MAYNOOTH’s hurlers will next season ply their trade once again in the senior ranks after the Crom Abu fended off a half-hearted Ardclough rally to clinch a second successive intermediate title in Newbridge last Sunday afternoon, writes John Ryan.
Intermediate Hurling Championship Final
After building a six-point half-time lead against a toothless Ardclough, Maynooth seemed destined to ease to victory. However, while Maynooth themselves struggled to find their range in the second period – they only registered 0-2 by the hour mark – a 47th minute Ardclough goal courtesy of substitute, Padraig O’Malley suddenly threw the outcome back into the melting pot.
Yet, for all of Ardclough’s dominance during the ensuing ten minutes, the champions of 2006 only added one further point to their tally and that five minutes out, something that proved to be nothing more than a mere consolation as Maynooth recovered their composure to shoot the closing three scores to wrap up a deserving victory.
Indeed, while it finished well for the winners, it also began in a similar fashion for Maynooth who, on the balance of it, were far sharper than their opponents.
Although the opening ten minutes were dogged at best, points from Eanna Lohan (5), Mark Cummins and Graham Kenny had Maynooth into a lead that they would never relinquish.
As Ardclough continued to concede possession far too often, they were duly punished at the other end as Fiachra Lohan – with a sublime side-line cut –and Cian Forde (2) stretched Maynooth’s lead to six without reply by the 25th minute.
Ardclough eventually opened their account when Mark Lynam pointed a 26th minute free, but with Kenny and Lohan driving on Maynooth as they stretched the game, a second point from Lohan left matters at 0-7 to 0-1 at the break, a lead that should have been greater given the chances created – yet ultimately squandered – by Maynooth.
Ardclough shuffled their pack during the interval but it seemed not much else had changed when Kenny slotted over inside a minute of the restart to make it a seven point game.
Both sides failed to convert goal chances in the minutes thereafter, before Lynam and Cummins traded pointed frees by the 42nd minute.
Maynooth though, wouldn’t score again until stoppage time as a Declan Higgins point from a free was promptly followed by O’Malley’s goal, an instinctive finish following a scramble on the edge of the square.
Thereafter, as the intensity reached new levels, it was Ardclough who asked most of the questions even without much by way of suitable answers, a gallant rear-guard showing from Maynooth regularly snuffing out their best efforts and keeping them a score (two points) at arm’s length.
In the end it was Maynooth who came up with the goods as the clock ticked into stoppage time, Forde, Mikey Gillick and Cummins securing victory for Maynooth and with it a ticket at the top table of Kildare club hurling in 2013.
Maynooth, Cian Forde 0-3, Mark Cummins 0-3 (2f), Eanna Lohan 0-2, Graham Kenny 0-2, Fiachra Lohan 0-1 (s/l), Mikey Gillick 0-1.
Ardclough, Padraig O’Malley 1-0, Mark Lynam 0-3 (2f), Declan Higgins 0-1 (1f).
Shane Nolan; Andrew Horan, Shane Barry, Joe Brennan; Paul Moylan, Harry Oliver, Sean Higgins; Fiachra Lohan, Graham Kenny; Mikey Gillick, Eanna Lohan, Chris Hobbs; Cian Forde, Mark Cummins, Fergal Molloy. Subs: Brendan Coffey for Molloy (42 min); Conor Nolan for Hobbs (59 mins); Andrew Higgins for Gillick (60+2 mins).
Mike Hogan; Derek McNamara, Ambrose Finnerty, Darragh Walsh; Barry Molloy, Colm Maguire, Ciaran O’Toole; Niall Devane, Tristan McGarr; Declan Higgins, John Coulston, Ray Lynam; Paul Hogan, Tomas Ryan, Mark Lynam. Subs: David Collins for Ryan (39 mins); Padraig O’Malley for Coulston (40 mins); Tadgh McCarthy for Ray Lynam (50 mins); Dermot Coulston for McGarr (56 mins).