Five star performance from sharp young Cats

Kilkenny & DL 5

Kilkenny & DL 5

West Waterford/East Cork 0

THEY may have fielded a whole new team, but it was the same old winning ways for the Kilkenny & District League’s youths.

These Cats may be young, but they showed experience beyond their years as they clawed West Waterford/East Cork (WWEC) to shreds to make a sparkling start to their inter-league campaign.

It took Ronnie Grace’s side just six minutes to stamp their authority at the Fair Green on Saturday. Stephen Finan picked the lock on the WWEC defence with a great ball that fell just perfectly for Aaron Molloy.

The striker beat Jevon Flynn in the race for possession, then coolly rounded goalkeeper Ryan O’Neill before finishing to an unguarded net.

The direct approach seemed to work for Kilkenny. Emmet Nugent had gone close a few minutes earlier when he left the WWEC defence trailing in his wake, but he couldn’t get his shot past O’Neill.

Fine save

The WWEC ’keeper was the busier of the two netminders in the opening half and had to make a fine save with his right foot to deny Nugent again in the seventh minute. However, O’Neill was powerless to prevent the Kilkenny striker from doubling his side’s lead on 25 minutes.

Much like the opening goal, the Munster side were powerless to cut out the probing long ball. Ciaran Bowe split the central defensive pair with a pass that Nugent chased after. He got a bit of luck when O’Neill hesitated, but did the rest himself when he skipped by the ’keeper and tapped the ball home.

Kilkenny could, and should, have stretched their advantage either side of half-time. Nugent and Bowe had some good chances but both were denied by O’Neill saves, the latter a superb strong one-handed stop to beat away Bowe’s stinging 51st minute volley.

Goal blitz

Kilkenny continued to hold the upper hand and made sure of the spoils with a three-goal blitz in nine minutes.

The run was started by Paddy Cahill, who powered a header to the WWEC net on 61 minutes. Eight minutes later Kilkenny hit the net again, Bowe profiting when he tucked a low shot home from the edge of the box after the visitors failed to clear a dangerous Nugent corner.

Sixty seconds later it was game over. Ciaran Bowe and Aaron Molloy linked up well on the left before picking out Shane Butler inside the D. The full-back made his dash forward worthwhile, stepping on to the ball before sliding an unstoppable shot into the bottom right corner.

A dismal day didn’t get any better for the WWEC, who passed up on a golden chance to get on the scoresheet following a handball by sub Gary Mason. Shane Bennett was denied a consolation goal when keeper Jason Mahony guessed correctly, the netminder diving to his right to smother the 84th minute spot kick and round off a good day.

Kilkenny & District League: Jason Mahony, Stephen Finan (Dara Fitzpatrick, 72 mins), Shane Butler, Ronan Delahunty, Ciaran Wallace, Jimmy Fox (Gary Mason, 65 mins), Paddy Cahill, Dara Egan, Emmet Nugent, Aaron Molloy, Ciaran Bowe (Andy Valentine, 81 mins).

West Waterford/East Cork League: Ryan O’Neill, Jevon Flynn, Andrew O’Riordan, Killian O’Sullivan, Rob O’Sullivan, Pedro Henrique, Richard Stillwell, Adam Crawford, Liam Allen, Shane Bennett, Stefan Tobin (Tom O’Hanlon, 72 mins).

Referee: Eoin Walsh. Linesmen: Eugene Coyne, Patrick O’Connor.