Whoever said “change leaders and we will fight you again” would have had a resonance in Kilmacow on Friday when Diarmuid Mackey gave a master-class display of free-taking in horrible conditions, whereas his opposite number, the generally accurate Conor Conway, couldn’t hit the target from at least five well-positioned efforts before the losers changed their shooter.
Mooncoin beat Mullinavat by 0-12 to 0-8
That was part of the win and lose story in this interesting intermediate hurling league tie.
Mooncoin’s Mackey, with that thoughtful, languid style stroked every effort - he shot 10 from 10 - with consummate ease between the Mullinavat posts, and that dear reader, synopsised the game story in well prepared Kilmacow, with the persistent rain, and cold breeze making life a difficult experience for player and supporter alike.
It was difficult to list outstanding performances from either set of players, but it would not be untrue to state that Mooncoin had the better battlers, and posed bigger problems for their opponents in front of the Mullinavat goal than was evident from the Mullinavat attackers at the opposite end of the field.
The game slithered and slid in non-impressive fashion, where clumps of bodies competing for the ugly ball was the order of the evening. Too many passes flew by their intended targets, many of them skidding off the treacherous surface over sidelines or end lines.
By the 16th minute Mooncoin led by the odd point in three, for reasons documented already. The winners were fortunate that Patrick Kinsella was as good as he was, when he made a brilliantly courageous save from point blank range from Willie O’Dwyer in the 17th minute.
That save was enormously important in the evolving process as it would have done great things for the ’Vat men psychologically if it had been scored.
At half-time Mooncoin were out in front leading by 0-6 to 0-2. Mackey had grabbed four of the six while Simon Aylward, who had taken over the free-taking for the ’Vat lads, had shot his first effort between the Mooncoin posts on the call of time.
Mullinavat looked a better outfit in the second half, but their forward punch was still somewhat powder puff. They brought a renewed vigour to the table for the second half, but despite the heroics of Walter Burke, Thomas and Simon Aylward, Michael Malone and Michael Murphy they just couldn’t match the drive and determination of Aidan Walsh, Ray Wall, Ed and Niall Mackey, Patrick Kinsella, and, of course, the immaculately accurate ‘D’ Mackey.
It was a long way removed from the greatest game you will ever see, but in the final analyses, it matters not a whit to the Mooncoin men, as the two points in the bag - their first of the campaign - will be most acceptable to all concerned.
Scores: Mooncoin - Diarmuid Mackey (0-10, frees); Dave O’Brien, Michael Grace (0-1 each). Mullinavat - Simon Aylward (0-4, frees); Michael Murphy (0-2); Mark Mansfield, Michael Malone (0-1 each).
Mooncoin - Patrick Kinsella, Thomas O’Hanlon, Niall Mackey, Tomás Walsh, Cormac Daly, Eddie Mackey, Seamus Kearns, Alan Walsh, Michael Grace, Diarmuid Mackey, Ray Wall, Thomas Hennebry, Eoin Hennebry, Keith Kirwan, Davy O’Brien.
Subs - Stephen Crowley for Thomas Hennebry 54min; Danny Purcell for Davy O’Brien 60 min.
Mullinavat - James Culleton, Tony Duggan, Walter Burke, Joe Fennelly, Thomas Aylward, Michael Malone, Liam Murphy, Conor Conway, Paudie Gahan, Simon Aylward, Ger Anthony, Willie O’Dwyer, Ger Malone, Michael Murphy, Mark Mansfield.
Sub - Paddy Raftice.
Referee - R. Dowling (Kilmacow).