Laois Shopping Centre Senior ‘A’ Hurling championship Group A Rd 1
Colt Gaels 1-20
St Fintan’s Mountrath 0-15
By Pat Delaney
COLT Gaels, last year’s beaten finalists, have sent out a clear message that they intend going one better this year.
On Sunday they took on Mountrath at O’Moore Park on a perfect evening for hurling and, after a slow start, this game produced some great passages of play from both sides.
Chris Murray opened the scoring and his accuracy played a major part in the Gaels’ success.
Mountrath replied with a point by Gavin Sydes but Tony Ryan and Chris Murray edged the Gaels two clear before a good point by Wayne Sydes narrowed the gap with only seven minutes on the clock.
Teenager PJ Daly sent over a great point and he would cause major difficulties for Mountrath. Kevin Bergin opened his account and when Daly added his second Mountrath trailed by five.
Wayne Sydes and Colm Linehan pulled two back. Kevin Bergin posted his second but Colt extended their advantage with points by Tony Ryan and a great brace from Micheál Kerr.
Mountrath kept in touch with points from Jake Walsh and Jim Hyland leaving the half time score 0-12 to 0-7 in favour of the Gaels.
On the resumption Chris Murray and PJ Daly again extended the Gaels’ advantage with good points but Colm Linehan stopped the gallop. His 35th minute point sparked off a Mountrath recovery.
Dylan Russell, Gavin Sydes, Jim Hyland and James Fahy all struck points to narrow the gap to just two entering the final quarter.
Hurling was now of the highest order and James Keyes steadied the ship with a great point for the Gaels only to see Dylan Russell add his second after 47 minutes.
When Jim Hyland delivered a long range point the deficit was the minimum, 0-15 to 0-14, with eight minutes remaining.
Then came a huge turning point. A free for Colt, on their own half-back line, was struck by Mark McDonald and, as it hung in the air, it then dipped under the bar for a goal to the distress of Mountrath. After that Colt pulled away adding points from Daly and Chris Murray (3).
The only reply from Mountrtah was a Wayne Sydes effort.
Colt were short at least four first choice players who will join the squad later and they will make a bold bid to reach another final. Next up they face neighbours Shanahoe but Mountrath face a huge task when they meet title favourites, The Harps and that could end their season.
COLT GAELS: Stephen Sinnott; Ger Doolan; Anthony Dunne, Shane Mullins; ,PJ Daly (0-5) Mark McDonald (1-0), Tony Ryan (0-1); Cian Moffit, Paul Ging; James Keyes (0-1), Chris Murray (0-9, 0-8f), Brian McDermott; Kevin Bergin (0-2), Michael Kerr (0-2) Paudie McDonald.
ST FINTAN’S MOUNTRATH: Scott Hetherington; Tom Hill, Paul Meade, Shaun Moore; James Fahy (0-1), James Hyland (0-3f), Paul Rice; Gavin Sydes (0-2), Wayne Sydes (0-3, 0-1f); Colm Lanham, Pat Williams (0-1), Paul Phelan; Jake Walsh (0-1), Colm Linehan (0-2), Dylan Russell (0-2f).
Subs: Mick O’Brien for Phelan (h/t), Damien Lanham for Williams (49m), Matthew Rice for Russell (50m)
Referee: Ronan Devanney (Camross)