Sunday, September 19, 2021

IT’S the highlight of the local Carlow GAA hurling calendar as the senior Championship reaches the final stage with Mount Leinster Rangers and St Mullins set to go toe-to-toe in the decider for the fifth time in seven years. Kieran Murphy spoke with both camps after their respective semi-final wins.

 

MOUNT LEINSTER RANGERS:

WITH only seven days between the semi-final and final post-match analysis takes on a different meaning. There is so little time to look forward and then again time spent looking back to right little issues can be lost preparation time. Immediately after their emphatic semi-final victory over Naomh Eoin, Rangers captain, Michael Doyle, did not agree his side had won without going into full throttle.

Mount Leinster Rangers captain Michael Doyle lifts the Carlow SHC trophy in 2019, will he do the same today?
Photo: michaelorourkephotography.ie

I don’t think it was easy. They worked us really well. There is a reason why it was a low scoring game because it was a dog-fight. We wanted to win the game and are really happy we are in a county final. That was our main aim going forward,” he reasoned.

This will be the ninth time the sides have met since they first played each other in the 2006 decider. Honours are even at four wins each. Form can go out the window when the two clash.

Next week, it will come down to who wants it more. They are a fantastic team. They showed it when they had that run in Leinster. We are under no illusions that the earlier win we had in the championship was shadow-boxing. There were a lot of changes made and we are not going to buy into that. Neither will they I would imagine,” stresses Doyle.

Both sides have introduced new players this year. Doyle is happy with this.

It is great to see some of the young lads coming in. Ciaran Kavanagh and Fiachra Fitzpatrick putting their names up for selection. We want everyone putting it in. If we get too settled that is when things go downhill. The whole thing we want is everyone competing for a place. No-one is settled into a position. Today a lot of players are putting their hands up and that is what we want.”

County final day in South Carlow sees family ties and friendships put on hold for a day.

It is going to be a huge battle,” agrees Doyle.

It is something I look forward to. I have a lot of friends down there, a lot of family down in St Mullins. The fact that it is them makes no difference. We want to come out and win a county final and retain our title.”

ST MULLINS:

NIALL O’Donnell, the St Mullins manager, doesn’t seem to be the kind of person who gets too down or too joyous over one result. If he did then his chart would be all over the place this year.

At times St Mullins were good. Then there were times when they were awful. Yet there is no game (apart from their 0-20 to 1-11 defeat to Bagenalstown Gaels) where they didn’t get something positive to take away from.

Three wins out of four to get to a final as to Rangers with five wins out of five means the Borris side have to be favourites to retain their title. O’Donnell is happy to let this notion run.

There is no doubt, and this is without doing the poor mouth, that Rangers are definitely strong favourites. Certainly, St Mullins don’t fear Rangers by any manner or means. In saying that our form has been up and down. It was probably better today (semi-final) over the sixty minutes. We still have things to work on in the performance. Two points from play in the first half is not good enough in good conditions,” O’Donnell says.

St. Mullin’s manager Niall O’Donnell
Photo: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

In normal circumstances St Mullins would not be playing Marty Kavanagh who is still recovering from injury. The Mouse played on Sunday against Bagenalstown and delivered on the scoreboard and around the field. Even with Kavanagh’s performan,ce the 1-2 Paddy Boland scored when he came in made a huge difference.

Last week, I said Marty was a month off from being anywhere being fully right. He has another week now but we can’t do much in that week. It will only draw us back if we do too much and we would have heavy legs next week. He is obviously a very talented player. He will cause them a lot of problems I have no doubt. Our team is changing altogether over the last few matches and could change next week.”

On Sunday, Michael Walsh was tended to by a physio. He looked to be in quite a lot of distress. He had played a huge part in the semi-final win. O’Donnell says he is worried.

At this point Michael is a serious concern. His shoulder is probably dislocated. He went into contact and these things happen. That is sport. We have a decent panel. There is a lot of competition for places. We can bring in subs and have done in the past. That is the way. Lads are champing at the bit to come in.”

And can they regain the title they lost to Rangers in 2020? The manager is not getting fired up.

It is a county final and we are delighted to be there. We hope to give a good account of ourselves,” O’Donnell says.

Road to the SHC Final

St Mullins

Round 1. Friday 6th August:

St Mullins 1-17 Ballinkillen 0-12

Without Marty Kavanagh the South Carlow side were still too good for the beaten finalists of 2020 with Conor Kehoe scoring 0-6 and Paddy Boland finding the net in the second half for St Mullins.

Round 2. Sunday 15th August

Bagenalstown Gaels 0-20 St Mullins 1-11

Despite a great start where they scored 1-1 the green and whites failed to build on this and only led 1-5 to 0-7 at the break. Bagenalstown Gaels could even afford to miss a penalty as the pulled away in the second half for a convincing win.

