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Intermediates off to a Flying Start

posted 26 Apr 2011, 02:32 by Tom Duggan
Report by Michael Duggan P.R.O.
Mullinavat 1-18 Tullogher Rosbercon 1-8
Easter Saturday last saw the hurling season start in earnest with the first rounds of the Kilkenny senior and intermediate hurling league championship games taking place.  In Kilmacow on a balmy Saturday afternoon saw near neighbours and great rivals Mullinavat and Tullogher Rosbercon contest the first round of the league.  Indeed at the same venue last year Tullogher lowered the colours of the high flying Mullinavat who were undefeated during the 2010 league until they met their great rivals.  So all was to play for in this match and both teams did not disappoint.  The game itself was played at a great intensity and the early exchanges were hard but fair.  Referee for the game was Paul Long from the Kilmacow club and his local team of officials.  The complex in Kilmacow was in its usual good condition and with the recent spell of dry weather conditions had a midsummer feel to them both underfoot and overhead.
The game started at a frantic pace and so much so that Paul Long had to issue some yellow cards to try to settle down the ferocity of the exchanges.  The names of Pat Hartley,Moling Cotterel and Ritchie Dollard of Tullogher and that of Michael Malone Mullinavat appeared in the book of the referee and some of these bookings were to prove costly as the game progressed.  The two teams matched each other for scores early on and with the score line at 0-4 to 0-3 in Mullinavat’s favour up popped Willie O Dwyer to scramble home a goal for the rod iron men.  This seemed to spur on the Mullinavat men and they took control of the game from there to half time leading on a score line of Mullinavat 1-10 to Tullogher Rosbercon’s 0-5.  Indeed a feature of the play was the Mullinavat defence had only conceded two points to the Tullogher men from play in the first 35 minutes.
The second half started well for the Tullogher men and they began to control midfield and the half back line launching attack after attack.  After putting a couple of points on the board one sensed a Tullogher revival and when their most dangerous forward Walter Walsh was fouled deep in Mullinavat territory they saw a moment of opportunity.  From the resultant free Ritchie Dollard smashed the ball to the Mullinavat net and as they say in the sporting world "Game On".  The Tullogher tails were now up but it was short lived and their indiscretions of the first half came back to haunt them.  Pat Hartley for a second bookable offence got his marching papers reducing the Tullogher contingent to 14 and this allowed Mullinavat to gather a bit of momentum.  However the game was really turned on its head when one of Mullinavat’s best players on the day Damien Aylward was crudely taken out by Tullogher’s centre back Richie Dollard with a frontal charge.  Tullogher now down to 13 their goose was cooked from there to the finish the Mullinavat poured on both the pressure and the scores to run out convincing winners on a score line of Mullinavat 1-18 to Tullogher’s 1-8.
Mullinavat will be happy with the performance and the fact that they have points on the board.  Tullogher will rue their indiscipline and think what might have happened if it had stayed 15 versus 15.  The Mullinavat backs looked solid during the hour and Goalkeeper James Culleton dealt with everything that came his way.  Midfield drifted in and out of the game while up front the ability of Paddy Raftice and Willie O Dwyer to get scores at vital times was a major difference between the sides.  Michael Malone with 0-2 points and Dinny Butler with his customary score worked extremely hard in the forward division.  So with one game gone and the next one in two weeks time we might borrow a political parlance and say “Alot done more to do”.  Our next opponents are Danesfort and nobody needs reminding of their ability.  Having played them twice last season in the league final and the county semi final there was little or nothing between the teams.  However with 3 county senior panellists in their ranks namely Ritchie Hogan,Paddy Hogan and Paul Murphy they will be anxious to avenge last year’s defeats.  So another mouth watering contest to look forward to in two weeks time.