Grace satisfied as under-12s impress

THE KILKENNY under-12s may have missed out on a place in the All-Ireland stages, but there were plenty of positives to take from their weekend in Dublin.

THE KILKENNY under-12s may have missed out on a place in the All-Ireland stages, but there were plenty of positives to take from their weekend in Dublin.

The under-12s travelled to Walkinstown for their three games in the Leinster stage of the competition and gave a good account of themselves. They were edged out of their games against North Dublin and Wexford, but rallied well to beat the South Dublin League in an eight-goal thriller on Sunday.

“I felt we were the best team in the group, but the results didn’t go our way,” team manager Ronnie Grace told the ’People. “That’s football for you. The lads played well and didn’t let anyone down. I was very happy with what I saw.”

The Kittens dominated possession against Dublin, but although they made chances they couldn’t find the net. Eoin Cody hit the post, while Jack Barcoe hit the crossbar twice. While Kilkenny’s shot tally began to mount up, Dublin bagged the winner when their second effort on target beat Dean Mason with eight minutes to play.

Kilkenny went one better in their second game on Saturday, taking the lead in impressive style against Wexford. Dylan Doyle grabbed the goal of the weekend when he fired home a 30-yard screamer, but a last-gasp strike saw Wexford go in all-square at half-time. A physically bigger and stronger side, they pounced for the winner late in the second half, but survived two strong Kilkenny penalty claims.

The Kittens were back in the capital to play South Dublin on Sunday, but didn’t get off to the best of starts. Two goals down at half-time, a brace of Colm Whelan free-kicks had them level in the second half. Whelan completed his hat-trick with another impressive free, and while Dublin drew level soon after late goals from Gavyn Blanchfield and Cathal Jordan ensured Kilkenny finished their weekend on a winning note and a 5-3 scoreline.

While the inter-league may be over, the season is not complete for Grace’s charges.

“We’ll keep training away,” he said. “We will be playing in tournaments in Waterford (May) and Wexford (June), but we’re building for the future - the Kennedy Cup in two years’ time is our goal.”

Kilkenny & DL under-12s: Niall Canning, Michael Walsh (Bridge United); Peter Keyes, Dylan Doyle (Clover United); Cathal Holland (Deen Celtic); Sean Minogue, Gavyn Blanchfield, Fergus Byrne, Robbie Dowling, Matthew Russell (Evergreen); Dylan Thomas (Fort Rangers); Sean Comerford, Owen Dowling, Evan West (Freebooters); Sean Holden (Highview Athletic); Cathal Jordan (Lions); Justin Cahill (Ormonde Villa); Dean Mason, Daragh Corcoran, Eoin Walsh, Eoin Cody (Southend United); Barry Lennon (Stoneyford United); Ned Kirwan, Jack Barcoe, Colm Whelan, Shane Maher (Thomastown United).