Round 4. Saturday 28th August

St Mullins 2-19 Naomh Eoin 3-13

Naomh Eoin were left to rue a poor start as St Mullins raced into a 1-8 to 0-2 lead in fourteen minutes. In the second half there was only three points between them with time running out and St Mullins were mightily glad to hear the full-time whistle.

Semi-Final. Sunday 12th September

St Mullins 2-14 Bagenalstown Gaels 1-11

A six-point margin flattered St Mullins but they still deserved their success. Marty Kavanagh contributed 1-9 with 1-8 coming from placed balls.

Mount Leinster Rangers

Round 2 Sunday 15th August

Mount Leinster Rangers 2-14 Naomh Eoin 0-16

Two goals in the first half from Denis Murphy and Eddie Byrne was the difference here as Rangers held on for a four point win.

Round 3 Saturday 21st August

Mount Leinster Rangers 2-21 St Mullins 0-20

With Jon Nolan scoring two first half goals and Rangers leading 2-14 to 0-7 at the break St Mullins were facing humiliation of the most grotesque kind. They dug deep to pull back an impossible deficit and their performance restored a semblance of confidence while saving face going forward.

Round 4 Saturday 28th August

Mount Leinster Rangers 2-18 Ballinkillen 2-11

Ballinkillen’s early goal from Craig Wall asked a question which Rangers, for long spells, struggled to answer. Ballinkillen led 1-5 to 0-7 at the interval but Eddie Byrne and Fiachra Fitzpatrick scored game changing goals in the second half to give Rangers a flattering winning margin.

Round 5 Sunday 5th September

Mount Leinster Rangers 3-18 Bagenalstown Gaels 0-9

This was a strange one. Both sides were already through to the semi-finals. The challengers didn’t perform and the champions made them pay.

Semi-final Sunday 12th September

Mount Leinster Rangers 0-17 Naomh Eoin 0-7

From a long way out the result was never in doubt. Rangers looked to be playing within themselves and Naomh Eoin had no answers.

Road to the SHC Final

St Mullins

Round 1. Friday 6th August:

St Mullins 1-17 Ballinkillen 0-12

Without Marty Kavanagh the South Carlow side were still too good for the beaten finalists of 2020 with Conor Kehoe scoring 0-6 and Paddy Boland finding the net in the second half for St Mullins.

Round 2. Sunday 15th August

Bagenalstown Gaels 0-20 St Mullins 1-11

Despite a great start where they scored 1-1 the green and whites failed to build on this and only led 1-5 to 0-7 at the break. Bagenalstown Gaels could even afford to miss a penalty as the pulled away in the second half for a convincing win.

Round 4. Saturday 28th August

St Mullins 2-19 Naomh Eoin 3-13

Naomh Eoin were left to rue a poor start as St Mullins raced into a 1-8 to 0-2 lead in fourteen minutes. In the second half there was only three points between them with time running out and St Mullins were mightily glad to hear the full-time whistle.

Semi-Final. Sunday 12th September

St Mullins 2-14 Bagenalstown Gaels 1-11

A six-point margin flattered St Mullins but they still deserved their success. Marty Kavanagh contributed 1-9 with 1-8 coming from placed balls.

Mount Leinster Rangers

Round 2 Sunday 15th August

Mount Leinster Rangers 2-14 Naomh Eoin 0-16

Two goals in the first half from Denis Murphy and Eddie Byrne was the difference here as Rangers held on for a four point win.

Round 3 Saturday 21st August

Mount Leinster Rangers 2-21 St Mullins 0-20

With Jon Nolan scoring two first half goals and Rangers leading 2-14 to 0-7 at the break St Mullins were facing humiliation of the most grotesque kind. They dug deep to pull back an impossible deficit and their performance restored a semblance of confidence while saving face going forward.

Round 4 Saturday 28th August

Mount Leinster Rangers 2-18 Ballinkillen 2-11

Ballinkillen’s early goal from Craig Wall asked a question which Rangers, for long spells, struggled to answer. Ballinkillen led 1-5 to 0-7 at the interval but Eddie Byrne and Fiachra Fitzpatrick scored game changing goals in the second half to give Rangers a flattering winning margin.

Round 5 Sunday 5th September

Mount Leinster Rangers 3-18 Bagenalstown Gaels 0-9

This was a strange one. Both sides were already through to the semi-finals. The challengers didn’t perform and the champions made them pay.

Semi-final Sunday 12th September

Mount Leinster Rangers 0-17 Naomh Eoin 0-7

From a long way out the result was never in doubt. Rangers looked to be playing within themselves and Naomh Eoin had no answers.

By Kieran Murphy

Comments are closed.

Contact Newsdesk: +353 59 9170100

More Carlow Sport

Walsh nets hat-trick for Rangers in U13 final

Similar Articles

Walsh nets hat-trick for Rangers in U13 final