Coun­sel no match for Kieran’s

Chal­lenge never got off the ground in one-sided fi­nal

Enniscorthy Guardian - - SPORT - ALAN AH­ERNE

THOMAS­TOWN HAS hosted many mem­o­rable clashes be­tween Good Coun­sel and Kilkenny teams down through the years, but the lat­est in­stal­ment on Thurs­day won’t fall into that cat­e­gory as St. Kieran’s coasted to a com­mand­ing vic­tory in this dis­ap­point­ing Top Oil Le­in­ster Schools Ju­nior hurl­ing ‘A’ cham­pi­onship fi­nal.

The Gren­nan venue was in fine con­di­tion and the weather was lovely given the time of year, but the ac­tion never really got off the ground as the Noresiders ex­er­cised con­trol af­ter grab­bing their first goal in the ninth minute.

Prior to that, re­spec­tive free-tak­ers Eoin Guil­foyle (Kieran’s) and A.J. Red­mond (Coun­sel) had picked off points, but the be­gin­ning of the end came when wing-for­ward Dar­ragh Ma­her won Stephen Keoghan’s puck-out af­ter the lat­ter score and soloed in from the right be­fore plant­ing the ball in Kyle Mar­tin’s net.

St. Kieran’s were never headed there­after, with their lead ex­tended to 1-7 to 0-3 by half-time.

Coun­sel faced the breeze in that open­ing pe­riod and con­ceded an­other brace of points to the skil­ful Conor Kelly be­fore the end of the first quar­ter.

And their best player, net­min­der Mar­tin, was kept busy as he ad­vanced smartly to bat the ball clear when Jack Doyle threat­ened, be­fore mak­ing a stun­ning save to deny Kelly who had moved to full-for­ward from the ’40.

Coun­sel de­cided to add man­power to their de­fence, bring­ing full-for­ward Donal Porter to right half-back and util­is­ing Pádraig Dempsey as a sweeper.

How­ever, that was never go­ing to cre­ate the plat­form for get­ting the scores they needed, with a pal­try one goal amassed from open play by their start­ing at­tack­ers.

The tac­ti­cal de­ci­sion left David Fog­a­rty free to mop up ev­ery­thing in the Kieran’s de­fence, while their full-back and cap­tain, Harry Walsh, was dom­i­nant un­der the high ball. Jamie Harkin was an­other stand­out per­former in the win­ners’ rear­guard, and they added sec­ond quar­ter points from Dar­ragh Ma­her and an Eoin Guil­foyle trio (two from frees).

Coun­sel’s only point from play came from mid­fielder Ja­son Byrne in the 24th minute af­ter a good block and pass by A.J. Red­mond who went on to add his sec­ond pointed free.

How­ever, Kieran’s con­tin­ued to threaten up to half-time, with Kyle Mar­tin dart­ing off his line once more af­ter Guil­foyle tried to put Stephen Bar­ron through.

It was strange to see Coun­sel stick­ing to the five for­wards and seven backs ploy on the re-start given that they were chas­ing the game and in dire need of scores.

And af­ter Guil­foyle con­verted an­other quick placed ball, over nine bar­ren min­utes elapsed be­fore a long free broke slightly to the right of the New Ross team’s goal and Stephen Bar­ron drove it first-time to the net.

At 2-8 to 0-3 it was very much game over, with Dar­ragh Ma­her widen­ing the gap to twelve be­fore the first of Coun­sel’s con­so­la­tion goals ar­rived.

Cian Byrne had looked the most threat­en­ing of their for­wards on a lim­ited sup­ply, and he got his re­wards af­ter pounc­ing on pos­si­bly the only er­ror made by Kieran’s full-back Harry Walsh. The Dun­na­m­ag­gin de­fender lost pos­ses­sion as he tried to drive out with the ball, and Byrne latched on to it be­fore beat­ing Stephen Keoghan with a com­posed fin­ish.

Un­for­tu­nately, though, it wasn’t the start of a come­back, far from it in ac­tual fact. It only served to an­noy the lead­ers as they re­sponded three min­utes later.

Their third goal arose from two de­fen­sive er­rors, as a Coun­sel player soloed into trou­ble be­fore one of his col­leagues was out in front for the sub­se­quent de­liv­ery by Stephen Bar­ron but missed his pick-up.

Conor Kelly was lurk­ing be­hind him and didn’t need any en­cour­age­ment to plant the ball in the net (3-9 to 1-3).

A.J. Red­mond sent over a pointed free be­fore he hit a head-high placed ball from 45 me­tres that went all the way to the Kieran’s net in the 53rd minute.

It was still only of con­so­la­tion value, with Peter McDon­ald mark­ing his ap­pear­ance on home soil with a long-range point be­fore Kieran’s sub­sti­tute Jack Sheri­dan struck the post with a pull.

Coun­sel did con­tinue to try hard even though they never really stood a chance, and one of their bright­est mo­ments ar­rived in the 58th minute when cap­tain Jack Ke­hoe em­barked on a strong solo run from the right flank, bear­ing down on goal be­fore flick­ing home their third ma­jor.

There was still time for Oisín Egan to flash a low shot wide, and for Conor Kelly to add an­other brace of points, be­fore this one-sided con­test con­cluded.

Good Coun­sel: Kyle Mar­tin (Rath­nure); Dy­lan Whe­lan (Fethard), Si­mon Kennedy (Tul­logher-Ros­ber­con), Owen Len­non (Rath­nure); Pádraig Dempsey (Rath­nure), Em­met Cullen (Mul­li­na­vat), Jamie Shee­han (Gusser­ane); Jack Ke­hoe (Horeswood, capt., 1-0), Ja­son Byrne (Graigue­na­managh, 0-1); A.J. Red­mond (Rath­nure, 1-3 frees), Robin Davis (Mul­li­na­vat), Col­man O’Sul­li­van (Tul­logher-Ros­ber­con); Cian Byrne (Fethard, 1-0), Donal Porter (Rath­garogue-Cushin­stown), Conor Ke­hoe (St. Mullins). Subs. - Luke Byrne-Doyle (Mul­li­na­vat) for O’Sul­li­van (39), Jack El­liot (Glen­more) for Shee­han (41), Dar­ragh Roche (Rath­garogue-Cushin­stown) for Davis (47), Paddy Whitty (Clough­bawn) for J. Byrne (52), also Neil En­nis (Horeswood), Ian Mans­field (Mul­li­na­vat), An­thony O’Con­nor (Tul­logher-Ros­ber­con), Joe O’Sul­li­van (Horeswood), Brian Walsh (Tul­logher-Ros­ber­con).

St. Kieran’s: Stephen Keoghan; Andy Hickey, Harry Walsh (capt.), Jim Ryan; David Fog­a­rty, Pádraic Moy­lan, Jamie Harkin; Kil­lian Rud­kins, Peter McDon­ald (0-1); Dar­ragh Ma­her (12), Conor Kelly (1-4), Stephen Bar­ron (1-0); Jack Doyle, Peter Dono­hoe, Eoin Guil­foyle (0-5, 4 frees). Subs. - Pádraic Fo­ley for Doyle (42), Jack Sheri­dan for Bar­ron (50), Alex Moore for Dono­hoe (57).

Ref­eree: Pat Mo­ran (Laois).

The Good Coun­sel (New Ross) squad be­fore Thurs­day’s heavy Le­in­ster Ju­nior fi­nal de­feat against St. Kieran’s in Thomas­town.

Team cap­tain Jack Ke­hoe holds on tight to pos­ses­sion for Coun­sel.

Goalscorer Cian Byrne test­ing the St. Kieran’s de­fence.

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