The Michael Lyng Motors Intermediate Hurling League kicked-off this Saturday with four games taking place across the two groups.
Thomastown took on Fenians in Palmerstown, Conahy Shamrocks faced St. Martin’s in Ballyragget and Young Irelands went up against St. Lachtain’s in Group A.
In Group B, the only game that took place on Saturday was the clash of Danesfort and John Lockes, with Carrickshock vs O’Loughlin Gaels and Glenmore vs Dunnamaggin taking place on Sunday.
Read below to see how Saturday’s opening round fixtures played out.
Last year’s beaten finalists Thomastown got off to the perfect start in their quest to finally promote to the top tier of Kilkenny hurling with a fine victory against Fenians.
John Donnelly, Aaron Kehoe and Jonjo Farrell starred early on for Henry Shefflin’s men, each scoring two points from play. Brian Staunton added another point to give Thomastown a 0-07 to 0-04 lead at the first half water break.
Kehoe continued to star with three consecutive points after the first quarter, but three Mark Webster frees kept Fenians within touching distance of their opponents at half-time, Thomastown 0-11 to Fenians 0-08.
Thomas Hanrahan and Pa Duggan exchanged early second half scores before Fenians equalised thanks to a well-taken Mark Webster goal. Thomastown forwards Donnelly and Hanrahan added scores, but a string of Webster frees left the game on a knife-edge as it entered the final 15 minutes, Fenians 1-12 to Thomastown 0-15.
Webster frees meant Fenians led by a goal deep into additional time, but two last gasp goals, one from substitute Naoise Dempsey, saw Thomastown somehow come away with the spoils.
St. Martin’s 2-19
Conahy Shamrocks 2-17
St. Martin’s got the better of 2020 All-Ireland Junior champions in an exciting encounter in Ballyragget.
Both sides started slowly with the scoreboard reading 0-04 to 0-04 as referee Maurice Flynn signalled for the first half water break.
However, it sparked into life in the second quarter with a late St. Martin’s goal giving them a one goal lead at the interval, 1-08 to 0-08.
Conahy showed exactly why they are amongst the favourites to promote this year as they steamrolled a hapless St. Martin’s side to move into a 1-14 to 1-12 lead with 15 minutes remaining.
Both teams would find the back of the net again in the final quarter, but it was St. Martin’s who took their chances more efficiently than their rivals as they edged Conahy by two points in an early round thriller.
St. Lachtain’s 1-17
Young Irelands 1-17
Young Irelands got off to a flying start with a goal within a minute opening the scoring in a tight game.
St. Lachtain’s replied with James Maher, Liam Hickey and Darragh Maher leading the charge for a side who will be looking to make the jump to senior hurling this year.
With a point between the teams after 20 minutes (Young Irelands 1-03 to 0-05 St. Lachtain’s) a Noel McGree point from play and a Hickey free meant it remained a one-score game despite the best efforts of star forwards Seán Carey and Ted Drea amongst others trying to push Young Irelands into a bigger lead than their 1-06 to 0-08 advantage at half-time.
It was tit for tat at the start of the second half with James Maher and his namesake Darragh replying to early Young Irelands scores. The game seemed to be heading in only one direction during the third quarter as Gowran scored five points without reply to move 1-13 to 0-11 ahead. A solitary Freshford point before the water break left four between the sides heading into the last 15 minutes.
Talisman Liam Hickey and centre-back James Maher brought St. Lachtain’s to within a goal on the 56-minute mark and Allie Rafter grabbed the crucial goal as the sides were level once again.
They exchanged late scores and in doing so both teams come away with a hard-earned point, but with the sense of leaving a victory behind them.
John Lockes 0-12
The most one-sided encounter of the day took place in Páirc Sheamuis Stiophan where Richie Hogan rolled back the years with a magnificent 0-09 as Danesfort proved far too strong for a disappointing John Lockes.
Hogan notched on his, and the game’s, first three scores of the game with three early frees. Danesfort’s lead would continue to grow throughout the first half with Gary Tynan (2), Paddy Hickey and Daire O’Neill opening Danesfort’s account from play.
Colm Phelan and Robbie Walsh further added to John Locke’s misery, but they found a way back into the game with Danesfort ill-discipline giving them a lifeline at halftime where they trailed 0-11 to 0-08.
The game was all but over midway through the second half with Padraic Mullen getting the game’s first goal. A string of Hogan frees and a late goal from Ciaran Mullen saw Danesfort cruise to victory.