The ’Bridge take a big scalp

This eagerly awaited first round Kilkenny junior hurling hampionship clash dished up a game of two halves, and a finish of nail biting excitement. Conditions were perfect as Bennettsbridge, assisted by the breeze, made the most of the early running, winning by 1-16 by 1-15.

This eagerly awaited first round Kilkenny junior hurling hampionship clash dished up a game of two halves, and a finish of nail biting excitement. Conditions were perfect as Bennettsbridge, assisted by the breeze, made the most of the early running, winning by 1-16 by 1-15.

Points by Nicky Cleere (two frees) and Brain Lannon settled them. James Norris opened the Piltown account after 11 minutes, and Richard McCarthy helped with a smart point, but it was the ’Bridge who continued to lead, and impress.

At half-time the winners led by 1-10 to 0-6, their goal coming from James Moran after 19 minutes.

Enda Cleere had a stubborn game in the ’Bridge goal. He was a major factor in the winners armoury, making a list of super stops. Bennettsbridge continued to impress in the new half, and eventhough Piltown tried everything they could not get upsides with the winners.

With the tempo at fever-pitch approaching the finale, Brian Lannon fired over from a long range free, having shipped the foul himself. Piltown did earn a late chance to win when awarded a 20-metre free, but Richie McCarthy blistering rising free took the paint off the crossbar. With that high flying sliotar went Piltown’s last chance.

Scorers: Bennettsbridge - Nicky Cleere (0-10, nine frees); James Moran (1-1); Brian Lannon, Aidan Cleere (0-2 each); William Murphy (0-1). Piltown - James Norris (1-8, seven frees, one 65); Peter McCarthy (0-4, three frees); Richard McCarthy (0-1, free); Daniel Norris, Philly Kenny (0-1 each).

Bennettsbridge - Enda Cleere, Darragh Wafer, Robert Lennon, Paul O’ Neill, Eddie Murphy, Patrick O’Neill, Cormac Wafer, Enda Morrissey, Wayne Dowling, Aidan Cleere, Hugh O’Neill, Nicky Cleere, William Murphy, James Moran, Brian Lannon. Subs - Seamus Moran, Kevin Blanchfield.

Piltown - Andrew Norris, Brendan Norris, Andrew McCarthy, Michael Burchill, Peter McCarthy, Shane Kinsella, Neil Kelly, Nollaig Brophy, Kieran Norris, Martin Power, Daniel Norris, Philly Kenny, Philly Kenny, Richard McCarthy, James Norris, Robbie Culleton. Subs - Kevin Walsh, Nicky Kenny, David Kinsella.

Referee - John Walsh (Rower-Inistioge).

Slieverue3-14

Graignamanagh1-10

Not so long ago I intimated that Slieverue continued to impress, and I made the point that they would trouble a few in the junior hurling championship. They were more than trouble for Graignamanagh as they swept into the next round, leaving battle-hardened Graig facing a relegation battle.

Graig had the better of the opening skirmishes. They rattled over two early points from Eddie Walsh without reply. They even bagged the first of the four goals scored in the game, when Ronan Dowling scored after 20 minutes.

However, all changed before the break when Martin Knox slammed home the first of the winners goals at the 24th minute mark. It helped Slieverue into a 1-9 to 1-4 half time lead.

The concession of a couple of fortuitous goals to the winners in the second half made life much easier for Slieverue. With Paul Rockett slamming frees over from all distances, and adding a goal in the 43rd minute, life was not a bed of roses for the hard-trying Graig contingent.

A good contest, but a deserving win for the O’Loughlin’s by all accounts.

Substitute Eoin Kenny bagged the third Slieverue gaol in the 51st minute, which extinguished any prospect of a Graignamanagh win.

Scorers: Slieverue - Paul Rockett (1-10, eight pointed frees); Martin Knox, Eoin Kenny (1-0) each); Niall Walsh (0-2); Martin Dowling, Aaron Cullinane (0-1 each). Graignamanagh - Eddie Walsh (0-6, five frees); Ronan Dowling (1-0); Cathal Roche, Cathal Dunne, Lee Kinsella (0-1 each), Bernard Hennessy (0-1).

Slieverue - Gavin Quilty, Sean Roche, Ross Kelly, Michael Forristal, David Walsh, Michael Hoyne, Kieran Dowling, Paul Rockett, Martin Dowling, Alan Atkins, Brian Grant, Ricky Hogan, Aaron Cullinane, Niall Walsh, Martin Knox. Subs - Eoin Kenny, Richie Roche, Bill Irish, Jamie Murphy.

