Every now and again one has to sit down and realise how lucky they are - in the case of this Sunday’s minor A Kilkenny hurling final we are blessed.
It is truly an encounter between City slickers Dicksboro and the men down south, Mooncoin.
The sides delivered a game for the ages in 2018 and will enthrall the many who’ll attend Nowlan Park as Mooncoin will set out to prove that last year was no fluke as they lock horns with a Palmerstown outfit who are still hurting from last year’s defeat.
Dicksboro are like the American basketball team of the late 1990s, full of talent like Harry Shine who led the Good Counsel defence on a merry dance in last week’s Leinster Final win for St Kieran’s College. Timmy Clifford of Kilkenny minor fame and Nick Doheny have been to the forefront of Dicksboro’s advance to the final where they are looking to atone for last year’s loss.
The city side began the campaign with a fine win away to Rower-Inistioge where they only began to play fluent hurling in the last 20 minutes to pull fully away.
A superb second half performance sent Dicksboro minors into the Roinn A Final once again when they overcame Galmoy/Windgap by 2-17 to 0-10 in Palmerstown.
Set Early pace
Dicksboro had set the early pace, spurred on by a seventh minute goal from Sean Maher to lead 1-2 to 0-0.
However, over the course of the next ten minutes, Galmoy/Windgap plucked five points without reply, from Eoin O’Brien, Billy Drennan (3) and Pauric Foley, to level it up 1-2 to 0-5 after 18 minutes.
The ’Boro replied through Aran Murphy and Liam Moore (2) but Billy Drennan then hit a purple patch, posting five points without reply from play and from frees. That run helped the visitors take a narrow lead (0-10 to 1-6) at half-time and seemed to be well in contention.
Despite losing a player to a second yellow just before the interval, it was Dicksboro who were energised for the new half. Liam Moore was the one player who really stood out for the hosts as he proceeded to dominate at midfield and was in great shooting form all through.
The loss of the player seemed to create more space for the ’Boro forwards and they ran riot from here on in, leaving them assured of a final berth with time to spare.
Many might have expected Mooncoin to rest on their laurels after their 2018 win. It was a rare and wonderful victory, but little did anyone realise how talented they were and hungry to repeat their exploits in 2019.
One only had to look at the performances of Oisin Hennebry, James Aylward and Sean Dwyer to realise they were not going to lie down. They beat Dunnamaggin in the first round, a result which was quickly followed by a even more impressive win over James Stephens.
If one was to call it, it’d be no surprise if it was all level at the full-time whistle.
The game will follow on from the Roinn B decider in which old rivals Young Ireland’s (Gowran) and St Martin’s (Muckalee) clash in the Kilkenny Honda Centre Minor B Championship final.
Young Irelands are on a crest of a wave at the moment in underage hurling in Kilkenny with many of the panel having won last year’s under-15 A league final. A number of them also played in Monday’s A championship final.
The DJ Carey-managed side took a while to get going against Dicksboro B but eventually burnt off their challenge in the first round.
Next up were Graigue-Ballycallan, a clash which took two games for them to get the better of the Kilmanagh men. The semi-final saw them at their free-flowing best as they rattled the net five times in a emphatic win over Glenmore - a side many had picked as the team to beat.
The Gowran attack was devastating on the day with Conor Fitzpatrick, Jack Kennedy Byrne, Killian Carey and Padraig Naddy proving influential while Gavin Manning, Tommy Phelan and Cathal D’Arcy have marshalled the defence well, with Barry Dunne an able custodian of the net.
St Martin’s got their campaign off to a good start with a win over Graignamanagh. A second half scoring blitz was enough to get them across the line when Tullogher-Rosbercon were the next side to visit Muckalee.
The semi-final against Carrickshock was again a tight affair where Josh Dempsey popped up with a late winner. He has had able assistance in an attack where Jack Farrell and Joe Reid have been prominent while Bill Dowling, Conor Dooley, Matthew Shortall and Tristan Roche have had their moments on the run to the final which saw them end a wait since 2000 to reach the Minor B final.
They will be ready to take on a big game, with Young Irelands many people’s fancy to lift the first trophy.
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