It was unlucky 13 for the Cats

It turned out to be unlucky 13 for off-form Kilkenny champions, Lisdowney, in the Leinster club junior hurling final in Tullamore.

It turned out to be unlucky 13 for off-form Kilkenny champions, Lisdowney, in the Leinster club junior hurling final in Tullamore.

Sunday’s showdown was the 13th since these hugely successful club championships were introduced in 2001, but the Noresiders just weren’t at the races from the off and they paid the price in the end.

Lisdowney were bidding to become the 10th Kilkenny club to win the Tom Ryall Cup - named after the great Graigue-Ballycallan clubman - and succeed Thomastown, who went on to win the All-Ireland title last season.

“We just didn’t perform to our potential,” was the straight and simple summary from Lisdowney manager, Martin Power.

“We had chances, but in fairness to Ballinamere they got the start on us,” he added, clearly gutted by the defeat. “We were chasing the game from that point. It is disappointing, but the poor start killed us.

“In fairness to the players, they created the chances in the seocnd half but we didn’t take them. We are gutted. There is more in the team, even more than appeared when we were playing well in the second half.”

Mr Power felt victory was within Lisdowney’s grasp, but they under performed.

“When I say that I don’t want to come across as being critical of the players,” he insisted. “Performances like that can happen. If it happens that some players on any given day you fail to hit form you might get away with it. But we had so many together who just hit an off that. That’s life.

“It was unfortunate the day it happened us, because we felt we had a great chance of winning the Leinster title at least. We just have to dust ourselves down and get on with life.

“There is no use dwelling too much on the negative. We wouldn’t have changed our preparations or anything. We did everything we felt was right. The players appeared to be in good form and ready to have a right go, but things just didn’t happen for us.

“The bad start - they were 2-1 down after five minutes - left us with a huge mountain to climb.”

The manager wondered that maybe the easy match in the last round against Carlow Town didn’t do Lisdowney any good. They scored a run away win there, and he felt a more searching test might have steeled the players for the final.

“We are disappointed now, but we can look back on a season of many highs. The players are gutted, but they will dust themselves down and get on with life.

“I am sure they will have some fastastic memories from the 2013 season.

“The feeling of being gutted is what can lift them for the challenges that lie ahead next season,” he added as thoughts turned to the future. “There is no reason why these guys can’t drive on in the Kilkenny intermediate league and championship in 2014.

“The can make an impact in the intermediate championship. They can think of this day, the pain it brought, and use it to inspire next season. They will recall this memory and I am sure they won’t want to experience it again.

“One strike of a ball and we could have been Leinster champions. The players know that. It didn’t happen for us on the day. We have to be big enough to accept what happen and congratulate Ballinamere and wish them the best in the All-Ireland series. They are a good team, big and strong, and they should fear no one.

“They had some fine hurlers all over the field. They made it very difficult for us to play hurling. Our lads stuck with the task right to the end, which was to their credit. Still we felt there was more in them.”

Martin said the squad would be given a total break now until February when preparations for next season would begin.

“In fairness, the squad has worked fantastically since I took them,” he continued. “I took them the first weekend in February and they have given their all since. This wasn’t our day.When that happens you have to accept it. Hopefully they will learn from this experience.”

Blacks and Whites won the Leinster title twice (2002 and 2009). Other Kilkenny winners were Piltown, Galmoy, Danesfort, Conahy Shamrocks, Tullogher-Rosbercon, John Lockes (Callan), St Patrick’s (Ballyragget) and Thomastown.