Graignamanagh - Seamus Kavanagh, Jim O’Donnell, James Meaney, Conor O’Brien, Bernard Hennessy, James Cahill, Diarmuid O’Neill, Brendan Foley, Paul Hamilton, James Doyle, Lee Kinsella, Padraig Whelan, Cathal Roche, Eddie Walsh, Ronan Dowling. Subs - Eddie Dowling, Jamie McGrath, Cathal Dunne.

Referee - Ray Burns (Glenmore)

O’Loughlin Gaels1-13

Mooncoin1-12

The defining difference between O’Loughlin Gaels as they stormed on their quest for county junior hurling honours and Mooncoon, who are now destined to fight out a relegation battle, was in the quality of their scoring forwards.

Brian Dowling, Seamie Cummins, Jack Nolan and Andrew Cantwell are attackers with proven scoring credentials. Whilst Mooncoin did have solid attackers in Eoin Henebery and Johnny Phelan, the remaining attackers would not have been capable of executing scores as well as the O’Loughlin lads.

And Mooncoin paid the price as a result.

The city side opened confidently and messrs Dowling, Cummins and Paddy Burke rattled over a few unanswered points before Mooncoin could get clear of traps. Johnny Phelan scored their goal in the 18th minute, but with Paddy Cantwell very impressive with long-range striking for points, and Dowling, Cummins and Burke grabbing at least six first half points from play, it is easy to understand why the city side went in at the break leading by 0-10 to 1-4.

O’Loughlins squashed the Mooncoin resolve within 60 seconds of the restart when Jackie Nolan slammed home a great goal. It looked a forlorn hope for the Southerners, but they hit a purple patch between the 39th and 47th minutes when they registered five unanswered points.

But the victors stretched their wings and answered every question asked of them. With the finishing line visible, the sides were level, but Brian Dowling, with a confident strike put the Gaels in front, leaving little time for hapless Mooncoin to gain parity, never mind a win.

A good contest, but a deserving win for the O’Loughlin’s by all accounts.

Scorers: O’Loughlin Gaels - Brian Dowling (0-6, three frees); Jack Nolan (1-1); Paddy Cantwell (0-3, frees); Seamie Cummins (0-2); Paddy Butler (0-1). Mooncoin - Ethan Ryan (0-7, frees); Johnny Phelan (1-1); Eoin Henebery (0-3); Liam Walsh (0-1).

O’Loughlin Gaels - Sammy Johnston, Mark Croughan, Brian Murphy, Shane Parsons, Paddy Cantwell, Jason Quan, Pauric Meaney, Kevin Morrissey, Paddy Butler, Andrew Cantwell, Brian Dowling, Seamie Cummins, Jack Nolan, Ricky Leydon, Davy Burke. Subs - Billy Leydon, Davy Broderick, Nigel Skehan, Kevin O’Brien.

Mooncoin - Patrick Kinsella, Shane Walsh (Ballyc), Alan Henebery, Eoin Crowley, Shane Walsh (Ballyg), Tommy Walsh, Liam Henebery, Ethan Ryan, Tommy Healy, Jamie McGrath, Eoin Henebery, Mark Fitzgerald, Johnny Phelan, Liam Walsh, Cormac Fleming. Subs - J.P. Purcell, Davy O’Brien, Aidan Walsh.

Lisdowney0-16

Kilmacow1-10  

WhilE some might question the quality of the fare in this junior hurling championship encounter, there was no denying the determination, passion and focus of both sides as they threw everything but the kitchen sink into the competitive mix, thus providing a stirring performance for the fine number of supporters in attendance.

Lisdowney looked impressive early on when Rory Hickey set them off with a free inside the opening four minutes. Kevin Sweeney was thwarted by a timely hook from Tom Reddy, which prevented a goal. Kilmacow had three points from Josh Tobin (two frees) but Rory Hickey kept the Northerners in front with a couple of frees.

The exceptionally young Kilmacow continue to make progress, and within the foreseeable future, one can see them mounting the winners podium.

At half-time the sides were level, although Lisdowney did create two great goal chances, but they were beaten back by some hectic defending, and good goalkeeping by Richie O’Neill.

