This junior hurling league game in Graignamanagh on Sunday provided plenty of wholesome action, a goodly dose of skilful entertainment and much excitement as the home side chased down a tearaway Thomastown in the hope that they just might catch them before the winning line.
They didn’t, but they never stopped trying. The game had barely kicked into action than Thomastown came flying out of traps. They had 1-2 on the ’board before the Graig had time to take a breath.
David Prendergast had slotted over a point in the first minute, but Mick Donnelly certainly gave valued lustre to the score when he drilled home a smashing goal two minutes later. Dylan Waugh added still more with a grand pointed free within a further sixty seconds.
It was all so frustrating and worrying for Graignamanagh. By the 15th minute, thanks to points by Eddie Walsh (3) and Paul Hamilton, Graig had narrowed the gap to a single goal. However, Thomas O’Hanrahan broke the Graig hearts in the 16th minute when he slipped home a goal which afforded the visitors the luxury of a clear two goals.
Again Eddie Walsh, Eddie Dowling and Lee Kinsella hauled the rampaging Thomastown back with some terrific points, but no sooner had they cut down the gap than O’Hanrahan again came flying in on a rebounding ball from a terrific Sean Kavanagh save to slam it home for Thomastown’s third goal.
It seemed that whatever Graignamanagh did in the pursuance of their opponents advantage, it was destined to be nullified by a major score for the lads in blue.
At half-time Thomastown led by 3-6 to 0-10. There was still hope for Graignamanagh, and a game to be won.
Within two minutes of the restart the losers had the ball in the net. A long delivery into the Thomastown full-back line was not dealt with properly, and as the ball hung around in the danger zone, Padraig Whelan was on hand to force it over the goal line.
There were but two points between the sides.
A brace of nice points by O’Hanrahan and a sweet single by Mick Donnelly extended the Thomastown lead, but by the mid-point mark in the half, Eddie Walsh had reduced the lead again to three points. Stuart Waugh was hurling up a storm for Thomastown at centre-forward.
Made the difference
He bagged a few valuable points from play and placed balls inside the closing 10 minutes which made all the difference. Graig tried all they could to break the stranglehold that Thomastown had on the contest, but their best was just not good enough on this occasion.
A Lee Kinsella goal inside the final three minutes left the game hanging precariously, with only two points between the sides. Eddie Walsh had driven a free low in an attempt to tie up the game, but it was blocked. Kinsella rushed in to slam it home, but unfortunately for the home side, that was as good as it got for them. A Stuart Waugh point finished the Thomastown effort, a winning one, which was probably the deserved verdict.
Best for Thomastown were Stuart Waugh, Dylan Waugh, Michael Donnelly, Dessie Walsh, Peter O’Hanrahan, Richard O’Hara, and Thomas O’Hanrahan.
Graignamanagh had great foots oldiers in Eddie Walsh, James Cahill, Jim O’Donnell, Eddie Dowling, Paul Hamilton, and Lee Kinsella.
Scorers: Thomastown - Thomas O’Hanrahan (2-2); Stuart Waugh (0-6, three frees); Michael Donnelly (1-1); Dylan Waugh, J.J. Farrell, (0-2 each); Dessie Walsh, David Prendergast (0-1 each). Graignamanagh - Eddie Walsh (0-8, two 65s, three frees); Lee Kinsella (1-1); Padraig Whelan (1-0); Eddie Dowling (0-3); Paul Hamilton (0-2); Cathal Roche (0-1).
Thomastown - Dylan Walsh, Barry Whelan, Shane Lanigan, Eoin Murphy, Mark Cullen, Peter O’Hanrahan, Richard O’Hara, Dessie Walsh, Dylan Waugh, Michael Donnelly, Stuart Waugh, Padraig Caulfield, Thomas O’Hanrahan, David Prendergast.
Subs - Sean Mahoney, James Hoyne, Paul Barron.
Graignamanagh - Sean Kavanagh, Bernard Hennessy, James Cahill, Jim O’Donnell, Diarmuid O’Neill, Eddie Dowling, Leonard Blanchfield, James Doyle, Paul Hamilton, Sean O’Brien, Padraig Whelan, Eddie Walsh, Lee Kinsella, Cathal Roche, Ronan Dowling. Subs - Kieran O’Brien, Adam Kennedy.
Referee - John Bennett (Tullogher).