (1-4, 0-3 frees). Subs: John Murray (0-1) for O’Meara, 31 mins; Michael Gilligan for Joe Gilligan, 50 mins; Willie Molloy for Mulrooney, 54 mins.

Ref- John Minogue