THE KILKENNY & District League’s under-16 team were the big, big winners of the weekend - and how!
The Cats, coached by Ronnie Grace, ate up the miles on their long journey to Monaghan to play the Cavan/Monaghan League on Sunday. They didn’t stop there, as they devoured the opposition 11-1.
“It really was a great performance from the lads,” said a beaming Grace. “It’s also the biggest score I’ve ever seen from a team representing the League.”
Kilkenny didn’t hang about taking control of the game, grabbing the opening goal when Sean Maguire hit the net after 14 minutes following some good play from Nathan West and Liam Hickey. Although the hosts quickly hit back with a well-struck free Kilkenny were back in command when Thomastown’s Barry Whelan made it 2-1 midway through the half.
That was the beginning of the goal glut. A brace from Adam Farrell followed around the half hour, before Whelan nabbed his second on 35 minutes, giving Kilkenny a 5-1 lead they held until half-time.
The visitors were hungry for more goals, and returned to scoring form within minutes of the kick-off. Maguire completed his hat-trick with goals in the 46th and 48th minutes, before Nathan West and Aaron Molloy also hit the net. The Cats were into double figures when West scored again on 68 minutes, while James Kenny gave them a ten-goal cushion with the final strike of the game. The only sour note for the winners was a late red card for Sean Henebry.
Naturally, Grace was delighted with the result and performance from his side.
“The lads played some lovely confident football,” he said. “Despite not having played too much together as a squad they knocked the ball around well, and really gelled well as a squad.
“We have the North Dublin Schoolboys at home in our next match,” added Grace. “If we win that we should cement top spot in the group.”
Kilkenny & DL U-16s: John Burke, Sean Henebry, Barry Whelan, Jack McCarthy, Killian Cantwell, Jimmy Fox, Nathan West, James Kenny, Adam Farrell, Sean Maguire, Liam Hickey. Subs: Aaron Molloy, Ciaran Bowe, Andy Valentine, Ciaran Wallace.
Grace will be back on the sidelines this weekend as his youths team take on Donegal in their inter-league competition. The sides will do battle in Scanlon Park on Saturday (kick-off 2pm) for a place in the semi-finals.
“This will be a big game for us - one that will go all the way,” said Grace. “It’ll be an acid test for the lads, but I think we are strong enough to come through. Hopefully we’ll get the right result.”
The youths will have a training session tomorrow (Thursday) in Scanlon Park at 1.45pm.
Kilkenny & DL Youths: Craig Cummins (Evergreen), Jack Deegan (Freebooters), Lee Delaney (Evergreen), Martin Doyle (Freebooters), Conor Gorey (Freebooters), Andy Hickey (Evergreen), Luke Hickey (Evergreen), Sammy Johnson (Evergreen), Ross King (Evergreen), Mark Lyons (Evergreen), Sean Maguire (Evergreen), Ian McLoughlin (Callan United), Declan McQuillan (Evergreen), Bill Phelan (Highview Athletic), Enda Purcell (Freshford Town), Peter Shaw (Bridge United), Robert Skehan (Thomastown United), Chris Valentine (Freebooters), Nathan West (Bridge United), Barry Whelan (Thomastown United).