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john whelan’s weekend report 2

JJ Kavanagh & Son Senior Hurling Championship

Round 3

Mount Leinster Rangers 1-21

Ballinkillen 1-9

At Netwatch Cullen Park

By John Whelan

If St. Mullins’ performance the night before was a reminder that they are county champions then MLR’s performance was a reminder that it is going to take some team to beat them this year. After three rounds they are the only team with a 100% record and they never looked like they were in any trouble.

Ballinkillen did start brighter with Dean Grennan saving Aidan Murphy’s shot. Sean Whelan opened the scoring with a fine effort from out on the sideline to give Ballinkillen the lead on six minutes. MLR responded with a period of relentless dominance for the rest of the half. Diarmuid Byrne opened the scoring for MLR in impressive fashion when he got his score from inside his own half. Denis Murphy wasn’t finding his usual form on the frees and after one too many misses Paul Coady took over. Coady converted a free to take the lead on ten minutes, they would lead for the rest of the game.

Ted Joyce went on a mazy run that finished with the ball nipping in under Sean Minchin’s legs in the Ballinkillen goal to sink Ballinkillen’s hopes. Denis Murphy made no mistake with his effort from play, Paul Coady added one from play too before he converted another two frees that capped off an efficient ten minute period which saw the MLR men score 1-6 without reply.

There were no signs of MLR’s dominance waning with Ted Joyce and Derek Byrne scoring thirty seconds apart. David Phelan and Ted Joyce added a point each. Denis Murphy had provided Joyce with a superb cross from the sideline allowing him to score with ease.

Finally Ballinkillen responded with a Sean Whelan point, their first in some twenty minutes. Paul Coady resumed his accurate free taking with three minutes left in the half. Sean Whelan converted a free to ensure it wouldn’t be another twenty minutes without a score. Andrew Gaul brought the deficit down to ten just before the half time whistle,  it was the only time in the game they would score twice without reply. MLR lead 1-11 to 0-4 at half time, with that 1-11 coming in a nineteen minute period.

Once again Ballinkillen got the first score of the half when a David English free reduced MLR’s lead to nine. Edward Byrne replied with a score before Sean Whelan cancelled it out with a free on thirty six minutes. John Coady pointed for MLR before Craig Wall cancelled it out on forty minutes. Like St. Mullins the night before and like they had done in the first half themselves, MLR kicked into a higher gear. Everything they did turned to gold, Richard Coady just stepped outside his own half and raised the white flag to restore their lead to ten.

Denis Murphy edged MLR eleven clear before Sean Whelan got his fifth point of the day. Richard Coady ventured a small bit further than last time and slotted the ball over the bar, this time from the half way mark. As the game entered the final ten minutes Derek Byrne got his first score of the game meaning the entire front six for MLR had now scored. Paul Coady took a ’65’ intentionally short to Denis Murphy who duly popped it over the bar. Despite his lack of success from frees earlier Denis Murphy was in flying form in the second half, a shot fired from around the forty five metre line on the sideline was the pick of the bunch as it sailed between the uprights.

Everything went right for MLR, Ted Joyce was outnumbered two to one but he still got his strike away for another score. Andrew Gaul did register a reply for Ballinkillen before Paul Coady put MLR on 1-21. Darren Dalton got a consolation goal in stoppage time for Ballinkillen but all it did was reduce the losing margin from fifteen to twelve.

Next up for MLR is a tie with Naomh Eoin, winless Ballinkillen will have the daunting task of facing St. Mullins.

MLR Team

Dean Grennan, Edward Coady, Gary Kelly, Michael Malone, Michael Doyle, Richard Coady(0-1), Gary Doyle, John Coady(0-1), Diarmuid Byrne(0-1), Derek Byrne(0-2), Paul Coady(0-7,4f), David Phelan(0-1), Edward Byrne(0-1), Denis Murphy(0-4), Ted Joyce (1-3) SUBS: Seamus O’Brien, Richard Kelly, Padraig Nolan, David Grennan, Jack Murphy, Willie Hickey, Seamus Kelly, James Hickey, Kevin McDonald, Luke Roche, Daniel Ryan, James Kelly, Chris Nolan, Frank Foley, Brian Owens

Ballinkillen Team

Sean Minchin, Dion Wall, Sean Brennan, John Hughes, Jack O’Connor, David English(0-1, 1f), Padraig Kinsella, Craig Wall(0-1), Darren Dalton(1-0), Sean Whelan(0-5, 3fs), Damien O’Neill, Aidan Murphy, Darragh O’Neill, Andrew Gaul(0-2), Marty Dalton SUBS: Thomas Dowling, Owen Roberts( in for M Dalton 28mins) , Michael Ryan, Liam Nolan, Tommy Cox( in for Darragh O’Neill 50 mins), Eoin McDonagh( in for J O’ Connor 52 mins), James Kinsella