St Patrick’s (Ballyragget), through the excellent play of Kevin Kelly, shot the first point in this year’s intermediate hurling league and last year’s junior champions went on to win their opening game by four.
It was a merited victory, but it required an improved second half performance to win. Tullogher-Rosbercon battled to the finish, but they did not possess the same attacking threat as their opponents.
Pat Hartley tried valiantly to contain the winners attack, but with Kevin Kelly and Joe Brennan in superb form, Ballyragget always looked like making a successful return to the intermediate grade.
For the third year in-a-row Young Irelands (Gowran) got the better of Conahy Shamrocks. In a game of modest standard, the winners dominated in most sectors, but it must be said their opponents lacked the necessary commitment required.
Conahy are decimated by injuries and it now looks like their most influential player, Kieran Mooney may be absent for some time having sustained a serious leg injury on Saturday.
The big news from Saturday’s games was the one point victory for Carrickshock over reigning county champions, James Stephens. The result could be deemed a mild surprise, but the ‘Shock, as they have shown in recent years, are a match for the best on any given day.
The serious injury suffered by Richie Power is perhaps more devastating to Carrickshock than to Kilkenny. It is a cruel blow for the club after a victory that will surely do wonders for the mood among the players.
The loss of the two points will not unduly upset The Village. It will serve as a reminder that there are a few sides in Kilkenny, Carrickshock being one, that have serious aspirations on capturing a county title.
O’Loughlin Gaels served notice that they, too, are strong championship contenders with a seven point victory over Graigue Ballycallan. It could be a difficult campaign for the Graigue men
I witnessed two senior ties. Both were played in bitterly cold conditions that made good hurling impossible. Erin’s Own deserved to take the points against Dicksboro, although the city side will rue many missed scoring opportunities when playing with the wind.
A goal of the soft variety for Erin’s Own early on was the decisive score.
If Sunday’s display is anything to go by, this is going to be a particularly tough year for the Fenians. St Martin’s won comfortably against the Johnstown men, but they must improve if they are to challenge for honours in 2012.
Senior debutants Danesfort can be well pleased to hold the Shamrocks to four points. That result should give the side plenty of confidence in remaining games.
Tullaroan will be very disappointed to have lost to Dunnamaggin. Not for the first time the Southerners proved that they are a side that should never be underestimated.
Clara served notice that they want to get back to the senior grade quickly, and along with St Patrick’s, are the sides to watch in this grade.
Finally, I expected Glenmore to start well against neighbours Mullinavat, but the emphatic result for the ’Vat shows that they may well have a big say in the destiny of this year’s Intermediate title.