O’Loughlin Gaels 1-18
Graigue Ballycallan 0-18
Following victories for James Stephens and Dicksboro, O’Loughlin Gaels completed a clean sweep for the town teams in the St. Canice’s Credit Union Senior Hurling League on Saturday with a victory against Graigue Ballycallan in their Group A encounter in John Locke Park.
Stephen Murphy and Seán Ryan exchanged early frees as both sides looked to work their way into the game. Mark Bergin scored three consecutive points (2 frees, 1 from play) for O’Loughlin’s but three frees from Ryan kept Ballycallan within touching distance of the 2016 county champions at the first half water break, O’Loughlin Gaels 0-05 to 0-04 Graigue Ballycallan.
Sam Johnston and Butler pointed from play for O’Loughlin’s, but those points were cancelled out with well-taken scores from Cahill (2) and Ryan pulling Ballycallan level. Fine free taking from former Kilkenny star Bergin as well as Stephen Murphy frees continued to be a thorn in the Graigue Ballycallan defence’s side as both teams went in level at half-time, O’Loughlin Gaels 0-09 to 0-09 Graigue Ballycallan.
Ballycallan started the second half the brighter of the two teams with Tom Dunphy and the ever-reliable Ryan pushing them into a two-point lead. Sam Johnston and the unusually quiet Billy Ryan pointed for their respective sides and Bergin added to his individual tally thanks to another finely executed free.
The defining moment of the game came 7 minutes into the second half when Johnston got the only goal of the game to move O’Loughlin’s into a two-point lead. It was an advantage that they would not relinquish.
All-Ireland winning team-mates with St. Kieran’s College, Eoin O’Shea and Seán Ryan kept the scoreboard ticking for both teams as two points separated two evenly matched sides in a gruelling affair in Callan at the second half water break, O’Loughlin Gaels 1-14 to Graigue Ballycallan 0-15.
O’Loughlin’s proved experience is king in the final quarter as they outscored their opponents 0-04 to 0-03. Two Bergin frees and another score from play from O’Shea meant Ballycallan trailed by four points with 5 minutes remaining and despite late scores from Butler and Ryan they could not get that all-important goal as O’Loughlin Gaels edged out Graigue Ballycallan in the tightest game of the afternoon on Saturday.
Graigue Ballycallan take on Erin’s Own next Saturday with both sides seeking their first win of the group while O’Loughlin Gaels return to Callan on Saturday where they will face Mullinavat at 2pm.