Rory Hickey again shot Lisdowney ahead immediately after the restart, but Richie McNamara pulled Lisdowney back by the 34th minute with a grand free. The game was really fired up in the 41st minute when John Hayes thundered through the heart of the Lisdowney defence to bang home a marvellous goal.

Points by Hickey and Laurence O’Carroll hauled in the Kilmacow lead by the 46th minute, and from there to the finish the game was hugely entertaining. With 10 minutes remaining the sides were level for the sixth time.

However, it was the accuracy of Rory Hickey from long-range frees which hauled the winners over the finishing line in front. They look like possible junior winners, but there is plenty of headland to be ploughed.

The exceptionally young Kilmacow continue to make progress, and within the foreseeable future, one can see them mounting the winners podium.

Scorers: Lisdowney - Rory Hickey (0-11, eight frees); Peter Bergin, Laurence O’Carroll, Sean Phelan, Kevin Sweeney, Eddie Hickey (0-1 each). Kilmacow - Josh Tobin (0-6, four frees); John Hayes (1-0); Luke Harney (0-2, frees); Dylan Cooke, Shay Dempsey (0-1 each).

Lisdowney - Niall Grogan, Niall O’Hara, Martin Phelan, Padraig Kenny, Ray Fitzpatrick, Pat O’Carroll, Peter Bergin, Vinny Fitzpatrick, Laurence O’Carroll, Ciaran Mackey, Rory Hickey, Sean Phelan, Kevin Sweeney, Eddie Hickey, Paddy Bowden.

Kilmacow - Richie O’Neill, Tom Reddy, Dean Power, Ian Ahearne, Brian Fleming, Luke Harney, Sean Flynn, Emmet Blanchfield, Ryan McKenna, Dylan Cooke, Andy Kearns, Josh Tobin, Richie McNemara, Johnny Hayes, Patrick O’Keeffe. Sub - Shay Dempsey.

Thomastown2-14

Windgap0-11

Two simple, probably preventable goals inside the opening 15 minutes of this junior hurling championship game in Dunnamaggin, served strong notice to Windgap – and to many more with an eye on the title - that the boys in blue will provide a focussed assault for the honours.

Thomastown simply addressed the Windgap challenge with clinical authority, and with an absolute focus on the job being done properly. Their full-back line was brilliant. Sean Mahoney, Shane Lanigan and Brian Murphy never flinched from the challenge.

If their full line of defence was of such a mind, then their full-forward line was equally tuned in to the needs of the occasion and how they should address them.

Thomastown clattered over the first three points of the new half. It was a case of game, set and match there and then. Thomastown look a decent prospect.

The Windgap full-forward line was poor, but no worse than the full back line. Both lines leaked at every turn. At midfield too, Thomastown, in the guise of Dylan Waugh and Dessie Walsh, were foot perfect all day.

Thomas O’Hanrahan got the first Thomastown goal in 12 minutes. Davy Prendergast grabbed the second three minutes later.

At half-time the winners were in front by 2-6 to 0-6. It was not a good first half for the red and white. It was not much better for the wearers of that famed red and white colour combo.

Thomastown clattered over the first three points of the new half. It was a case of game, set and match there and then. Thomastown look a decent prospect.

Scorers: Thomastown - Thomas O’Hanrahan (1-5); Stuart Waugh (0-4, two frees, one 65); Davy Prendergast (1-0); J.J. Farrell (0-3); Dylan Waugh (0-1); Michael Donnelly (0-1, free). Windgap - James Murray (0-4); Niall Doran (0-3, one free, one 65); Tommy Fleming, Conor Lonergan (0-2 each).

Thomastown - Dylan Walsh, Sean Mahoney, Shane Lanigan, Brian Murphy, Barry Whelan, Peter O’Hanrahan, Richard O’Hara, Dylan Waugh, Dessie Walsh, Michael Donnelly, Stuart Waugh, Darren Burke, Thomas O’Hanrahan, J.J. Farrell, Davy Prendergast. Subs - Michael Mahoney, Garry Lehane.

Windgap - Michael Power, Matt Enright, Noel Power, Peter Landy, Aidan Mackey, Philly Lonergan, Vinny Landy, Conor Lonergan, Cian Ryan, James Murray, Tommy Lonergan, Tommy Fleming, Eamonn Hawe, Niall Doran, Sean Foley. Subs - Paul McKenna, Eoin Cody, William Phelan, Paudraig Walsh, Ger Purcell.

Referee - Pat Dunphy (Carrigeen).