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Under 21's just pipped in a thriller

posted 14 Jan 2013, 15:09 by Tom Duggan

St. Lachtain's 2-11 Mullinavat 0-15
Report by Michael Duggan P.R.O.
The long wait continues for that elusive Roinn A championship win after the Under 21 team just failed at the last leg on Sunday in St John’s Park in Kilkenny.  When venues are scarce this time of year I don’t think any team can have any complaints about the pitch in O Loughlins.  It was in excellent condition for the time of year and both teams served up a cracking contest from start to finish.  The game was tinged with a little sadness for the southern men and a minutes silence was observed before the game in honour of Mrs Teresa Fennelly of Ballyhale who was grandmother of Mullinavat captain Joe Fennelly and corner forward Liam Fennelly who passed away to her eternal reward over the weekend.
This was a rip roaring contest from start to finish by two evenly matched teams and Mullinavat were first to score thanks to a point from the lively Mark Mansfield.  St Lachtains replied with 2 points one from a free and one from play to lead by 2 points to one after 8 minutes.  Ian Duggan put the teams back on level terms when he pointed for Mullinavat.  The game was then turned on its head when St Lachtains were awarded a 21 yard free.  Lachtains went for the jugular and the ball flew to the Mullinavat net.  Simon Aylward replied for Mullinavat with a point from a placed ball and then Freshford added 2 points the best a point from play out on the left hand side wing.  Simon Aylward kept Mullinavat in touch with a free but St Lachtains were always able to get a score to keep daylight between them and Mullinavat.  The Rod Iron men managed to get 2points from Paudie Gahan and Mark Mansfield to leave the score St Lachtains 1-5 Mullinavat 0-6 with half time approaching.  But the game was about to take a change for the worse for the Mullinavat men when St Lachtains were awarded another 21 yard free.  Again the Freshford men went for goal and were successful and before the half time whistle was blown they had added another point to lead by 2 clear goals at half time.
Mullinavat headed to the dressing room at half time wondering what they had done wrong to find themselves 6 points behind considering that the game was such an even contest.  But like the saying goes goals win matches.  The second half started as the first half left off with St Lachtains getting the first score a point.  Mullinavat needed to get a foothold on the game and points from Thomas Aylward and Pat Mulhearn saw them come storming back into the game.  But St Lachtains would not go away and scored 2 points of their own.  Then we had the great fight back with the game sliding away from the Rod Iron men they got the bit between their teeth and stormed into the game.  Points from Liam Fennelly, Mark Mansfield, Simon Aylward by 3 and Pat Mulhearn left the scores St Lachtains  2-9 to Mullinavat’s 0-14 with 5 minutes left.  The game was now in the melting pot and  Mullinavat were carrying the game to their opponents however once again St Lachtains weathered the storm and added 2 points to their final score to Mullinavat's 1 a point by outstanding second half performer Pat Mulhearn.
Amid great scenes of excitement county chairman Ned Quinn presented the cup to the Freshford captain and so the dream was over.  St Lachtains had last won the title in 1977 so a couple of wild nights will be had in Freshford in the coming nights.  Mullinavat can be very proud of themselves and a small thing could have changed the result.  With 5 minutes to go a draw probably would have been the fairest result but it was not to be.  All the players can be very proud of themselves and the way they performed all year and when the disappointment of this loss passes they can then look at the future and the junior and intermediate championships in 2013.

Mullinavat GAA Club Bord na nOg AGM will take place an Friday 25th January at 8pm in the meeting room in the hurling field. All parents of juvenile players and anybody willing to help for the year are asked to make an effort to attend.