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Junior A's clinch the title

posted 3 Sep 2012, 12:01 by Tom Duggan
Report by Michael Duggan P.R.O.

There is a line in a song that goes “Things can only get better” well in Hugginstown on a sunny afternoon in early September things did get better for Mullinavat GAA club.  For the last number of years people have wondered what if after some of the defeats of the Mullinavat  Jnr A Teams.  Over the years they had won the league and never were able to show the same form in the championship.  Well in Hugginstown on the 2nd of September 2012 all this was put right.  Having beaten The Rower Inistioge the previous Sunday in the Southern Final in Glenmore they faced Graigue Ballycallan in the county final for the right to step up to junior hurling for 2013.  Graigue Ballycallan had won the league final and had been successful in their last 13 games were slight favourites to take the championship but what was important was that no one told this Mullinavat Team.
The belief was that the Rod Iron men needed a good start and this they got with Joe Gahan firing over a point and Ger Malone netting Mullinavats first goal.  Paddy Raftice scored a point from a free which was sandwiched between 2 Graige Ballycallan points.  With the score line reading  Mullinavat 1-2 Graigue 0-2 Mark Mansfield turned this game on its head with a terrific ground stroke that flew like a bullet to the net.  Mullinavat had got the start they needed but Graigue Ballycallan thundered back into the game with 6 points.  Ger Malone,Paddy Raftice,Simon Aylward and Mark Mansfield added scores before the break to leave Mullinavat leading at half time  on a score line of Mullinavat 2-6 Graigue Ballycallan 0-8
The second half we were expecting a Ballycallan backlash but for the first 15 minutes Mullinavat traded points with them.  The pick of the scores was a 100 yard free from Thomas Aylward which went straight between the posts.  This was followed by a Nicky Anthony point and Mullinavat seemed to have weathered the storm.  But then the game took a twist for Ballycallan when they found the Mullinavat net and we had a contest again.  With 12 minutes left on the clock the score line stood at Mullinavat 2-10 Graigue Ballycallan 1-11.  With Joe Gahan and  Paddy Raftice both raising white flags for the Vat the game seemed to be going the Vat men’s way.  Another goal from Mark Mansfield seemed to seal the game but straight from the puckout Graigue Ballycallan came up the field and had the ball in thev Mullinavat net within 60 seconds.  Before the finish both teams had a man sent off but Mullinavat held out in an exciting finish to join the junior ranks for 2013.
Southern board official Jimmy Walsh of Windgap GAA club presented Mullinavat captain Liam Murphy with the cup to loud cheers and applause.  Liam in his acceptance speech thanked the players and trainer/manager for their efforts and paid special mention to Robbie Malone who suffered an injury against Carrickshock in one of the earlier rounds.  He wished him a speedy recovery and then gave three cheers for the gallant losers.  The team was as follows Paddy Jones, Brian Kenneally, Ger Anthony, Darren Kenneally, Derek Aylward, Thomas Aylward, Liam Murphy (Capt) Nicky Anthony, Simon Aylward, Andy Mc Govern, Ger Malone, Joe Gahan, Mark Mansfield, Mossy Murphy, Paddy Raftice Subs: Pat Mulhearn Joe Wall, Ritchie Raftice, Mickey Jones, Shane Frisby, Brian Phelan, John Walsh,Mossy Jones,Conor Frisby, Ciarian Boyle.  Scorers were Mark Mansfield 2-2 Mossy Murphy 0-1 Paddy Raftice 0-3 Joe Gahan 0-2 Ger Malone 1-1 Simon Aylward 0-1 Nicky Anthony 0-1 Thomas Aylward 0-1.  Well done to manager and selectors Pat Roughan, Michael Dunphy, Richie Kenneally.  Hopefully this will give a boost to the club and drive the Intermediates to carve out a success of their own in the coming months.  Imagine Mullinavat with a Senior and Junior Hurling teams.  What a lovely thought.