Senior Hurling Championship 2014

Senior Hurling Championship Sunday 4th May 2014
Kilmallock 1-11 Na Piarsaigh 2-20
The opening game of our 2014 season saw us up against the 2013 Champions Na Piarsaigh in Bruff last Sunday evening. Na Piarsaigh are this year’s outright favourites to retain the title and from what we saw in Bruff at the weekend it will take a very good side to deprive them.
Having lost the toss, Kilmallock were forced to play with the stiff breeze in the first half and this meant that we would have to put daylight between the teams before they turned around at half-time if we were to weather the inevitable Na Piarsaigh onslaught in the second half. Unfortunately we led by a solitary point at the break, 1-10 to 1-9 despite a strong opening twenty minutes by the boys in green. Graeme Mulcahy had the first score of the game inside the first minute. Eoin Ryan was on target with a couple of frees and Kevin O’Donnell landed a long-range free before Gavin O’Mahony ghosted onto a breaking ball to lash the ball to the net to give us a 1-5 to 0-3 lead. At this stage we were on top in many areas – we had two goal-bound shots well saved by Padraig Kennedy, the Blues goalkeeper in the matter of minutes and we would pay the price for these missed chances. The game-changer came in the twentieth minute in the shape of a Kevin Downes goal. Downes collected the sliotar forty metres from goal and sprinted away from the chasing defenders before crashing the ball past the helpless Barry Hennessy. From the puck-out Na Piarsaigh again won possession and tagged on a point to leave just a single point between the teams. Eoin Ryan pointed twice from play but his scores were cancelled out by points from Ronan Lynch and Shane Dowling to leave just a single point between the two teams at the interval.
The second half was all one-way traffic and Kilmallock struggled to get the ball into the danger areas. Na Piarsaigh smothered all attempts and continued to add on scores through Shane Dowling’s free-taking and two sublime efforts from sideline cuts from Ronan Lynch. Barry Hennessy, outstanding throughout the game, made three top-drawer saves – diving full length across the goal to bat away another Downes shot. Towards the end of the game Pat Gleeson, the Na Piarsaigh midfielder blasted a second goal for the Blues to give them an impressive tally of 2 goals and 20 points.
The Kilmallock line-up was Barry Hennessy, Liam Hurley, Mark O’Loughlin, John Meade, Bryan O’Sullivan, Philip O’Loughlin, Kevin O’Donnell (0-2, 1 free), Paudie O’Brien (0-1), Aaron Costello, Robbie Egan, Graeme Mulcahy, Capt. (0-2), Gavin O’Mahony (1-1), Liam Walsh, Eoin Ryan (0-5, 3 frees), Jake Mulcahy.
Subs : Benni Burke for O’Sullivan 50mins, Owen Webb O’Rourke, Andrew O’Shaughnessy, Conor Staunton, Donnagha Higgins, Stephen Quirke, David Barry, Conor Barry, Donal Barry, Kevin Roche, Mark Hayes, Derek O’Mahony, John Mike Manning, Thomas English, Dan Joy, Kevin O’Mahony.

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