IT WAS A wonderful weekend in Wexford as the Kilkenny under-12s signed off with a successful end to their season.
Ronnie Grace’s charges travelled to Bunclody brimming with confidence, but surpassed all expectations as they swept the boards to take home all the major prizes.
“It was well worth the trip to Wexford,” said a happy Grace. “The boys played really well in what was a great tournament. It was a great way to end the season.”
Proof of that was in the results. Kilkenny won all four of their games, scoring 10 goals and conceding none as they marched to the title.
The Kittens hit the ground running, beating a Wexford Premier Division representative side 3-0 in their opening game on Saturday. They followed that up with a 5-0 win over Wexford that afternoon, before beating Carlow 1-0 in their final group game on Sunday.
Through to the final, Kilkenny kept up their winning run when they beat Wicklow in the decider. In a tight game, Freebooters’ Sean Comerford scored the all-important goal to seal the silverware. Comerford was rewarded for his efforts with the Man of the Match award. In a clean sweep of prizes, Kilkenny captain Colm Whelan from Thomastown United was also named the Player of the Tournament.
“It was great that we were able to show what we were capable of,” said Grace. “The lads were very disappointed not to come out of the inter-league blitz in Dublin earlier this year. I thought we were the best side over that weekend but didn’t get that little bit of luck you need at times. They played some really great football in Wexford and showed they have come on in leaps and bounds since we started training last year.
“The whole squad played really well,” he added. “Defensively we were superb. Centre-backs Justin Cahill and Ned Kirwan did well at the back and also scored some great goals as did Dylan Doyle and Sean Manogue. Jack Barcoe and Eoin Walsh worked well in midfield while Cathal Jordan was solid also.”
The team will have a break until the new season, but with the Kennedy Cup next on their list Grace believes the Bunclody win augurs well for the future.
“I knew going into the competition in Wexford that we had a good side,” he said. “The boys can only get better - they are a technically gifted side, but the lads are all looking forward to coming back together in September.”
Kilkenny & DL under-12s: Niall Canning, Michael Walsh (Bridge United); Peter Keyes, Dylan Doyle (Clover United); Cathal Holland (Deen Celtic); Killian Power (East End United); Sean Manogue, Gavyn Blanchfield, Robbie Dowling (Evergreen); Dylan Thomas (Fort Rangers); Sean Comerford, Owen Dowling, Evan West (Freebooters); Sean Holden (Highview Athletic); Cathal Jordan (Lions); Justin Cahill (Ormonde Villa); Dean Mason, Daragh Corcoran, Eoin Walsh, Eoin Cody (Southend United); Barry Lennon (Stoneyford United); Ned Kirwan, Jack Barcoe, Colm Whelan, Shane Maher (Thomastown United).