On a lovely evening, with the tide on the turn and the sun setting in the most idyllic arena in the county - the GAA pitch of Inistioge being washed by the ebbing Nore - the hurlers of visiting Dunnamaggin and the Rower Inistioge provided entertainment commensurate with the ambiance in the junior A hurling championship.
It was grand stuff with the end game never clarified until the final few minutes. Enough you say with this poetic nonsense, let’s talk about business, the winning of a championship game.
There was skill aplenty on the menu. There was accuracy personified in the context of Dunnamaggin’s Colin Herrity, who clattered 13 points between Davy Murphy’s goalposts.
Not a bad repayment for trust shown.
Others too on both sides showed terrific comportment, durability and determination to succeed. Good to see the likes of Tommy Maher, Andrew Hickey, Seoghan O’Neill on the one side revelling in the cut and thrust of championship hurling. Good too to see the likes of David Kelly, two-goal Kevin Murphy, Richy Leahy and James Roche stepping up to the plate for the honour and glory of the little village.
The Dunna lads had three points on the board before the home side realised that they were on the same field as their visitors. Seoghan O’Neill, Tommy Maher and Johnny Fitzpatrick posted the registration of same inside two minutes 45 seconds.
The Rower were to repeat the trick with three of their own in practically the same time frame between the fifth and seventh minutes, compliments of Richie Leahy, Kevin Murphy and Davy Kelly. Neither side were prepared from then to loosen any hauser, or strapping they had tied round their opponents. By the 13th minute, a Herity free had pushed his side to the front by two.
In essence they were resigned to play the pace-setter game for the home side, but then a Kevin Murphy goal, following herculean work by Kelly and Pauric Grace jetted the Rower into the pace-setting mode by the 16th minute.
Three minutes later, Murphy again showing toughened determination, rattled home a great solo goal. Noe Dunna were playing catch-up.
They were four off the lead at the 26-minute mark, but a necklace of four beautiful minors by Herity from the 26th to the 29th minute levelled proceedings. A Leahy point on the call of the half showed the home side in front right on the break. This was a value-for-your-buck show.
In truthful brief, copy and paste the first-half observations into the second-half commentary page, and you would not be making any error of judgement or observation.
Herity levelled and Maher clipped over a slim lead. Kelly levelled, and Herity and Maher pushed the Dunnamaggan convertible out in front. Herity, O’Neill, and Maher were sniping their side to the front, and trying to keep them there. Kelly, Pauric Grace, and Kevin Murphy were returning fire.
However, as had been done late in the first half, Herity (2 frees), O’Neill, and Maher sliced four unanswered points just before the end, to cook the Rower Inistioge goose.
Pauric Grace’s added ’65 was but an irritant on the boiling skins of the anxious Dunnamaggan lads. They deserved their win, but a big búla bas to all for a grand evening of sport.
Scorers: Dunnamaggin - Colin Herity (0-13, seven frees); Seoghan O’Neill, Tommy Maher (0-4 each); John Fitzpatrick (0-2); Richard O’Shea (0-1). Rower Inistioge - Kevin Murphy (2-1); David Kelly (0-4, three frees); Richie Leahy (0-3, one free); Tom Grace (0-3, two ’65, one free); Pauric Lyng (0-2); Pauric Grace (0-1).
Dunnamaggin - Brian O’Shea, Conor Long, Eoin Kearney, William Hughes, Richard O’Shea, Adrian Donovan, Andrew Hickey, Sean Connery, Seoghan O’Neill, John Fitzpatrick, Colin Herity, Ray Cody, Jason Doherty, Tom Maher, Donal O’Shea.
Rower Inistioge - Davy Murphy, Toby Kavanagh, James Roche, Shane Ryan, Richie Ryan, Tommy Grace, Luke Tennyson, Tony Whelan, Richie Leahy, Michael McDonald, Pauric Lyng, David Kelly, Kevin Murphy, Pauric Grace, Robbie Grace. Subs - Michael Doyle, John Grace.