FROM a one time secure position of being eight points up against struggling opposition, Glenmore ended up hanging on for dear life when the action drifted into injury-time in this lively and engaging intermediate hurling league clash in Mullinavat on Saturday, writes John Knox.
And at the end of six minutes of additional time, Mooncoin were still chasing the goal that would have earned them a share of the spoils. Twice in ‘lost’ time they had close in frees saved, and then with time almost up sub, Paddy Kinsella had another effort turned out for a 65.
Thomas O’Hanlon was, apparently, told by the referee that he would have to score direct from the 65. It didn’t happen. Glenmore escaped to victory.
There was only one team in it really during the opening half when Mooncoin failed to show, if you like. Glenmore were flying, and with pace, good movement and good use of possession, the winners worked up a well deserved interval lead of 2-5 to 0-2.
Never lost lead
The goals, in the 6th and 23rd minutes, were tucked away by minor prospect, Mark Aylward. The first, engineered by Colm Doherty, pushed his team 1-1 to 0-1 in front, a lead they were never to lose.
Both goals were good scores, the second of premier quality after young Aylward charged in from the right at the town end, broke two tackles, and with the sound of clashing timber cracking in the air, shot low into the net.
On the evidence of this fine showing, maybe the county minor selectors might have another look at this lad? You don’t score goals like his second one by being lucky, or lacking drive. I was impressed! That score left the difference at 2-5 to 0-1.
Mooncoin had the last scoring say of the half, a point from Thomas Hennebry after snatched a high delivery from the sky by Thomas O’Hanlon. Michael Grace had opened their account, all of 22 minutes earlier.
Half-time: Glenmore 2-5, Mooncoin 0-2.
The losers didn’t exactly thunder into the second half. They had the opening score, a gutsy point from Eoin Hennebry, who burst through a heavy tackle before scoring, but that was after 38 minutes. The same player repeated the act three minutes later after taking a great pass from the elegant Diarmuid Mackey.
Glenmore hit back for a lovely point from Mark Aylward to keep the gap at a decent 2-6 to 0-4.
However, the Mooncoin challenge was gathering momentum, inspired by some stylish play from the outstanding Diarmuid Mackey and later Ray Wall. Wall and Mackey tossed over points to underline the losers’ dominance.
Glenmore were glad of the respite when James Cody sneaked through for a 44th minute point that might have been a goal, seeing that he only had the ’keeper to beat (2-7 to 0-6). All the time the Mooncoin challenge was gaining force.
Ray Wall pointed. He added a second after an under pressure defender was pulled up for dropping his hurley when getting away a hand-pass (2-7 to 0-8).
The Glenmore puck-out was won by Ger Aylward, and he arrowed over a nice score. Eoin Murphy added another from a free just short of midfield to up the gap to 2-9 to 0-8.
Mooncoin roared forward again. This time Diarmuid Mackey landed a sweet, sweet point from the left sideline. Eoin Murphy posted a reply from a free.
Ray Wall worked hard to secure another minor for the losers before the same player blocked down a would be clearance by the ’keeper before planting the ball in the empty net.
The clock showed 61 minutes. The score was 2-10 to 0-10. The action roared on for five more minutes. Mooncoin huffed and puffed, but they couldn’t blow down Glenmore’s house.
This is obviously a young and inexperienced Glenmore side, but they played some lovely hurling when at their best. Along with young Mark Aylward, other bright performers were Eoin Murphy, Ciaran Foran, John Cody, Ger Aylward and goalie Davy Aylward, who was safe when handling a lot of messy ball during the first half.
Scorers: Glenmore – Mark Aylward (2-2); Eoin Murphy (0-6, frees); Ger Aylward, James Cody (0-1 each). Mooncoin – Ray Wall (1-4, two points frees); Diarmuid Mackey, Eoin Hennebry (0-2 each); Thomas Hennebry, Michael Grace (0-1 each).
Glenmore - Davy Aylward, Paddy Foran, Fergal Freyne, Mark Phelan, Colm Foran, John Cody, Adrian Doherty, Ciaran Foran, Colm Doherty, James Cody, Emmet Vereker, Eoin Murphy, Michael Phelan, Ger Aylward, Mark Aylward. Subs - Darren Aylward for F. Freyne (inj); James Aylward.
Mooncoin - Niall O’Hanlon, Thomas O’Hanlon, Niall Mackey, Tomas Walsh, Cormack Daly, Alan Walsh, Seamus Kearns, Mark Fitzgerald, Michael Grace, Diarmuid Mackey, Ray Wall, Stephen Crowley, Eoin Hennebry, Thomas Hennebry, Danny Purcell. Subs - Eddie Mackey for T. Hennebry; Keith Kirwan for D. Purcell; Paddy Kinsella for M. Fitzgerald; Liam Walsh for S. Crowley; Cormack Flemning for M. Grace.
Referee - Paul Whelan (Mullinavat).