Ochón agus ochón is the cry down South at the unexpected demise of the South junior hurling scene. With two sides still getting into the competitive traps for a place in the county semi-finals, one went by the wayside, while the other will be the lone carrier of the Confederate flag into the last four, writes Barrie Henriques.
Slieverue gave as good as they got during the first half against a highly fancied Bennettsbridge, but they were swept aside by a tsunami of power hurling from the green and yellow brigade. It is quite obvious that the Bennettsbridge people have worked well with their youth policy, and it is also obvious that the majority of their Roinn A minor championship team has been well coached, and well minded.
Maybe this year may just be a time too early for these youngsters, but there is no doubt that their star is starting to lift a bit.
Thomastown had four clear goals to spare against the Blacks and Whites, and that more or less would have been the opinions of many down South. Thomastown would have been strong contenders to win the South title, and advance to Nowlan Park.
They had a very impressive win in the Southern decider against fancied Piltown, another team that was on tongue tips for county honours.
It was not to be for the Iverk lads. Kilmacow too looked good value to get to the last four, but they too came a cropper. Like Bennettsbridge, they too have a lot of young players, and with the proper nurturing, they could figure within the near future. Windgap had some impressive outings too, but their resolve fizzled out rather meekly.
So now we are at the stage where three of the four semi-finalists are known. Thomastown are the lone star representatives from the South. Bennettsbridge, O’Loughlin Gaels and the winners of Barrow Rangers and Lisdowney will get into the final mix.
The quality of the junior grade has improved enormously with the Paul Long prompted reshaping of the Junior Championship. It has given the grade a life-line, and it has worked.
The semis should be worth having a gooch at!