WAS all too easy for Mullinavat on their home patch on Sunday when they strolled by the challenge mounted by a Rower-Inistioge team that tried as hard as their limited hurling acumen allowed, but without success in this South ‘A’ junior hurling league tie.
The Rower were well in the game, certainly through the first half, when they matched their opponents much of the way. Certainly they were a bit slow extricating themselves from the traps, but when they hit the lid, they more than held their own with their hosts.
Mullinavat started brightly with points by Joe Gahan, Brian Power, Mark Mansfield and Ger Malone. The visitors responded with a Danny Cottrell point.
The Rower were propelled in the 12th minute by a terrific Cottrell goal to level proceedings. However, four minutes later, 17-year-old prodigy, Mark Mansfield tore the Rower defence to shreds as he knifed through their defence to slam home a marvellous goal. It would not be his last score.
On the final run to the half-time break, Mullinavat opened up a six-point lead that was to prove difficult for the losers as they faced into the breeze in the second half.
Half-time: Mullinavat 1-11, Rower-Inistioge 1-5.
A goal by Robert Grace, set-up by Conor Lyng, in the 33rd minute gave the Rower reason to hope. It brought them to within two points of Mullinavat. They had reason to hope now. But their hopeful expectation was short lived.
Within a couple of minutes of his introduction as a substitute, Mossy Murphy, as he has done so often before, clattered home a stunning goal for the ’Vat lads. That was in the 37th minute. The Rower’s only response was a solitary point by Cottrell in the 40th minute.
It was to be the last scoring achievement by the Rower for the rest of the contest.
Mullinavat never relented. They availed of every scoring opportunity presented, and with the youngster Mansfield in such glistening form, it is of little surprise that he revelled in the score getting role. Points were scored at will by Brian Power (2), Mulhearne, Mossy Murphy (2), Joe Gahan, and Mansfield (3 frees).
Mullinavat had great players in their three full-backs, Derek Aylward, J.P. Dungan and Darren Kenneally. Kevin Aylward was excellent at number six, while Brian Power and Mark Mansfield were the pick of the forwards. Mansfield in particular was quite stunning.
The Rower had decent battlers in David Murphy, Nickey Kenny, Paul Nolan, Patrick Grace and Michael White.
Scorers: Mullinavat - Mark Mansfield (1-8, five frees points); Mossy Murphy (1-2); Brian Power, Ger Malone (0-4 each); Joe Gahan (0-2); Patrick Mulhearne (0-1). Rower-Inistioge - Danny Cottrell (1-4, one point free); Robert Grace (1-2); Conor Lyng, Paul Nolan (0-1 each).
Mullinavat - Paddy Jones, Derek Aylward, J.P. Dungan, Darren Kenneally, Liam Murphy, Kevin Aylward, T. Aylward, Paddy Raftice, Joe Wall, Ger Malone, Brian Kenneally, Joe Gahan, Brian Power, Shane Frisby, Mark Mansfield. Subs - Pat Mulhearne, Mossy Murphy, Steven Ryan.
Rower-Inistioge - David Murphy, Richie Ryan, Nicky Kenny, Johnny Butler, Toby Kavanagh, P.J. Wilmot, Dean Kehoe, Neil Lyng, Paudie Fleming, Paul Nolan, Patrick Grace, Robert Grace, Michael White, Conor Lyng, Danny Cottrell. Subs - David Dunphy, Michael Cassin, David Lyster, Luke Tierney.