Liam Mellows 1-19
With the long and controversial summer break over, hurling fans this weekend were left with plenty of choice as the Safety Direct Senior Hurling Championship roared back into life. On Saturday evening in Kenny Park, Athenry two sides met eager to put a summer of training to good use. The teams seemed fairly even on paper, but the game itself proved a total mismatch.
Aonghus Callanan opened the scoring for Mellows with a fine point from play before Kevin McKeigue replied for Kiltormer. John Hughes then floated over an effort from inside his own 65 metre line, before Kiltormer dead ball specialist Conor Ryan levelled the tie with a free. The game was fairly even at this point but several injury stoppages prevented any momentum building, and took from the entertainment. On the 16th minute the game took a decisive turn, Callanan got possession and fended his marker before finishing to the net. Points from Hughes, Jeffrey Lynskey and the hugely impressive Shane Minton pushed the city men further in front, with Kiltormer reliant on Ryan to keep them in contention with a brace of placed balls. Mellows went in at the interval ahead by a healthy six points, 1-7 to 0-4 but were expecting a serious fight on their hands in the second period. They never got it.
At the resumption Callanan and his opposite number Michael Greaney traded points before county man Callanan added to his tally with another score. Ryan again put a free over but Mellows then hit the proverbial purple patch and tallied on six points without reply to effectively end the contest. Callanan, Lynskey and Minton all found the range while a fine Brian Lee effort and a monster of a point from Niall McInerney ensured a good spread of scorers and further illustrated Mellows ‘now total dominance.
Points from subs Steve Cormican and Seamus Walsh offered some consolation for Kiltormer but couldn’t reduce the deficit as Aonghus Callanan at this stage was scoring at will and added two excellent efforts from open play, before being substituted, to rounds of applause. Centre forwards David Hayes and the sterling Jeffrey Lynskey traded points at the end before referee Mike Conway called a halt to proceedings.
In truth Kiltormer virtually gave up in the second half and will have to have a serious reflection over their lack of effort. Credit must go to Keith Kilkenny, however, who at times seemed to be playing Mellows on his own. Mellows won’t mind as they achieved their objective with ease and showed a lot of class and some flair in doing so, especially up front where forwards of the calibre of Callanan and Minton are sure to pose a threat to any defence left in the Championship.
Liam Mellows: Kenneth Walsh; Shane Hynes, Eoghan Ryan, Ross Bennis; Kenneth Murphy, John Lee, John Hughes (0-3,0-2f ); Mickey Grealish, Brian Howley; Conor Hynes, Jeffrey Lynskey (0-3 ), Niall McInerney (0-1 ); Shane Minton (0-5,0-4f ), Aonghus Callanan (1-6 ), Brian Lee (0-1 ). Subs: David Fahy for Howley, Martin Fahy for Minton, Bernard Fahy for Grealish, Sean O’ Brien for Callanan, Gary Walsh for Hughes.
Kiltormer: Emmet Goode; Shane Finnerty, Niall Horan, Ciaran Finnerty; Shane Tierney, Keith Kilkenny, Dermot Kelly; Derek Dervan, Justin Donnelly; Conor Ryan (0-4,all frees ), David Hayes (0-1 ), Jason Kilkenny; Patrick Cormican, Michael Greaney (0-1 ), Kevin McKeigue (0-1 ). Subs: Seamus Walsh (0-1 ) for Horan, Michael Lynch for Kelly, Cathal Glynn for Tierney, Enda Fenton for Greaney, Steven Cormican (0-1 ) for Jason Kilkenny.
Referee: Michael Conway.