O'Loughlin Gaels 1-17 to 1-17 Mulinavat
Venue: Hugginstown - May 4th at 7.00pm
Referee: Paul Cahill
Ger Malone and John Walsh for the south Kilkenny men were keeping the O'Loughlin Gaels defence on their toes but a lot of the damage was being perpertrated down the middle with strong play from Michael Malone and fullback Tom Aylward, and aided by Mark Mansfield who was deployed to the Mullinavat defence from his natural corner forward position. Throughout this first period O'Loughlins grafted hard and kept in touch thanks to good work by Jack Nolan, Sammy Johnston (2pts) and Paddy Deegan. Both freetakers were worth their salt as they converted placed balls - 7 for John Walsh for the Mullinavat men, and 5 during this period for O'Loughlin Gaels Mark Bergin.
They second half was much better from O'Loughlins and within five minutes of the restart had equalised the game including a fine score from substitute John Doyle. Mulinavat returned the next to put them back in front but each time O'Loughlins looked to get a foothold on the game Mullinvat returned and a long period of tit for tat hurling insued. It wasn't until the 57th minute that the deadlock looked to be broken - after going a point up O'Loughlin's added to their advantage with a fine goal from Robbie Buckley. Sammy Johnston gathered the ball from a clearance that began with a score stopping block by Anthony Forristal in defence, Sammy made the hard yards and laid it off to Robbie who cleverly steered it passed the on rushing Mullinavat keeper. 3 minutes left...4 points clear...the St. John's support were wishing for the final whistle. Unfortunatley the next whistle sounded was for a free to Mullinavat outside the O'Loughlin's 21. With less than 2 minutes remaining a low drive to goal was stopped brilliantly by Stephen Murphy....the resulting scramble on the square forced two more reflex saves from the number 1 before the ball fell nicely to corner forward Adam Mansfield and he stuck it to the net. On the puck out the breaking ball was snapped up by Mullinvat and the delivery found the only man O'Loughlin Gaels did't want to have it, Mullinavat's John Walsh who masterfullly guided it over the bar from way out wide with no more time left on the clock.
At half time O'Loughlin Gaels may have been happy to steal a draw..but really this was one that got away. A good test that saw good work by a few players working to get on this team. A few have laid down a marker over these first couple of games and compettion for places will certainly be hotting up. A good place for any selector to be in. Next up is Carrickshock on May 20th in Bennettsbrige. That is one to look forward to.
Team: S. Murphy, A. Forristal, A. Kearns, E. Kearns, P. Deegan, H. Lawlor, J. Leahy, S. Mahony, P. Butler, S. Johnston (0-3), M. Kelly, R. Buckly (1-0), G. Kelly, M. Bergin (0-12, 2f,1'65), J. Nolan. Subs J. Doyle (0-1) for J. Leahy 30mins, S. Bolger(0-1) for G. Kelly 40mins, D. Lenihan for J. Nolan 58mins
B. Maher, C. Bergin, G. Bryan, R. Butler, P. Byrne, P. Cantwell, D. Burke, B. Hogan,