ST LACHTAIN’S (Freshford) and the Rower-Inistioge served up a cracking game in the final of the Kilkenny Honda Centre minor hurling league (Roinn A) final at Bennettsbridge on Saturday. A big crowd certainly got value for money as these well prepared sides gave their all as they went in search of victory, winning by 1-14 to 0-14.
Played with a good competitive spirit and sporting manner, the game was a great advertisement for hurling and Freshford just about deserved victory. The winners can thank their goalie Darren Brennan. Deep into injury-time the Rower broke through and from the 14 metre line Cathal Bolger struck for goal, but his fine effort was brilliantly saved by Brennan and his side escaped to victory
Fresh from their victory earlier last week in the first round of this year’s minor championship against last year’s champions, Bennettsbridge, the southerners would have been expected to continue on their winning way. The winners had the assistance of the breeze in the opening half but it was the south side that opened the scoring when Pat Lyng landed an early point.
Liam Hickey, who was a constant threat to the losers defence, set up Simon Rafter for the winners opening point and in the sixth minute he took a good cross from Shane Donnelly to fire home the only goal of the game. A minute
later he helped himself to another point.
Cathal Bolger (free) and William Allen replied with points. Lachtain’s were creating numerous scoring opportunities but failed to turn them into scores from open play and frees. James Maher and Cathal Bolger exchanged pointed frees and midway through the half Michael Cody pointed for the Rower to leave the winners ahead by 1-3 to 0-5.
Shane Donnelly cut through the losers defence and from close in shot for goal, but Shane Foskin saved well in goal. With 10 minutes remaining Luke Tennyson tied up the game with a long range pointed free.
Points by Hickey and Donnelly were cancelled out by similar scores by Bolger and Lyng before Donnelly gave his side a one point interval lead of 1-6 to 0-8.
On the resumption Liam Hickey was again on the scoresheet with another point before Ciaran Ryan replied with a long range point from his centre back position.
Donnelly and Hickey edged their side three points ahead with minor scores but by the 44th minute it was back to the minimum when Ryan fielded a great ball under pressure to land a great point quickly followed by a converted free by Bolger.
Liam Hickey again halted the Rower pressure with two points but the losers kept coming forward to put the winners defence under tremendous pressure which they sustained with well disciplined tackling. Another Cathal Bolger pointed free was replied to by a Jack Boland point after substitute John Quinn laid on the pass with eight minutes remaining.
The hurling at this stage was frantic as both sides encouraged by their supporters tried to gain the upperhand. Cathal Bolger and Shane Donnelly exchanged points before Bolger from a pointed free left just 2 points between the sides, with time running out. In the final moment John Quinn gave his side more breathing space with a neat point before deep into injury time Darren Brennan saved the day with his brilliant save to give his side victory and take the John Tobin memorial cup.
Scorers: St Lachtain’s - Liam Hickey (1- 6); Shane Donnolly (0- 4, two frees); Simon Rafter, James Maher, Jack Boland, John Quinn (0-1 each). Rower-Inistioge - Cathal Bolger (0-7, one free); Pat Lyng (0-2); Ciaran Ryan (0-2); Michael Cody, Luke Tennison (0-1 each).
St Lachtain’s - Darren Brennan, Cillian Hughes, Criomhtann Bergin, Dara Quinn, Colin Corcoran, James Maher, Paul White, Shay Burke, Simon Rafter, Jack Boland, Alexander Rafter, Odhran Waldron, Liam Hickey, Shane Donnelly, Eamon Hennessy. Subs - Jack Cleere, John Quinn.
Rower-Inistoige - Shane Foskin, Dylan Kehoe, John Murphy, Darragh Kennedy, Luke Tennyson, Ciaran Ryan, Darragh Joyce, Tony Whelan, David Lyster, Cathal Bolger, William Allen, Michael Cody, Pat Lyng, Sean Grace, David Kelly.
Referee: Eamon Larkin (James Stephens)