Cian Loy and Willie O'Dwyer in a race for possession during Saturday's Senior Championship Quarter-Final in Ballyhale
O'Loughlin Gaels were the first side into the semi-finals of the Kilkenny Senior Hurling Championship after the city team emerged six point winners over a gallant Mullinavat outfit in Ballyhale on Saturday evening.
Paddy Deegan and Mark Bergin netted opening half goals for O'Loughlins and despite Mullinavat staying in touch throughout it was the two goals that seperated the sides come the end.
The teams met in the league a couple of weeks ago with Mullinavat shocking O'Loughlin Gaels but it was obvious from early on that Andy Comerford's side weren't going to let this opportunity slip as they led 2-4 to 0-5 at the end of the first quarter with Deegan again dictating things from his position at full forward.
Mullinavat did hit the final three points of the opening half though with efforts from John Walsh and Ger Malone narrowing the gap to three at the break.
If it wasn't for Mullinavat goalkeeper Sean Fitzpatrick, the game will have been over as a contest in the opening minutes of the second half after he saved brilliantly with Mark Bergin and Eoin O'Shea squandering goal attempts for O'Loughlin Gaels.
Mullinavat were able to take advantage of the wastefullness in front of goal by O'Loughlins with points from Walsh, Adam Mansfield and Padraic Gahan reducing the gap to two at the halfway mark of the half (2-11 to 0-15).
Deegan moved out to midfield for the final quarter and his impact was instant as the Mullinavat threat dried up with O'Loughlins dominating the rest of the contest.
Bergin, Conor Kelly and Paddy Butler all got on the scoresheet in the final few minutes as O'Loughlin Gaels confidently saw the game out to win on a 2-19 to 0-19 scoreline.
O'Loughlin Gaels- Mark Bergin (1-10, 0-7f, 0-1 65), Paddy Deegan (1-1), Paddy Butler and Conor Kelly (0-2 each), Stephen Murphy (0-1f), Jordan Molloy, Jack Nolan and Eoin O'Shea (0-1 each)
Mullinavat- John Walsh (0-10, 0-6f, 0-1 65), Ger Malone (0-3), Padraic Gahan (0-2, 0-1f), Adam Mansfield (0-2), Willie O'Dwyer and Padraig Dempsey (0-1 each)
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