Strong South rise to the challenge

Southern Board Selection........1-16

Southern Board Selection........1-16

Northern Board Selection........1-13

SCORERS: South - Jonjo Farrell (1-1, 0-1 free); Nicky Kenny (0-3); Philly Lonergan, Stuart Waugh (0-3, frees each); Ger Shelly, Simon Burke (0-2 each); Dylan Waugh, Paddy Kennedy (0-1 each). North - Ruairi Hickey (0-7, 0-5 frees); Graeme Lawlor (1-1); Cathal Kenny (0-2); Niall Mackey, Joe Brennan, Noel Doherty (0-1 each).

A CRACKING game of junior hurling to get the season up and running saw a Southern Board selection deservedly edge out their Northern counterparts in a competitive Jim Farrell Memorial Challenge Cup final in Piltown on Friday. Ten years have elapsed since this competition was last played, but on the evidence of Friday night’s match it is back to stay.

This game was really won and lost in the opening quarter when the South side ran up a 1-6 to 0-1 lead, their goal coming from Thomastown’s Jonjo Farrell in the fifth minute. They seemed set to cruise to a comfortable victory at that stage, but some things went somewhat awry for the Southerners.

Firstly they lost influential Kilmacow minor star Luke Harney with an eye injury. Then the Northern selectors switched Seoirse Kenny who started at centre-forward to centre-back. The switching of the St Patrick’s (Ballyragget) man proved to be a master stroke, as suddenly the game began to turn the way of the Northern side. By the half-time break the deficit was reduced to a more manageable four points (South 1-8, North 0-7).

The Southerners started the second half as they did the first with a flurry of scores. In the third quarter they hit six unanswered points through Ger Shelly (2), Paddy Kennedy, Nicky Kenny, Simon Burke and Jonjo Farrell (free) to once again go nine points clear and leave them looking as if they were on their way to victory.

Hopes alive

Ruairi Hickey (free) and Cathal Kenny kept the North’s hopes alive with points before Stuart Waugh pointed a free for the South to push them eight points clear. That looked a comfortable cushion, but then Northern substitute Martin Bambrick teed up Cloneen’s Graeme Lawlor for a goal - suddenly the game was back in the melting pot.

That goal lifted the North and when Ruairi Hickey, Cathal Kenny and Niall Mackey added further points they were left chasing a three point deficit (1-15 to 1-12). Nicky Kenny steadied the South with a point as excitement reached fever pitch, but there was still more drama to come in the closing couple of minutes.

Giving everything as they chased the game, the Northern side were awarded a close in free as the game entered additional time. Ruairi Hickey’s shot was hard and accurate, but somehow the Southern defence managed to scramble it clear - only to concede another free which Hickey pointed.

That left just three points between the sides but time ran out on the Northern side as the South held on for a narrow but deserved win.

In a top class team performance the South had stars in goalie Richie O’Neill, Brian Murphy, Shane Bergin, Ger Shelly and Jonjo Farrell. For the North Seoirse Kenny steadied the ship when moved to centre-back while Cathal Kenny, Niall Doherty and Ruairi Hickey also did well.

Great credit is due to the Piltown club for their organisation of the game, to both teams and management for an excellent contest fought out in the right spirit.

South panel - Richie O’Neill (Kilmacow), John Brophy (Piltown), Rob O’Keeffe (Kimacow), David Power (Windgap), Brian Murphy (Thomastown), Philly Lonergan (Windgap), Luke Harney (Kilmacow), Dylan Waugh (Thomastown), Shane Bergin (John Lockes), Simon Burke (John Lockes), Paddy Kennedy (John Lockes), Nicky Kenny (Piltown), Ger Shelly (John Lockes), Jonjo Farrell (Thomastown), Stuart Waugh (Thomastown), Paul Morrissey (John Lockes), Jamie O’Brien (Slieverue), James Norris (Piltown), Jamie Carroll (Carrigeen), Shane Gaule (Kilmacow), Adrian Rockett (Slieverue), Richard McNamara (Kilmacow), Cian Tyler (Slieverue), Darren Burke (Thomastown), Eugene O’Neill (Carrigeen).

North panel - Gary Delaney (Cloneen), Kevin McDonald (Barrow Rangers), Geoff Morrissey (St Patrick’s), Darragh Weafer (Bennettsbridge), Niall Doherty (Galmoy), Martin Phelan (Lisdowney), James Gannon (St Patrick’s), Martin Phelan (Galmoy), Seoirse Kenny (St Patrick’s), Cathal Kenny (Barrow Rangers), Eddie Hickey (Lisdowney), Graeme Lawlor (Cloneen), Noel Doherty (Galmoy), Ruairi Hickey (Lisdowney), Dermot Maher (Barrow Rangers), Kieran Delaney (St Patrick’s), Joe Brennan (St Patrick’s), Michael Gannon (St Patrick’s), Pat Brennan (Cloneen), Martin Bambrick (Barrow Rangers), Kevin Phillips (Cloneen), Jason Holden (Barrow Rangers), Patrick O’Neill (Bennettsbridge), Niall Mackey (Lisdowney).

Referee - Paddy Neary (James Stephens).

NOTE: A minute’s silence was observed before the game in memory of a very popular and committed GAA man Eamon Hennessey of the Kilkenny Supporters’ Club who died early in the week. Eamon served Kilkenny GAA at many levels and was treasurer of the supporters’ club at the time of his death, having held that position since 1996.