ALL-IRELAND FINAL - The scramble for tickets. The constant debate about team selection...the what ifs...the sambo’s and flask of tea....It will have to be done, all over again as Kilkenny played out a 0-19 to 2-13 draw with Galway. For the first time since 1959, the All-Ireland senior hurling championship final ended in a draw. The final last Sunday, well it was a most bruising and physical battle with both the Kilkenny Cats and Tribesmen giving their all in pursuit of All-Ireland glory. Kilkenny found it hard to settle in the opening quarter and looked on edge in the opening half as the Galway men held a five point lead at the half time break. The Kilkenny men came out inspired in the second half as all players brought a renewed level of work rate and determination which in turn seemed to rattle the Leinster champions. A penalty was awarded to Kilkenny in the dying minutes of the game after a foul on Eoin Larkin and Henry Shefflin drilled the ball over the bar to take the lead however a free was awarded to Galway deep in injury time which Joe Canning cooly scored to force the final to a replay. Well done to manager Brian Cody and Village stars, Eoin Larkin, Matthew Ruth and Jackie Tyrrell as Kilkenny face off against Galway in the replay on Sunday 30th September in Croke Park at 3.30pm.
U-16 CHAMPIONSHIP - A stunning goal from sharp shooter Ray Lahart moving into injury time was to prove the defining moment of the game as the Village were relieved to take a two point victory in the U-16 Roinn A hurling championship semi-final against a very spirited and determined Thomastown side. This clash was a bruising and physical encounter in which the Village struggled to gain a strong foot hold for long periods. It was tit for tat the entire game as the Village simply couldn’t shake off the southern side even though the ‘ Larchfield boys enjoyed much supremacy in possession terms. Leading by 1-5 to 0-5 at half time after playing with the aid of a strong breeze, the Village were made to dig very deep in the second period. Half backs, Conor Browne and Brian Crowdle were dominating on the half back line while Luke Scanlon was driving his side forward on every opportunity at mid-field. The Village were awarded a penalty with ten minutes remaining and Ray Lahart cooly stood up and dispatched a rasping shot to the back of the Thomastown net to leave four points in the game. The Thomastown men were not going to die at this crucial stage and they came down field and struck a 3 pointer followed by a converted free to leave the game deadlocked. A superb ball from Matthew McWey straight to Ray Lahart on the full time mark at which Lahart caught the ball and swiveled to unleash a stunning shot to the back of the net to take the spoils and book the Village’s place in the U-16 Roinn A hurling final. Well done to all the players and mentors. The Village will move on to square up to Rower Inistioge in the final. Team: 1.Gavin Costigan, 2.Noel Whelan, 3.Tom Cuddihy, 4.Ben Hickey, 5.Conor Browne, 6.Dylan Drennan, 7.Brian Crowdle, 8.Luke Scanlon (Captain). 9.Thomas Murphy, 10.Matthew McWey, 11.David Jordan, 12.Ray Lahart, 13.Tadhg O’Dwyer, 14.Dylan O’Shea, 15.Jake Scanlon.
The Village B squad scored a comprehensive victory over Dicksboro in the Roinn C hurling championship semi-final. The Village boys kicked into gear from the off finding the net inside the opening thirty seconds with a very well taken Niall Delaney goal. The Village dominated the half and built up a very commanding lead at half time. The Village pushed on once again in the second period nothing up some fine team scores. The backs were very solid throughout with Mark Doyle commanding at full back while Adam Butler was strong and forceful at center back. They were ably assisted by fine performances from corner backs, Conor Byrne and Jack Butler while wing backs Jake McDonald and Noah Canty played very intelligent ball into the forwards. The forwards all contributed handsomely to scoreboard and worked tirelessly throughout. Well done to the squad and mentors on securing their place in the county final. Team: 1.Richie Stapleton, 2.Conor Byrne, 3.Mark Doyle, 4.Jack Butler, 5.Noah Canty, 6.Adam Butler (Captain), 7.Jake McDonald, 8.David Shore, 9.John McEvoy,10.Niall Delaney, 11.William Spencer, 12.Paddy Gallagher, 13.Shane Stapleton, 14.Declan Wall, 15.Michael Ryan, 16.Paddy Kennedy, 17.Stephen Bateman, 18.Eamon Fennelly, 19.Shane Donohoe, 20.Nathan Donohoe, 21.Andy Parsons, 22.Liam Rafter.
E-NEWSLETTER - Each month, out productive and informative e-newsletter production wires its way into e-mail inboxes of club members, supporters and former players from as near as Larchfield to Australia and beyond. To subscribe to the monthly newsletter just send your e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org
U-14 HURLING - Hard luck to the Village U-14 panel who lost out to a very strong O’Loughlin Gaels side in round 2 of the Kilkenny U-14 Roinn A hurling championship. The Village boys clashes with the Gaels last week in a crunch championship fixture as the Larchfield boys needed a win to ensure they remain in contention for a county final place in the round robin organised competition. The game opened with both sides evenly matched in an ultra competitive affair. Both teams were deadlocked after 15 minutes at 0-3 a piece. The Village boys to a man were showing great drive and determination in the opening half with our defence shutting out the O’Loughlins Gaels attack while our forward division worked tirelessly. O’Loughlins Gaels held a slender 0-5 to 0-4 lead at the half time break. It looked as if the first team that could score the opening goal of the game in the second period was going to win this battle and it was O’Loughlin Gaels who hit the three pointer only minutes on the resumption and this score proved decisive. The Village boys put their all into the second half period but O’Loughlins Gaels found it easier to manufacture scoring opportunities and ran out winners after a very tough and hard fought battle. Well done to all the Village players on a great effort throughout. Team: 1.Patrick Kennedy, 2.Sam Hickey, 3.Niall Brassil, 4.Luke Hickey, 5.Ben Lawlor, 6.John Connick, 7.Tommy Walton, 8.Christian McGrath, 9.Eamon Fennelly, 10.Robert Butler, 11.Shane Donohoe, 12.Andy Parsons, 13.Andy Whelan, 14.Liam Rafter, 15.Ross Whelan.
