JJ Kavanagh & Sons Junior F Hurling Final – Windgap 1-15; Mullinavat 0-10.
Windgap won the JJ Kavanagh & Sons Junior F Hurling Championship with an eight point victory over Mullinavat in this delayed final on Saturday last. The game was played before a tremendous crowd for such a fixture, on a splendid afternoon at Kilmacow on Saturday 7/10/2023.
A goal at the end of the first quarter by Blade O’Gorman turned out to be the games vital score in a controlled display by the Windgap team, managed by Pat Walsh, Sean Power, Walter Landry and John “Ski” McKenna.
It was a tough loss in this grade for Mullinavat, who had also been defeated in last year’s final, then to Conahy Shamrocks. Their selection team of Martin Davis, Conor Duggan, John Walsh and Paddy Murphy made maximum changes on the day, but could not regain any form of control, against a dominant Windgap defence.
Windgap were quick out of the blocks with three points from Tom Fleming, and two Matthew Enright frees, to go 0-3 ahead. Mullinavat got off the mark with a Jack Whelton point, following a good assist from Pat Mulhearne. Next came that goal when O’Gorman, grabbing a ball ahead of two Mullinavat defenders, netted comfortably (1-3 to 0-1).
Billy Delahunty and Enright (free) exchanged scores, as did Cormac McEvoy and Enright with frees shortly afterwards. By the interval the veteran Brian Kenneally had two scores from play for the “Vegas” men, along with a Cormac McEvoy free, whilst in the same period Windgap added four points through Fleming, Niall O’Brien, O’Gorman and Enright, all from play.
Half Time Windgap 1-9; Mullinavat 0-6.
A pointed free after three minutes by McEvoy opened Mullinavat’s second half account. Scores were scarce in the second period as defences dominated, and the next score was seven minutes later, a fine point by Niall O’Brien.
Mullinavat substitute John Reid pointed for Mullinavat, answered by two Windgap scores by Enright (free) and Fleming in the 45th minute (1-12 to 0-8).
McEvoy from a free reduced the margin to six points, but between the 23rd and 30th minute of normal time, Enright (two frees) and Stephen Purcell pointed for the “red and whites” (Windgap now 1-15 to 0-9 clear).
Jake Morrissey concluded the scoring with a Mullinavat free two minutes into injury time, but it was too little, too late as Windgap emerged deserving eight point winners.
Windgap had lost the league final earlier this year, but this was a fine victory for the club. Their defence was always on top, Tom Fleming and Stephen Purcell dominated midfield, and O’Gorman and the accuracy from frees of Enright stood out from their forwards.
Mullinavat missed chances on the day from both play and frees, and a return of six points from play on the afternoon was never going to be enough. Overall the game was well contested however from the third team of both clubs.
The Junior F trophy was presented to Windgap captain Vinny Purcell, by Junior Board chairman Pat Cooney with the comment , “If that was Junior F, the standard of Kilkenny hurling is in a good place.”
Windgap team & scorers – Alan Hearne, Craig Lonergan, Darren “Dixie” Walsh, Vinny Purcell, Killian Doyle, Conor Lonergan, Adrian Landy, Tom Fleming (0-3), Stephen Purcell (0-1), Niall O Brien (0-2), Matthew Enright (0-8, 0-7 frees), Gary Lyon’s, Blade O’Gorman (1-1), Jack O’Shea, Noah O’Shea.
Subs James Vaughan, Tommy Lonergan, Luke Ward, Eoin O’Brien, Karl McCoy, Jamie Joy, Pa Moore, Evan Doyle, Brendon Power, PJ Barron.
Mullinavat team & scorers – James O’Keeffe, Shane Kelly, Declan Duggan, Sean Brennan, Tommy Lanigan, Luke Byrne Doyle, Daniel Holden, Jamie Dungan, Jake Morrissey (0-1, free), Jack Whelton (0-1), Pat Mulhearn, Cormac McEvoy (0-4, frees), Billy Delahunty (0-1), Jack Byrne Doyle, Brian Kenneally (0-2).
Subs used – John Reade (0-1) for Jack Byrne Doyle, James Brennan for Daniel Holden, Aaron Tynan for Billy Delahunty, Gavin Maher for Jamie Dungan, Michael Holden for Jack Whelton,
Rest of panel – Killian Dungan, John Fitzpatrick, Davy Kenneally, Mossy Jones, Eoin Maher, Eoin Maher jar, Richie Kenneally.
Referee- Richard Dowling (Kilmacow).