BIG performances from two of their younger players helped St Patrick’s (Ballyragget) deny Dunnamaggin an opening day in the first round of the intermediate hurling league. 1-13 to 0-14).
Kevin Kelly and Joe Brennan provided the scores when it mattered, shooting four points between them late on as they got the better of a Dunna’ side keen to make a winning start on their return to the intermediate ranks.
Having lost their senior status last year, Dunnamaggin were keen to hit the ground running in 2013, showing as much when Paddy Delaney opened the scoring inside the opening minute at a sunny Tom Ryall Park on Saturday. However, St Patrick’s – who went close to achieving senior status last time out – were no slouches themselves. Kevin Kelly hit the perfect response, bursting through from half-forward to rattle David Herity’s net in the fifth minute.
Dunnamaggin responded well to that goal, grabbing points through Darren Fitzpatrick and Willie Phelan to level the scores.
That set the stage for the remainder of the half, as neither side as allowed to put too much distance between themselves and their rivals. Michael Brennan fired over a point for St Patrick’s, only to see Canice Hickey cancel it out.
Back came Ballyragget with scores from Kelly and Joe Brennan, testing the resolve of a Dunnamaggin side who brought on Colin Herity in place of the injured Peter Kenneally with six minutes of the first half remaining.
The final stages of the half saw a shoot-out between the free-takers. Kieran Bergin got the better of that battle, converting five placed balls to Kevin Kelly’s three, a run which saw the sides go in level after an entertaining opening half, a feature of which were the skilful displays of Phelan and Kelly (Dunnamaggin 0-9, St Patrick’s 1-6).
The stage was set for an interesting second half, but Dunnamaggin were dealt a blow before the whistle sounded as Noel Hickey was forced out of the fray.
Seaghan O’Neill took his place in the team, sparking a reshuffle which saw Canice Hickey move into defence in place of his injured brother.
Things went from bad to worse for Dunna’ within minutes of the restart, as Paul Kirwan was also forced off with injury. Kevin Kelly took full advantage of the reorganised opposition, opening the second half scoring with a good point only for Kieran Bergin to level matters again.
Kenny kept up his fine run, adding two more points before Kenny Moore registered his first score with a fine pointed free. Willie Phelan followed suit, adding to his impressive evening’s work with a pointed free from well inside his own half.
Heading into the final 10 minutes the game was balanced in such a way that either side could have snatched victory.
However, Kevin Kelly and Joe Brennan led the way for St Patrick’s, sniping two points each (three from play) to two from Dunnamaggin’s Kenny Moore and Kieran Bergin.
It was a short burst, but it did the trick as the Saints marched home with the win under their belts.
St Patrick’s - Michael Gannon, Paddy Cahill, Stephen Staunton, Robbie Healy, Kieran Delaney, Jeff Morrissey, James Morrissey, Brian ‘Brooky’ Phelan, Sean Mooney, Michael Brennan (0-1), Kevin Kelly (1-9, 0-4 frees), Bill Staunton, Barry Staunton, Joe Brennan (0-3), Eoin Bergin. Subs: Jody Phelan for Mooney, Maurice Walsh for Jas Morrissey.
Dunnamaggin - David Herity, Mark Dowling, Noel Hickey, Paul Kirwan, Aidan O’Donovan, Willie Phelan (0-2, 0-1 free), Andrew Hickey, Darren Fitzpatrick (0-1), Canice Hickey (0-1), Paddy Delaney (0-1), Kenny Moore (0-2, 0-1 free), Peter Kenneally, Kieran Bergin (0-7, 0-5 frees), Anthony Kearney, Andrew Fitzpatrick. Subs: Colin Herity for Kenneally, Seaghan O’Neill for N. Hickey, Eoghan Kearney for Kirwan.
Referee: Michael O’Sullivan (Ballyhale Shamrocks).