SOCIAL MEDIA- The Village has fully joined and embraced the world of social media and communications. Check out the Village website (www.james-stephens.com), Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/villagegaa), Twitter page (https://twitter.com/VillageGAA) and YouTube page (http://www.youtube.com/JSGAA).
ANDY EGAN - The 19th annual U12 Andy Egan Cup and Shield Tournament took place last Saturday in Village headquarters. Competing in the Cup competition were James Stephens, Thomastown, Mount Leinster Rangers, Castlecomer, Dicksboro and Naas. There were two groups of three teams. James Stephens had a good win in the first game defeating a gallant Mount Leinster Rangers team 4-5 to 1-1. Thomastown followed on with a similar win over Rangers leaving the decider between James Stephens and Thomastown to see who would progress to the final. James Stephens Captain Liam Fennelly opted to play against the wind and Thomastown had a narrow lead of 1 point at the break. The second half was a close fought battle with the Village taking the lead 8 minutes into the second half with an excellently worked goal finished by Thomas Nugent. Despite creating numerous chances the Village were unable to capitalise and two late points from Thomastown lead them to a one point victory. Disappointment for the Village who conceded no goals from play - a brave effort which could as easily have finished in victory. The backs were solid throughout and the mid field and forwards battled to the final whistle. The panel was Sean Comerford, James Dwyer, Eric Kearney, Liam Fennelly, Sean Curran, Dylan Gleeson, Jake Burke Fergus Byrne(0-1), Cian Kenny(1-1), Eoin Guilfoyle(1-0), Sean Manogue(0-4), Eoin Dowling(1-0), Bill Butler, Adam Morrissey(1-0), Adam O Shea, Jason Butler, Thomas Nugent(2-0). Castlecomer won through from Group 2 on score difference after drawing with Dicksboro and defeating Naas. The final was a closely fought contest with Castlecomer defeating a gallant Thomastown in a great game of hurling by 2 points. The Shield competition took place in the Kierans College with four teams competing in a round robin competition with the top two teams competing in the final. The Village were narrowly defeated in the opening game by Boro on a score line of 1-2 to 0-4. This was followed by a big win over Naas. This meant that a win was required over Graigue-Ballycallan to ensure progression to the final. In a very competitive game the Village, captained by Nicholas Grace-Kelly, ran out narrow winners on a score of 3-3 to 1-2. This set up a final meeting with the Boro. The Village with the aid of the breeze in the first half went in at the break with a narrow lead of 0-2 to 0-1. The Village were unlucky not to score a goal on two occasions before the break. In the second half the either side could have won but in the end 2 late points for the Boro ensured victory for them on a score of 0-4 to 0-2. Panel James Kelly, Daniel Blackmore, Jim Ryan, Nicholas Grace-Kelly, Killian Dolan, Tom Kennedy, Cian Russell, Jamie Phelan, Gavin Blanchfield, Shane Guilfoyle, Sean Mc Kee, Leon Hayes, Kealan Coyne, Aod O Connor, Cian Loughlin, Darragh Larkin, Dylan Doyle, Jordan Fanning. We are delighted with the continued support of the Egan family and to have them present on the day. The Cup was presented to the Comer captain, James Brennan by Andy’s son Shane. Well done to all teams for a very sporting tournament. A great days hurling from all players so well done.
MINOR HURLING - The Village Minor B squad lost out to Dicksboro in the last round of the hurling league. Leading by 5 points at half time, the Village boys looked in a decent position to push on in the second half to claim victory however is was the Dicksboro men who stood firm in the second period as they struck 1-9 to 0-1 in the second half and held us to a single point which was disappointing. Try as they might, the Village boys simply couldn’t get a strong enough foot hold in the mid-field and forwards to create enough scoring chances. Hard luck to the players and mentors. Best of luck to the Minor A squad who will clash with a strong Rower Inistioge side in the quarter final of the Roinn A hurling championship this Sunday in Thomastown at 12 noon.
U-21 ALL-IRELAND - Best wishes to the Kilkenny U-21 players and management team as they prepare to go head to head with a fancied Clare side in the U-21 All-Ireland hurling final on Saturday 15th September in Semple Stadium, Thurles. Club senior selector, Adrian Finan will patrol the sidelines with the Kilkenny U-21’s so best wishes to Adrian and the squad.
FITKIDS CLASSES - Majella O’Brien, of Fitkids has extends an invitation to parents to “to come and bring their 3 to 6 year olds to Fitkids Active Fun Classes to help keep their kids fit and active while making new friends and having fun”. The classes commence on Monday 17th september in St. Patrick’s Parish Centre. Majella also points out that the programmes are age appropriate and are a great foundation for all sports, teaching children the fundamentals of exercise, strength, flexibility, balance, endurance, agility and co-ordination in a safe and fun environment. Activities include tumbling circuits using FITKIDS specialised equipment, gymnastic skills, music dance and rhythmic activities. The cost is Eu 6.00 per class and places will be limited. Book on line at www.fitkids.ie or for further information phone Majella at 087 6893663
LOTTO - 16 : 21 : 31 were the numbers drawn at Tuesday night’s weekly lotto draw. There was no winning combination. Next week’s draw will be for a jackpot of Eu 1,400. The consolation winners were: Luke Malone, Conor Millea, Martin Murphy, P.M.Lynch and Des McGrath.
SATURDAY NIGHT - Paul Pigott will be on stage on Saturday night.