Séamus O Riain Cup (Round 1):
CARRICK DAVINS 1-18
KNOCKAVILLA/DONASKEIGH KICKHAMS 1-15
Carrick Davins made the short trip home from Kilsheelan in a very satisified mood on Friday evening last after a fully-deserved three points victory over Knockavilla/Donaskeigh Kickhams in Round 1 of the Séamus O Riain Cup. The win obviously sees them progress in the competition but also, and more importantly, secures the senior hurling status of a tremendously proud club for another year.
Kickhams will be hugely disappointed on the other hand and for the second week in a row hit way too many wides. In the first half with the breeze at their backs the West Tipp side shot no less than a dozen wides to just a single miss for the Davins. In the end this profligacy with the sliothar would cost them dearly.
In a lively and free-flowing contest from start to finish Kickhams were first on the scoreboard when Johnny Ryan pointed. Immediately Jason Butler equalised with a free and almost from the puck-out Stephen Moroney had the Carrick boys in front with a fine point from play. Damian McGrath had it all tied up again with a Kickhams point; 0-2 apiece after just four minutes.
Davins’ Jason Butler who was to contribute nine points in total over the hour converted his second free in the eighth minute but the lead was shortlived with Kickhams hitting three unanswered points in a five minute spell with two Niall O’Brien points and a free from Johnny Ryan.
Kickhams were now leading by two (0-5 to 0-3) but with the vast possession they were enjoying it was a poor return. The wides were clocking up and at times they were clearly over elaborating. Only once was goalkeeper Michael Hackett called on to save and he responded well when tested. Davins on the other hand were very economical with their possession, hitting just a single first half wide.
Jason Butler reduced the deficit with a free after 15 minutes. One of the best scores of the game was to follow Gerard Robinson won possession, shipped a shoulder or two going through before passing to Shane Butler to level. Jason Butler added a point from play and once more the pendulum swung narrowly towards the South Division side.
In defence the full-back line of Keith Condon, Stephen Cronin and Bill Walsh and particularly William O’Dwyer at half-back were winning and clearing a lot of possession for the Davins as Kickhams came in waves but were getting little change. Johnny Ryan levelled matters once more in the 19th minute with a good point from play and Shane Butler scored a fine point from the middle of the field to edge the Kickhams ahead once more. It was to be their last point of the first half and they were never to head the Davins for the rest of the game.
A defining moment came in the 21st minute when Jason Butler’s long range free fell into an assembled goalmouth and Stephen Moroney reacted superbly to gather and blast home. Advantage Davins 1-6 to 0-7.
Jason Butler in a perfect first half free-taking exhibition pointed a 65 in the 24th minute and right on the stroke of half-time Noel Butler hit a great point from a long way out on the right. The Davins, well satisfied with their first half performance, went in four points to the good having played against the breeze.
At half-time Kickhams introduced Eoin Carew for Derek Breen and moved Paul Breen to centre-forward. The switch had an initial impact at least and by the 43rd minute the Kickhams were back level outscoring Davins by five points to one. Johnny Ryan converted two frees in the 36th and 37th minutes, one after corner-forward Paudie Slattery was hauled down while heading for goal. Paul Breen in his new role at centre-forward reduced the lead to a minimum 1-8 to 0-10 after 39 minutes and the game was back in the melting pot. Gerard Robinson steadied Davins’ nerves on 41 minutes with their first score of the second half but for Kickhams Davy Butler and a Johnny Ryan free had it all square 1-9 to 0-12 after 52 minutes and the momentum, it appeared, was with the Westerners.
Davins responded magnificently with three points in two minutes - from midfielder Patrick Harris, a Jason Butler free and Gerard Robinson.
Paul Breen in the 46th minute narrowed the margin back to two but Davins were hurling well and in a four-minute purple patch were to hit five unanswered points from Patrick Harris, Stephen Moroney, Jason Butler (2, one free) and Noel Butler. Kickhams were visibly tiring, a second championship game in five days taking its toll (they had lost 1-20 to 0-16 the previous Sunday v Kilruane MacDonaghs).
Seven points up with six minutes to go seemed like it was all over. Not quite. Johnny Ryan lobbed a short free into the Davins goalmouth area and substitute Darragh Browne whipped home. A Johnny Ryan free and a Brian Horgan point followed quickly and now it was down to two and still four minutes to play. But Davins, aided in defence by a covering Gerard Robinson, weathered the storm and Jason Butler’s 59th minute free shoved it back out to the final three points tally.
Just on the stroke of full-time Michael Heelan was sent to the line for a second yellow. But in what was a clean, free-flowing and enjoyable game, full marks to referee Noel Cosgrave for his control and consistency of calls.
Carrick Davins: Michael Hackett, Keith Condon, Stephen Cronin, Bill Walsh, Eoghan Power, William O’Dwyer, Michael Ryan, Patrick Harris (0-2), Michael Coady, Shane Butler (0-1), Gerard Robinson (0-2), Noel Butler (0-2), Stephen Moroney (1-2), Michael Whelan, Jason Butler (0-9, 0-6 frees, 0-1 65)
Knockavilla/Donaskeigh Kickhams: Paddy Ryan, Padraig Hayes, Nigel Hayes, Michael Heelan, Michael Shanahan, Paul Breen (0-2), Brian Horgan (0-1), Derek Breen, Davy Butler (0-1), Damian McGrath (0-2), Gerry Horgan, Johnny Ryan (0-7, 0-5 frees), Niall O’Brien, Pa O’Brien, Paudie Slattery.
Subs: Eoin Carew for Derek Breen (HT); Darragh Browne for Niall O’Brien (50 mins); Cathal Morrissey for Pa O’Brien (53 mins).
Referee: Noel Cosgrave (Marlfield).