Senior Hurling Match Report

Leinster Colleges B Semi Final Match Report
10-February-20
Senior Hurling Match Report

Brighter Days Ahead for the Abbey
Leinster Colleges B Semi Final

Abbey Community College 1-12 Mountrath Community School 2-15

It was a heartbreaking exit from this year's Leinster ‘B’ Championship for Abbey Community College against Mountrath Community College in the Kells’ Road on Saturday last. Despite an emphatic second half display they couldn’t find a way past the Laois net-minder to turn the tide in their favour. In fact, one would be forgiving for thinking the South Kilkenny men were ahead heading into the closing stretch of the game such was their second half dominance. Some days sport can go the opposite way however and the hurling Gods seemed to desert them at critical junctures during the contest.

Now that we have had time to dust ourselves off after a difficult day however, I’m sure every aspect of the game has been analyzed more than once as we all come to our own conclusion on the defeat. There are two things that we can say for certain; that Mountrath Community School were deserving winners on the day and that it was overall a hard day out in the Kells Road venue for Abbey’s gallant hurlers. As always, the South Kilkenny stickmen will rise again, difficult as that may seem for them in the fog at this point.

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This one started at lightning pace with the Laois side opening up a two-point gap before 2019 county minor star Ian Byrne replied for the Abbey to open their account for the day. The Glenmore marksman would go on to register 1-9 over the next hour of action. The first killer blow came as Adam Kirwan struck the net for Mountrath in the 9th minute to open up a five point margin. This lead was stretched to eight just on the stroke of half-time following a second goal for the Laois men as the challenge facing the Abbey looked even steeper heading for the dressing room.

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With the aid of a slight breeze in the second half it was the Abbey men that started the more promising and stormed into the game from the throw-in. Liam Lacey showed relentless leadership as he dominated the aerial battles and began to launch an Abbey onslaught on the Mountrath goal. The first goal chance of the second half fell to Kilmacow man Tom Costello but he would be denied be a sharp piece of goalkeeping from Finnan Cuddy. Suddenly it was all Abbey and the outstanding Cuddy would be called into action on three further occasions as Ian Byrne bore down on goal time and time again.

A break did come the way of the Abbey however as Byrne netted a penalty in the 53rd minute. An exciting finish awaited. Keith Butler narrowed the gap to just four with as many minutes remaining as a further goal chance was denied on the line after substitute Fionn Blanche arrowed a kick pass to sharpshooter Ian Byrne. The response was emphatic from Mountrath however as they pointed twice again to book their place in the Leinster Final. The Laois men will now face Birr Community College in the Leinster final on Saturday.

Yes, the challenge was certainly damming from the outset: Facing a Mountrath team boasting no fewer than 12 inter-county minor stars but Abbey were not for flinching in the midst of such a challenge. Coming up short at this stage of the campaign was something of a disappointment and anytime this team have taken to the field over their time in the Abbey team they gave their all to return victorious. They have risen the profile of hurling in the South Kilkenny nursery and paved the way for young hurlers in the surrounding areas to wear the Abbey jersey with pride in the future.

K. Dowling, B. Fitzpatrick, A Doyle, F Suffin, J. Ryan, R. Furlong, L.Lacey, K. Butler, D. Cleary, I Ahern, D. Maher, T. Butler, T. Costelloe, I.Byrne, J. Walsh Subs: F. Blanche(used), S. Blanchfield (used) K.Doyle, S.Oates,D. Fewer Ward, S Moore, J Vereker, C Roche, J Conway, S. Cantwell, S Freyne, TDoyle, B Phelan, C McGloughlin, D Lowe, C.Walsh, L. Tracey (inj), W Halpin (inj), L Heffernan (inj)

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Thanks to wmcmphotography@gmail.com for the photographs.

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