Junior B All Ireland report from Limerick Leader

Report from The Limerick Leader Newspaper

Last Sunday in the headquarters of the Kileedy club in Raheenagh, I was told that the visiting St. Martin’s team from Kilkenny was named after a living person and he was at the replay between St. Martin’s and St Mary’s of Rathkeale. And to add to this story the Columban priest Father Martin Ryan who spent so much of his life in the Philippines was seated beside me. He never knew why the club was called St. Martin’s, but agreed that his name was used when the club was set up in the parish of Muckalee.

Be the story right or wrong the 81-year-old priest was delighted to see his fellow parishioner dance for joy to match the dancing daffodils who have made a belated entry to the frozen Spring. The Kileedy Cup was making its second trip to the county of the cats, following St. Lachtan’s.

The result could have been so different. Granted St. Martin’s were fielding their third string in the face of St. Mary’s first, the experience of the visitors was the deciding  factor as this junior hurling as this junior hurling B All-Ireland replay unfolded.  In the drawn game a week previous the hurling and pace was timid enough, but in this replay there was no shortage of hard tackling and with all contestants upping their performances this replay was proved one mighty contest.

When St. Martin’s reflect on the success they surely will admire the display of their 39-year-old centre-back Aidan Lawlor and his younger brother by two years, Dermot, who again was their main threat in attack.

Wing-back Nicky Purcell at the age of 37 and a member of the current Kilkenny minor squad, Brian Byrne, made a formidable half-backline.

This was hard to penetrate and much praise is due to Shane Hourigan, Damien Quaid, Mark O’Sullivan and Sean O’Shea for their stance against such opposition.

Dermot Lawlor was quick to fire over the opening point from a placed ball and while St. Mary’s were slow in settling down, they were sent reeling two minutes later when Padraig Haughney raced past the defence to raise a green flag for the Kilkenny champions. Without question St. Martin’s edged out the Rathkeale men in the first half, but could not assert any real authority and at the break the lead of 1-5 to 1-3 was favouring the men from muckalee.

Stephen Murphy, another strong hurler in the red and green, sent over a point from play to increase the lead after the resumption, but St. Mary’s, with their fight back in the drawn match in mind, were soon back on the scoring issue. Still despite their courage and skills they trailed by three points, one of these was a beauty by corner-forward Conor Kinsella, a son of Paul Kinsella the Kilkenny County Board Chairman.

Rathkeale cheered on by huge local support never surrendered. The cheer that greeted the levelling goal by substitute Kevin O’Shea with less than four minutes remaining was the catalyst for a hectic finish.

Entering time added on, parity made extra time a real possibility. Play was held up for three minutes as a Kilkenny player received treatment.

Now the experience and character of St. Martin’s came into play.

When the match resumed after this break, Stephen Murphy, not for the first time sent over a leading point.

Once back in front St. Martin’s grasped the nettle and to round off a great win Padraig Haughney, flashed over the clincher.

The better all round team won the spoils, but St. Mary’s can now look forward to their return to the A grade.

Tom  Cronin Cup

Back in 1940 Tom Cronin played minor hurling with Feenagh as his journey in the GAA was just beginning. Since his opening introduction to the association he has served with distinction as an administrator with distinction. When Castletown won the south junior hurling in 1958 he was the club secretary. It was with Feenagh-Kilmeedy that he was better known and served as chairman for two terms, 1988,1989,1990 and 1983,1984. He was the club dedegate to the west board for many years and was also treasurer of the same for a period. Tom has a huge interest in Scor in the country and was a delegate to Munster Scor. His huge contribution to the GAA is recognised in the west division where he enjoyed popularity and respect.