- Bord Gais Energy Leinster Under-20 Hurling Championship q/f
By Pat Delaney
WHERE do you begin here? Six days before the biggest day in the county’s senior hurling in many years, the seniors of the future lined out in O’Moore Park facing Kilkenny in their first game in the new under-20 hurling competition. The last meeting of the sides was in the provincial final seven years ago and like most meetings between the neighbours the result did not make pleasant reading.
This was the 19th occasion the sides had clashed at this level and with hurling buzz about the county a decent crowd turned out for a Monday evening in O’Moore Park.
Niall Brassil is not a name associated with the Marble City but he pitched a couple of early points. His direct opponent Pauric Delaney then popped over one for the home team. Eoin Cody, with one Leinster and All-Ireland medal on the mantelpiece, added another for Kilkenny.
Laois hit back with a point by Eoin Gaughan but from the puck out full forward James Bergin got inside the home defence and there was only going to be one result. Eoin Gaughan added his second point but Eoin Cody also added his second and it might have been a goal.
James Keyes sent over a great Laois point from play but as the crowd were beginning to believe there might be a surprise a defensive mix up allowed Adrian Mullen race in for Kilkenny’s second goal. You don’t want to make mistakes when that young man, already with a pair of All-Ireland medals this year hidden somewhere in the Silvermines around Ballyhale, is on the prowl.
Eoin Gaughan pointed for Laois but already the heads were dropping and the next two points went to the visitors. Laois signed off the half with a brace from Diarmuid Conway and Eoin Gaughan leaving Laois trailing 0-7 to 2-8 but still in touch.
Kilkenny posted the opening point of the new half through midfielder Evin Shefflin from the Shamrocks but Eoin Gaughan replied at the other end. Then Kilkenny added two more and the first yellow card was issued after 40 minutes.
Then a high ball in from Kilkenny was blocked out by Laois keeper Paudie McDonald but who was on the alert only Adrian Mullen and he buried the sliotar in the net.
The game was now effectively over but Kilkenny subs were chomping at the bit to get into the action. One of them, Sean Ryan another product of the Ballycallan nursery punished a Laois short puck out blasting to the net in the 52nd minute. Two minutes later another defensive mix up allowed Stephen Donnelly score goal number five.
Aaron Brennan, from the same club as namesake Eddie, the Laois manager, fired over a point with ten minutes remaining. Ciaran Brennan from the Bridge did likewise as did Jordan Molloy from the O’Loughlin’s club.
Eoin Gaughan added the home side’s tenth point with five minutes remaining.
Kilkenny corner forward Eoin Cody was still going strong in injury time and brought down the curtain on a miserable evening for the O’Moores.
A former Laois football manager once remarked after a game ‘we were trying to rid ourselves of dirty petrol’. One hopes this was the case especially for the players on the senior panel ahead of travelling the new M7.
KILKENNY: Dean Mason; Tommy Ronan, Conor Flynn, Mikey Butler; Conor Heary, Michael Carey, David Blanchfield (0-1); John Dowd, Evan Shefflin (0-3); Eoin O’Shea (0-2), Niall Brassil (0-7, 0-5fs), Adrian Mullen (2-0); Stephen Donnelly (1-1), James Bergin (1-0), Eoin Cody (0-4).
Subs: Aaron Brennan (0-1) for Dowd (41m), Ciaran Brennan (0-1) for Bergin (48m), Sean Ryan (1-0) for Mullen (50m), Jordan Molloy (0-1) for O’Shea (55m),
LAOIS: Paudie McDonald (Colt); John Maher (Rosenallis), Ryan Murphy (Galmoy), Liam Senior (Clonaslee/St Manman’s); Padraig Dunne (Harps), Padraig Delaney (0-1f Harps), Alan Connolly (Ballyfin); James Keyes (0-1 Colt), Diarmuid Conway (0-1 Clough/Ballacolla); Eoin Gaughan (0-6, 0-4fs Camross), Daniel Comerford (Harps), Ciaran Comerford (Harps); Brandon McGinley (Rathdowney/Errill), Conor Cosgrave (Rosenallis), Joe Phelan (0-1 Castletown).
Subs: Eoin Dowling (Camross) for D. Comerford (h/t), Mark Hennessey (Clough/Ballacolla) for Cosgrave (43m), Cormac Rigney (Portlaoise) for McGinley (50m), Oisin Bennett (Camross) for Connolly (50m), Thep Fitzpatrick (Rathdowney/Errill) for Maher (55m)
Referee: Richie Fitzsimons (Offaly)