By Denis J. Croke
APPEARING in their first Leinster championship since 2003 the Kilkenny champions, O’Loughlin Gaels delivered a stern warning that the Kilkenny dominance of this competition is about to remain for the foreseeable future.
The Laois champions, Rathdowney/Errill, were given a fifty-fifty chance before the game, having hurled well right through out the domestic campaign. But by half time their heads and body language suggested they had taken enough punishment and no matter what their manager might say it was hard to see a resurrection.
It wasn’t to be as the Gaels went on to win 3-16 to 0-14.
Another Kilkenny team John Lockes wore down a stubborn Ballyfin in difficult conditions in the Leinster club junior hurling championship at O’Moore Park. The Laois runners-up were rank outsiders but gave a great performance before going down 0-12 to 0-6.
Timahoe recorded a victory over the Longford champions, Carrickedmond, in the Leinster club intermediate football championship, but it came at a massive price.
As the half-time whistle blew players and officials got involved in a very nasty scrap that spilled over on the way into the dressing rooms. Following the fracas the referee Damien Brazil from Offaly called Timahoe’s Brendan Quigley and Carrickedmond’s Lenehan from their respective dressing rooms and showed them straight red cars.
Last year’s champions, Ballylinan Glenmore gave a strong performance when they opened the defence of their title. Playing with the advantage of a strong breeze in the opening half, they laid the foundations for victory with a good display around midfield where Jamie Farrell was simply brilliant laying on a great supply of ball to his forwards where full forward, Gary Walsh, was more than a handful for the Ballyfin/Mountmellick defence.
Knockbeg College recovered from a shaky start to the season to book their place in the South Leinster semi-final following a comprehensive victory over Naas CBS in Dr Cullen Park when Paul Kingston top scored with seven points.
This was the week Donie Norton joined the new Laois football management team as a selector. The Heath man was approached by the new manager Justin McNulty whom he said was very professional.
Abbeyleix and Laois hurler Eoin Reilly captained Ireland to victory in the under-21 Shinty International against Scotland. The Abbeyleix net minder had another great game and was joined on the team by Christy Murray of Colt and Andrew Collier of Camross.
The Gandon Inn has seen many celebrations over the years but none more unusual than when The Heath camogie team were were presented with their medals 49 years after winning county title.
Portlaoise ladies rugby team put in one of their best displays of the season when they overcame a much larger, more physical Young Munster side in Togher.
For most of the first half it looked like this game would turn into a rout for the Limerick side. However, they had not backed on a game Portlaoise side who put their bodies on the line time and time again to deny the visitors.
In hockey, Portlaoise went down 4-2 away Wexford on a pitch where surface water from heavy rain made the astroturf pitch a much faster playing surface than normal.
The scoreline did little justice to a determined display by Portlaoise under-21 side when going down to Tullamore in the Gale Cup. They always faced a very stiff task against a side that included a fair smattering of first team players.
Portarlington picked up a maximum five points from this lively Leinster League Division 1B encounter at Lea Road that saw them overpower the West Offaly Lions.