Blacks & Whites 2-14, Graignamanagh 1-13
In Tom Walsh Park on Saturday, the crowds were there in numbers, the gladiators from Graignamanagh were also there in the requisite numbers, and Mullinavat referee, Tom Duggan was set to ignite the fuse that would send next door neighbours into battle against each other for the bragging rites in the town of Graignamanagh. You really couldn’t say that they went to battle for the sake of the little village, as every man jack present were from the little village on the banks of the Barrow.
But the bragging rites were very important.
It was not exactly tropical down in Skeaughvosteen on Saturday evening, with an icy wind blowing. But there was not too much ice in the exchanges between the sides, and the Official had to be vigilant in a few early confrontations.
If Graignamanagh have a need to reflect on why they lost the game, they would underline the fact that the concession of too many goals was the core problem. They leaked the first goal after some three minutes when full forward, Shane Murphy was on hand to slip home a simple opportunity, the product of a simple error. That was the first shot at a score from the home side. Their next major scoring effort resulted in yet another goal, this time scored by John Lennon in the 15th minute. It enabled the Skeaugh lads to lead by 2-0 to Graignamanagh’s 0-4. However points by Eddie Walsh, Cathal Roche, and Lee Kinsella had the Graig men ahead by a single point as the game tore into the final ten minutes of the first half. By half time, the sides were locked together, with not the width of an eggshell between them.
Graignamanagh 0-11, Blacks & Whites 2-5.
A point by Lee Kinsella in the 35th minute had Graignamanagh to the fore, but three unanswered points from Peter “Chap” Cleere, Michael Maloney and Niall Kennedy put some clear water between the Blacks & Whites and their neighbours.
The game was set up for a grandstand finish, when Eddie Walsh was set up for an equalising goal inside the final ten minutes. But that was as far as it got for the Graignamanagh lads, as four unanswered points by Niall Kennedy (two frees and a point from play), and a Paul Murphy insurance point on the full time call gave the honours to the home side.
For Blacks & Whites, Niall Kennedy stood head and shoulders over one and sundry. Aidan O’Dowd defended well while Paul Murphy and Peter Cleere enjoyed long spells of domination at midfield. Michael Maloney and John Lennon were the pick of the forwards.
Graignamanagh had fine performers in James Meaney, Ger Dowling, Jim O’Donnell, Eddie Dowling, the marvellous Eddie Walsh and Cathal Roche.
Blacks & Whites: Niall Kennedy (0-10, six frees); John Lennon (1-1); Shane Murphy (1-0); Paul Murphy, Peter Cleere, Michael Maloney (0-1 each).
Graignamanagh: Eddie Walsh (1-4, two pointed frees); Cathal Roche (0-3); Lee Kinsella (0-2); Ger Dowling (0-2, one free); Eddie Dowling, Hughie Flood (0-1 each).
Blacks & Whites: John O’Grady, Padraig Joyce, Sean Kealy, Joe Kelly, Aidan O’Dowd, James Brennan, Michael Doyle, Paul Murphy, Peter Cleere, Niall Kennedy, Michael Maloney, Mikey Maloney, John Lennon, Shane Murphy, Brian Barcoe.
Subs (used): Tom Farrell, Joseph Murphy, Thomas Joyce.
Graignamanagh: Seamus Kavanagh, Leonard Blanchfield, James Meaney, Sean O’Brien, Diarmuid O’Neill, Ger Dowling, Bernard Hennessy, Jim O’Donnell, Edward Dowling, James Doyle, Eddie Walsh, Hughie Flood, Lee Kinsella, Cathal Roche, Paul Hamilton.
Subs (used): Padraig Whelan, Ronan Dowling.
Ref: T. Duggan (Mullinavat).