Kilmacow 2-21, Slieverue 2-8
The first of the Junior B League semis in Mullinavat on Sunday afternoon was a very evenly contested affair, at least for the first half, during which time Slieverue gave as good as they got, and they would have been well entitled to think that they had more than a reasonable chance of winning in the second half. But it transpired that the foundation of such expectation was founded on a base of quicksand. Despite the fact that they managed to draw level with the Kilmacow men with two smashing points by Paul Rockett and Brian Grant within four minutes of the restart, they couldn’t manage another score from the 34th to the 52nd minute.
Therein lies the story of the game, or more pertinently the reason why the Kilmacow outfit returned with the spoils of war.
The side arrived at the half way stage of the first half within a point of each other, but then Kilmacow, as they were scheduled to do again in the second half, took off on a scoring spree that yielded 1-4 without reply from the Slieverue men between the 14th and the 24th minutes. Sean Ivory, Peter Mullally, Emmett Blanchfield, Josh Tobin, and Mullally again flagged points before a terrific passing movement involving Shane Gaule, Peter Mullally, and Liam Kearns worked the ball to corner forward, John Daniels, who blasted home the first of the two Kilmacow goals. However a terrific goal by Paul Rockett and a super point by the same player within three minutes of the Daniels goal gave Slieverue reason to expect, reason to hope. That expectancy was further embellished with a fortuitous goal by Richie Roche in the 29th minute, when to his utter surprise, a speculative long-range lob from him appeared to go all the way to the back of the Kilmacow net. On investigation, it appeared that the ball took a slight touch off a defenders hurley before going by the Kilmacow custodian, Davy Long.
The Kilmacow defence was well marshalled by full back Tom Reddy, who led by example. His contribution merited a man-of-the-match award, and he underlined his enthusiasm with the score of the game in the 51st minute when he gathered the ball inside his own half back line, travelled through plenty of difficult terrain before landing it between the Slieverue posts. A truly remarkable score in any language. Kevin McNamara, Liam Power and Andy Kearns were pretty solid on the half back line all through, while Josh Tobin put in a strong shift at midfield all through the hour. Peter Mullally led the attack with cohesion, and confidence. His ability to involve all around him was excellent, and his score taking was top class. Emmett Blanchfield at corner forward was the pick of the full forward division.
Alan Atkins had a strong game at full back for Slieverue. Kieran Dowling, was very commanding in the pivotal defensive role at number six, while Robbie Roche, and Paul Rockett worked extremely hard for the cause around the middle of the park.
It was further afield that the losers had the big problems. They just couldn’t disentangle themselves from the shackles of the Kilmacow defenders, and in such situations, score-getting is never an easy ask.
At half time Kilmacow were slightly in front by 1-11 to Slieverue’s 2-5.
Slieverue were level at the 34-minute mark, but that was as good as it got for the men in black and amber.
Kilmacow took off, and led by 2-19 to 2-8 by the time the game had ticked into the last five minutes. Sliverue had a glimmer of hope left when they were awarded a 20-metre free in front of goal. However a brilliant save by Davy Long resulted in the shot being stopped and cleared, and with it went the last chance.
The better team won, of that there can be no doubt, and if Slieverue are looking for reasons why defeat was their lot, they can only have a squint at the second half stats for the answer.
Kilmacow: Peter Mullally (0-8, four frees); John Daniels (2-1); Emmett Blanchfield (0-4); Sean Ivory (0-3); Josh Tobin (0-2); Tom Reddy, Shane Gaule, Liam Kearns (0-1 each).
Slieverue: Paul Rockett (1-6, 1-3 frees); Robbie Roche (1-0); Brian Grant (0-1); Gavin Quilty (0-1, lineball).
Kilmacow: Davy Long, John Barron, Tom Reddy, Shane Power, Kevin McNamara, Liam Power, Andy Kearns, Richie Walsh, Josh Tobin, Shane Gaule, Peter Mullally, Liam Kearns, John Daniels, Sean Ivory, Emmett Blanchfield.
Subs (used): Paul Laffin, Declan Gahan, Sean McGrath, Conor Walsh.
Slieverue: Noel Wall, Chris Butler, Alan Atkins, Jamie Murphy, Richie Roche, Kieran Dowling, Brian Kirwan, Paul Rockett, Robbie Roche, Ricky Hogan, Dylan Habberlyn, Brian Grant, Michael Habberlyn, Martin Knox, Gavin Quilty.
Referee Thomas Duggan [Mullinavat]