Mount Leinster Rangers 3-12
By Kieran Murphy
THREE goals from full-forward Ciaran Kavanagh went a long way towards clinching this under-20 A hurling championship victory for Mount Leinster Rangers in Ballinkillen on Friday.
The eventual winners held the upper hand in the first quarter as they forged into a 1-5 to 0-4 lead. While Kavanagh was the goal-scorer, Jon Nolan also pulled the strings up front ending up with two points from play and another from a free in the opening half.
At the back, Jack Ryan and Tony Lawler formed a solid defensive spine which Ballinkillen struggled to penetrate. For the home side Niall Whelan converted three frees and Eoin Whelan picked off a point from play as Ballinkillen tried hard to stay in touch.
Their job was made all the more difficult when Kavanagh struck for his second goal just before the break and the same player added another point to leave Rangers leading 2-7 to 0-4 at the interval.
Minutes into the second half any hint of a successful fight-back died when Nolan passed to Kavanagh. With the ball receiver easily beating the defence there was only going to be one outcome. Once more the Ballinkillen defence was breached for Kavanagh’s third goal.
Rangers were hungry for possession and hunted in packs. Nothing was conceded easily and Tadgh Doran and Kavanagh added points.
Nine minutes into the second half Mark Foley pointed for Ballinkillen.
The half-forward proved to be a leader for his beleaguered side in the second period. He ran and prodded at the away defence every time he got the ball.
On the other hand, Rangers replied with two Nolan points, both from play. The second one came with a superb strike from out the field from the Carlow senior and under-20 intercounty player.
Foley cancelled those out with two of his own from play. The home side finally lifted themselves and played really well in that final quarter as they gained some momentum.
They began winning more 50-50 ball and Rangers were exposed when Foley, in particular, ran at them. Having said that the outcome was never in doubt and perhaps the Borris side just left a little in their bedside locker which didn’t need to come out on the day.
Mount Leinster Rangers: Dean Tobin; Matthew Kavanagh, Jack Ryan, James Quinn; Sean Joyce, Tony Lawler, Jack Flood; Colm Malone, Michael Joyce; Tadgh Doran (0-1), Jon Nolan (0-5, 0-2 frees), Liam Lawler; Eoin Fenlon, Ciaran M. Kavanagh (3-6, 0-5 frees), Pauric Coleman. Subs: Sean Murphy for Quinn (45 mins), Ciaran Kyle Kavanagh for Fenlon (45 mins).
Ballinkillen: Conor Treacy; Colin Byrne, Sean Cummins, Patrick Kavanagh; Niall Hickey, Eoin Kavanagh, Ciaran Dowling; Barry Hickey, Cormac Lomax; Mark Foley (0-3), Niall Whelan (0-6 frees), Louis Brennan; Eoin Whelan (0-2, 0-1 free), Liam McGuill, Jack Treacy.
Referee: Jonathan Murphy (Ballymurphy).
Note: The under-20 hurling B championship game between St Mullins and Burren Rangers did not go ahead in St Mullins on Friday. Visitors Burren Rangers travelled with 12 players and with the referee Patrick Murphy having travelled, they played a 12-a-side game instead.