This year’s Junior A hurling league crown in Kilkenny is heading to Thomastown, writes Michael O’Leary.
Young Irelands Gowran 1-12
Thomastown led from the outset as they eased to victory against their neighbours Young Irelands of Gowran in the JJ Kavanagh & Sons Junior A League Final in Bennettsbridge on Sunday Evening.
Inspired by the excellent Dylan Caulfield, Thomastown led by 0-5 to 0-2 after just 6 minutes, with Caulfield on target on four occasions with two of those points coming from frees.
David Holland and Dylan Caulfield exchanged pointed frees in the 12th & 13th minutes respectively, before Jack Holden pointed from play in the 17th minute to stretch the Thomastown lead – 0-7 to 0-3 -, before a Thomas Drennan goal cut the gap to a single point.
Thomastown in control
However, Thomastown replied and outscored the Gowran men 0-6 to 0-3 over the closing 10 minutes of the first half to lead 0-13 to 1-6 at half-time with Jack Holden(2), Luke & Rory Connellan, Dylan Caulfield & Gary Lehane all adding to Thomastown’s account, while Young Irelands tally was added to by Thomas Drennan and Sean Kehoe(2) including a free.
The early stages of the second half were scrappy with just two scores coming from pointed frees by Sean Kehoe in the 34th & 39th minutes to narrow the gap to two points. 0-13 to 1-8.
However, Thomastown replied immediately and Naoise Dempsey, who made a highly significant impact when introduced as a half-time sub, scored a superb point from play, while for good measure he also struck over a superbly struck sideline cut.
Dylan Caulfield added three further points (including two frees) as they built up a six-point lead heading into the final 10 minutes, 0-18 to 1-9.
Young Irelands gave themselves hope with points from Chris Nolan and a well-executed effort by the outstanding Paddy Langton to narrow the deficit to four points. 0-18 to 1-11.
However, hopes were short-lived and a Jack Holden goal in the 52nd minute, where he finished off a terrific team movement worked the length of the field, effectively sealed the victory.
Paddy Langton pointed superbly from play in the 56th minute before late points were added from Dylan Caulfield and Jamie Lanigan to conclude the scoring.
Overall, it was an efficient team performance from Thomastown. Defensively, they were dominant with David Prendergast, Richard O’Hara and Jack Cullen excellent while team captain Dylan Caulfield led the way upfront along with Jack Holden.
Paddy Langton was Young Ireland’s outstanding performer, while Michael Lennon, Jimmy Lennon and at various stages Sean Kehoe, Thomas Drennan and Chris Nolan did their utmost as they seldom threatened to derail Thomastown’s aspirations.
Teams and Scorers
Thomastown: Paul Barron, David Prendergast, Richard O’Hara, Ciaran Sutton, Johnny Barron, Peter Connellan, Jack Cullen, Luke Connellan(0-1) Rory Connellan(0-1), Dylan Caulfield (0-10 0-6 frees), Gary Lehane(0-2), Conor Holden, Sean O’Keeffe, Jack Holden(1-3), Eddie Corrway. Subs: Naoise Dempsey (0-2 0-1 Sideline Cut), Jamie Lanigan(0-1),
Young Ireland’s: Peter Hutchinson, Philip O’Donnell, Cathal Darcy, Michael Lennon, Sean Middleton, Emmet Byrne, Paddy Langton(0-3 0-1 Sideline Cut), Padraig Naddy, Jimmy Lennon(0-1), Sean Kehoe(0-4 0-3 frees), Chris Nolan(0-1), Killian Carey, Conor Fitzpatrick, Thomas Drennan(1-1), David Holland(0-2 frees). Subs: Dylan Carey, Charlie Fitzgerald, Kieran Byrne,
Referee: Kieran Canavan