Mullinavat 3-11 Graignamanagh1-10
EVEN though there were seven points between the sides at the finish, this win for high flying Mullinavat in the intermediate hurling league was not as emphatic as it seemed.
Graignamanagh gave as good as they got in a very well-contested game, enjoyed by a nice crowd including a couple of dozen American tourists who dropped into Brownstown in the hope that they might just get to see this amazing Irish game. The crowd got value for money, and the Yanks were enthralled.
The skill factor of both sides was very entertaining, and there were some terrific scores bagged, many of which were more than admirable. Mullinavat had the so-valuable, so accurate Conor Conway on board, and his catch of 1-9 was obviously central to the Mullinavat story, but more importantly, he missed just one effort from eleven- some shooting. Given that the conditions were rather difficult with a tricky breeze, Conway’s effort was all the more creditable.
At the other end of the park, Eddie Walsh was central to the Graig effort, grabbing six of their points, and he too was admirably successful in most efforts attempted. Both halfback lines were very conspicuous. Many of the attacks mounted by the respective forwards foundered on the opposing halfback trio. Walter Burke was very solid for Mullinavat at number six, while Ger Dowling was no less effective for the Graignamanagh men as he thwarted many of the good Mullinavat movements.
Ian Duggan and Damien Aylward were able flankers for Burke, so too were Dowling’s flankers, Bernard Hennessy, and Diarmuid O’Neill.
Conway sickened the Graignamanagh men with a goal from a 20-metre free in the 5th minute, but the Graig lads weathered the impending doom, and points by Eddie Walsh had them on level terms by the 13th minute. The game was lively. Exchanges were hard, entertaining, and very fair.
There was a smathering of verbals, but the referee, Paul Long held the game together admirably, and as Eddie Walsh and Conway liberally exchanged points with an interesting regularity, we reached the break with Mullinavat ahead by 1-5 to 0-7.
On the resumption, another body blow was inflicted on the Graignamanagh lads, when Paddy Raftice shot home a goal, which in essence should never have happened. At least three defenders had control of the ball and lost it. Raftice, never a man to look a gift horse etc in the mouth forced it home. It was a blow that the Graignamanagh lads were never really to countermand.
They tried very hard, but it was always an uphill push.
Cathal Roche narrowed the gap to six points with a goal in the 54th minute, but that was as close as it was going to get for the Graig warriors.
On balance, the Mullinavat men deserved winners, but the final score flattered them somewhat.
Scorers: Mullinavat - Conor Conway (1-9, 1-6 frees, one 65); Paddy Raftice, Padraig Gahan (1-1 each). Graignamanagh - Eddie Walsh (0-6, four frees); Cathal Roche (1-0); Brendan Foley (0-2); Eddie Dowling, Padraig Phelan (0-1 each).
Mullinavat - James Culleton, Tony Duggan, Seamus Farrell, Joe Fennelly, Ian Duggan, Walter Burke, Damien Aylward, Conor Conway, Liam Murphy, Padraig Gahan, Michael Malone, Dinny Butler, Paddy Raftice, Willie O’Dwyer, Andrew McGovern. Subs - Michael Murphy, Mark Mansfield, Joe Gahan, Darren Kenneally, Richie Raftice.
Graignamanagh - Ronan Dowling, James Meaney, James Cahill, Leonard Blanchfield, Bernard Hennessy, Ger Dowling, Diarmuid O’Neill, Brendan Foley, Padraig Phelan, Sean O’Brien, Eddie Walsh, Paul Hamilton, James Doyle, Eddie Dowling, Lee Kinsella. Subs - Cathal Roche, Martin Bolger.
Referee - Paul Long (Kilmacow).