The Mooncoin side that won the Kilkenny Junior Hurling Championship. Pic: Willie Dempsey
Mooncoin made the long journey to Westmeath a worthwhile one as they cruised into the Leinster junior club semi-finals.
Although slow to start Mooncoin upped the ante from the 15t minuteh and had too much pace and intensity for home side St Oliver Plunketts to contend with.
In Pat Walsh, Mooncoin had a scorer and creator par excellence. Two goals just before the water break settled this affair in Joristown where, once Mooncoin stepped on the gas they were unstoppable. Free flowing and stylish hurling was the order of the day and their spraying of the ball was a joy to watch at times with each player playing a part at some stage.
At the back they coped easily with the home threat and indeed many of the best moves of the game stemmed from their own 21 and 45. In truth Plunketts rarely, if ever, looked like they were going to make a battle of it such was the Kilkenny side’s dominance. The final whistle came as much as relief to the opposition as it did to the quite frozen travelling support who went home more than satisfied with their team’s work.
The opening exchanges were even enough with three points apiece after seven minutes with Davy Gavin (0-2, 0-1 free) and a monster free from goalie Conor Bracken scoring for Plunketts and Martin O’Neill, John Fitzgerald and Adam Croke for Mooncoin.
Fitzgerald put Mooncoin ahead with a super strike and then Walsh netted after a defensive mistake. That gift was doubled when a long range Muirtin Gannon free went all the way to the net again moments later. Gavin and Bracken converted frees for Plunketts but Fitzgerald and Walsh from a free ensured Mooncoin led by 2-6 to 0-5 at the water break.
The second quarter was totally dominated by the Kilkenny men as they upped the tempo and hit their stride with Walsh adding to his tally with a free and one from play, Croke (2) and Sean Gannon adding beauties. Martin O’Neill hit a fabulous point from play and a 65. Hogan struck from distance and then netted a quite sublime third goal from a move that started on his own 21 yard line.
At the short whistle Mooncoin led by 3-13 to 0-7 with Gavin and Paddy Lynam the only Plunketts scorers in that second quarter.
With the result almost a formality, even at this stage, both sides ambled through the second half with Plunketts scoring the same as their opponents - 1-7 to 0-10.
Patrick Walsh hit five wonderful points (four frees) from all angles and distances while Bracken struck three huge frees for Plunketts. Gavin hit another as the Mullingar men’s scores were being confined to placed balls while the impressive Fitzgerald with two opportunist strikes and Sean Gannon from midfield kept the Kilkennymen tally ticking over.
Plunketts did have a real purple patch late on with Paddy Lynam converting two free and then Ciaran Curley netting a superb goal that took the bare look off the scoreline but in truth it was merely window dressing as Mooncoin coasted to victory with late points from Muirtin Gannon and a free from sub Lee Treacy as they rubber stamped their emphatic victory and their passage to the next round of the Leinster championship.
On this display it will take a very good side to stop them claiming honours.
Mooncoin - Patrick Walsh (1-8, 0-6 frees); John Fitzgerald (0-5); Killian Hogan, Muirtin Gannon (1-1 each); Adam Croke (0-3); Sean Gannon, Martin O’Neill (0-2 each); Lee Treacy (0-1 free).
St Oliver Plunketts - Davy Gavin (0-5, 0-4 frees), Conor Bracken (0-5, frees); Paddy Lynam (0-4, 0-2 frees); Ciaran Curley (1-0).
Mooncoin - Eoin Purcell; Aidan Doyle, Mark Kearns, Niall Madden; Cormac Daly, Paul Henebery, James Delahunty; Sean Gannon, Muirtin Gannon; Ciaran Quilty, Martin O’Neill, John Fitzgerald; Adam Croke, Patrick Walsh, Killian Hogan.
Subs: Conor Brophy for P Henebery, 11 mins; Sean O’Dwyer for Quilty, h/t; Lee Treacey for Hogan, 37 mins; James Delahunty for Croke, 46 mins; Oisin Henebery for Walsh, 55 mins.
St Oliver Plunketts - Conor Bracken; Brian Reidy, Stephen Conway, David Murray; Donal Liddy, Aaron Craig, Zac Aherne; Paddy Lynam, Sean Kelly; Matthew Cunningham, Davy Gavin, Colm O’Leary; Ciaran Curley, Ross Corroon, Damien Kiernan,
Subs: Stephen McManus for Reidy and Greg Gavin for Kiernan, h/t; Darren Carter for Curley, 51 mins; Micky McKnight for Murray, 53 mins; Aaron Griffin for Corroon, 57 mins.
Referee - Matthew Redmond
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