Two quarter finals down, with two to go. James Stephens and Tullaroan all ready booked their place, but who will follow them?
Mullinavat were coming off a fantastic victory over O’Loughlins. As per their facebook before the game Mullinavat had played 18 games in the Senior Knockout Championship since we went up to the grade in 2015. In that time we have came up against all three Kilkenny city clubs and could never get over the line, well they had the oppurtunity to do it once again facing the ‘Boro.
Dicksboro came forward straight away looking to ruin any fairytale story, Timmy Clifford had it in the back of the net after some brilliant play from Mark Nolan.
Almost immediately after that score, Mullinavat had a fantastic goalscoring oppurtunity. Daragh Holohan was forced into a brilliant save which left Ger Malone left stractching his head. The first point of the game came from Andy Gaffney, increasing the pressure even more on Mullinavat. He added to his points tally a few minutes later by executing a further two points in a carbon copy of each other. John Walsh was first off the mark for the country side to reduce the deficit from a free.
There was a bit of a lull in the scoring however the intensity was still there albeit a bit scrappy. Andy Gaffney got his fourth of the game from a free, and then his fifth from a bit deeper in his own half with the wind behind his back.
Padraig Dempsey got a desperately needed point coming from over his shoulder by the sideline. Ger Malone followed that up by getting his first point of the game to get consecutive scores for Mullinavat, to reduce their oppoenents lead to five points. that did not last long though, with loads of time and space and an immaculate first touch, Andy Gaffney brought the ball into his hand before bursting it over the bar to continute his fine form with his sixth of the game. He was evidently the danger man just causing all sorts of trouble.
Mullinavat were trying to hit that full forward line but were just getting no let up. Speaking of no let up Andy Gaffney put his third free over. Evan Cody shushed out a Ger Malone chance on goal, to scupper any hope of a comeback before half time. Liam Moore & Timmy Clifford compounded the misery on the 26th minute with a point a piece. John Walsh doubled his tally, once again from a free taking whatever chance they have. Mullinavat have been forced to try long range points without much success. One man who has been experiencing alot of success is andy gaffney and he managed to grab another point from the dead ball. Padraig Dempsey got Mullinavats fifth point of the game but the mountain seemed to steep to climb.
Liam Moore made that mountain alot steeper a few moments later. ball dropped between Michael Malone and Liam Moore, Moore dropped in behind and slotted it straight past Sean Fitzpatrick in the goal. Andy Gaffney got his ninth point from a free right after and it just seemed like gameover.
Adrian Burke had alot to think about bringing his side down the tunnel after a poor first half. Keeping them motivated with the twelve points seperating the side will be no easy feat
Half time: Mullinavat 0-05 Dicksboro 2-11
Mullinavat came out fighting with a goalscoring oppurtunity that unfortunately resulted in a 65 for his side that was duly converted. Andy Gaffney unfortunately for them also duly converted another free for the ‘Boro and got himself into double digits.
Brian Phealan handpassed it to John Walsh Long ball John Walsh had a pop at it, did not get it but rifled his seond chance into the top corner. Exactly what they needed. Mullinavat go alot tighter to their men for the pucks out, which was a huge problem in the first half. The intensity was up, Adrian Burke no doubt reading his side the riot act. They were fired up, hitting hard and dragging out a battle. The crowd responded with the roar from Nowlan Park being loud when John Walsh lead the charge with another converted free.
The game ebbed and flowed with goals from either side. Mullinavat were more impressive hitting hard and not giving up. The switch of Michael Malone to a more deeper role agave Dicksboro forwards absolutely no space reducing them to just two scores in twenty minutes. Harry Shine managed his first, after coming from the bench to get Dicksboros third in the half, and this was followed by two more points, putting any thoughts of a comeback to bed.
After a badly worked short puck out, Dicksboro was on the attack, forcing Sean Fitzpatrick to pull of a fantastic first save but Andy Gaffney made use of the rebound to put it in the back of the onion net and make it game set and match. There was still a few minutes left but with too much of a gap between the sides it would be safe to assume that Dicksboro would be advancing