THEY might not be known as The Terrible Two - yet! - but Kevin Kelly and Joe Brennan were the twin threat that saw St Patrick’s book their place in the intermediate hurling league Shield final, beating Young Irelands by 0-20 to 0-11, writes Trevor Spillane.
The duo were a constant thorn in the side of Young Irelands (Gowran) on Saturday, chipping in an impressive 16 points as they relegated their rivals to third in the table.
The result was devastating for ’Irelands. The Gowran men had been in pole position in Group One going into Saturday’s game, but they were second best for most of the afternoon as the sharper Saints took control from an early stage and never let go.
Much of the reason, at least on the scoring front, was down to Brennan and Kelly. Both played havoc with the opposition, taking turns to do so.
Brennan got the ball rolling with an impressive first quarter, the senior county panellist rattling off four points inside the opening 13 minutes. The last score showed how he has developed through his involvement with Brian Cody’s set-up, the half-forward bouncing off a hefty challenge before driving on to grab a point.
Brennan’s haul proved to be the difference between the sides after the first quarter. Irelands had big threats in Sean Kehoe and Tom Drennan but their forward lines were often stretched, limiting their effectiveness as they tried to win every ball delivered their way by the impressive Stephen Byrne, who lorded it at centre-back.
A final point from Joe Brennan, constructed by Eoghan Bergin’s hard work, ensured the Saints scored a handsome win and a crack at Shield spoils.
The Saints had no such problems, hoovering up points through the likes of Michael Brennan, Kieran Delaney, Kevin Kelly and Bill Staunton. Young Irelands had the better of the goal chances - Paul Kehoe went close with a ground strike that flashed across the goalmouth on 27 minutes - but they couldn’t make them count. Kehoe and Paul Holden did swing over some points late on, but seven wides left them trailing by seven at the break (0-12 to 0-5).
The second half was largely about two players, as Kevin Kelly and Paul Kehoe took centre-stage. Kelly helped himself to five scores - the pick of which came when he picked off Geoff Morrissey’s booming 35th minute clearance and split the posts - to take Pat’s to 17 points by the 51st minute. Kehoe replied with three frees in the same period, with Dick Carroll adding another as Gowran tried to keep pace.
It just wasn’t Irelands day
Young Irelands pressed on until the finish, but it wasn’t to be their day. Paul Holden tried to haul his side back into contention late on after they were awarded a free close to the square, but his shot seared the top of the Ballyragget crossbar.
A final point from Joe Brennan, constructed by Eoghan Bergin’s hard work, ensured the Saints scored a handsome win and a crack
Best for the winners were the aforementioned Kelly and Brennan and Brian ‘Brooky’ Phelan, who was on hand to clear up plenty of loose ball when it was required. For Young Irelands, none fared better than Stephen Byrne, while Tom Drennan and Paul Kehoe also performed well.
SCORERS: St Patrick’s - Kevin Kelly (0-9, 0-3 frees); Joe Brennan (0-7); Kieran Delaney, Michael Brennan, Bill Staunton, Eoghan Bergin (0-1 each). Young Irelands - Paul Kehoe (0-6, frees); Paul Holden (0-2, 0-1 free); J.J. Lennon, Tom Drennan, Dick Carroll (0-1 each).
St Patrick’s - M. Gannon, R. Healy, S. Staunton, B. Mulhall, G. Morrissey, G. Brennan, J. Gannon, B. Phelan, K. Delaney, B. Staunton, K. Kelly, J. Brennan, M. Brennan, J. Phelan, E. Bergin. Sub: S. Mooney for M. Brennan, 52 mins.
Young Irelands - M. Carey, N. Walsh, M. Walsh, C. Carroll, J. Dunphy, S. Byrne, E. Byrne, J.J. Lennon, C. Nolan, T. Carroll, S. Kehoe, P. Holden, P. Kehoe, T. Drennan, D. Carroll. Subs: M. Carter for Walsh (inj), 12 mins; J. Morris for E. Byrne, 30 mins; M. Lennon for T. Carroll, 48 mins.
Referee - D. O’Sullivan (John Lockes).