They were efficient without setting the scene alight, but senior side of 2012 Dunnamaggin ended up in the intermediate hurling semi-finals.
In the end the result was all that mattered and Dunnamaggin did the business in this sometimes good, more times average quarter-final in Ballyhale on Saturday to keep the business of promotion back to the senior grade in 2014 very much on the agenda.
A well taken 18th mintue goal from county panelist, Willie Phelan, then playing at full-forward, upped the divide to 1-6 to 0-4 and was a major score in many ways. Mullinavat were always in the frame afterwards, rarely in a no hope situation, but they were led all the way home from there by a reasonably safe margin.
Dunnamaggin’s real strength is definitely in defence, where the Hickeys’, Canice, a huge, huge performer, Noel and Andrew were all on top of their game. All in defence did well, and stood particularly strong and proud when they most needed to be in the second half.
Further afield Willie Phelan, in any role he was assigned, Darren Fitzpatrick, especially in the second period when the need was most, Kenny Moore and Kieran Bergin got through a lot of good hurling.
Still, Dunnamaggin will look to the future and the semi-finals knowing they will have to do better. Somehow, for some reason, they are not bringing the experience gained in the senior ranks to the fore in games.
That can be a serious strength used to crush opponents, or to hurt them a vital times. At least they are moving in the right direction and their form is on upward curve, even if it is moving slowly.
Mullinavat opened the scoring through an unusual source. Full-back Thomas Aylward - he finished with three scores - landed the first point from a free after only 90 seconds. They doubled the advantage in the third minute when John Walsh landed a very good score from the right sideline after taking a nicely placed hurley hit pass from Michael Murphy.
By the sixth minute Dunnamaggin were back in terms. Kenny Moore was dragged and pulled before Colin Herity converted the first free, and the latter also posted the second score (0-2 each).
Each side tacked on a minor before the easy moving Willie Phelan shot a score from 40 metres in the 11th minute to put Dunna’ in front (0-4 to 0-3). There they stayed to the finish.
Kieran Bergin, who was very good at finding space and taking up good positions, weighted in with one and Colin Herity had another, with one from Paddy Raftice sandwiched in between, as Dunnamaggin opened out a 0-6 to 0-4 advantage.
Phelan’s earlier mentioned goal followed in the 18th minute. It was Colin Herity who made the defence splitting run through the ’Vat rearguard.
He spilled the ball about 12 metres out. Phelan snapped it up, went for a gap and aimed his shot into the right lower part of the net.
The next four scores were equally divided before the winners upped their advantage in the 26th minute with a nice score from Kieran Bergin (1-9 to 0-6). The hard going and very effective Darren Fitzpatrick upped the divide to seven points as the whistle for the break beckoned.
Mullinavat weren’t out of it by any means. In the 28th minute Andy McGovern worked an opening for John Walsh, but his whistling low shot from 18 metres screamed across the goal from the left and went wide.
They pulled back late points through Mark Mansfield and Michael Murphy, a free following a foul on the industrious Willie O’Dweyr, to cut the winners interval advantage to 1-10 to 0-8.
Just like at the start of the match, the action in the new half opened with a point from Mulllinavat full-back, Thomas Aylward. The next two scores fell to the opposition - Darren Fitzpatrick and Kenny Moore - but in between the ’Vat missed a handy enough chance from a free after the ball had been brought forward to the ‘50’ following dissent.
For some strange reason the zip, the sparkle began to fade out of the game from here on. While the commitment all round was good, beyond question, the action became humdrum as it meandered its way towards the finish.
Perhaps it was because the Dunnamaggin defence always appeared to have the measure of the opposition. The Mullinavat threat up front became more fitful, and they couldn’t mount a sustained period of pressure despite the heroics of Pauric Gahan, Walter Burke, O’Dwyer, Paddy Raftice, Aylward and company.
They did put two scores together beyond the third quarter - there was no score between the 36th and 47th minutes so you can see where the lull came in - through Mark Mansfield (free) and Dinny Butler to get the arrears back to 1-12 to 0-11, but Dunnamaggin didn’t allow them build on those gains.
Within two minutes Kenny Moore and Canice Hickey (65) landed scores, and then sub William Moylan shot a third to out-strip the efforts of the losers. The game was seven minutes from the finish. The score was 1-15 to 0-11.
It was all over bar the shouting, really. Dunnamaggin had done enough. Now they will look for more.
Scorers: Dunnamaggin - Willie Phelan (1-1); Kenny Moore (0-4); Andrew Fitzpatrick, Darren Fitzpatrick (0-3 each); Canice Hickey (0-3, two frees, one 65); Colin Herity (0-2, frees); William Moylan (0-1). Mullinavat - Michael Murphy (0-3, two frees); Thomas Aylward (0-3, two frees, one 65); Mark Mansfield (0-3, one free); Paddy Raftice, Dinny Butler (0-2 each); John Walsh (0-1).
Dunnamaggin - David Herity, Mark Dowling, Noel Hickey, Mark Heffernan, Paul Kirwan, Canice Hickey, Andrew Hickey, Peter Kenneally, Darren Fitzpatrick, Colin Herity, Kenny Moore, Sean Connery, Andrew Fitzpatrick, Willie Phelan, Kieran Bergin. Subs - William Moylan for Kenneally; Anthony Kearney for A. Fitzpatrick.
Mullinavat - James Culleton, Brian Phelan, Thomas Aylward, Seamus Farrell, Pauric Gahan, Walter burke, Simon Aylward, Dinny Butler, Willie O’Dwyer, Mark Mansfield, Michael Murphy, Ger Malone, Paddy Raftice, Andrew McGovern, John Walsh. Subs - Liam Fennelly for McGovern; Tony Duggan for B. Phelan; Joe Gahan for G. Malone; Mickie Jones for M. Mansfield.