The scoreline says it all about this SHC first round clash at Trim on Sunday as Kildalkey easily overcame Longwood in game that each side have a player sent off.
Longwood’s first competitive game of hurling in 2021 ended in disappointment with Kildalkey running out convincing winners in the opening round of the Senior Hurling Championship.
The game took place on Trim’s pristine hurling sod in front of a relatively small crowd.
Understandably, Longwood were a little rusty on the opening exchanges but settled well and displayed their customary competitive spirit throughout the opening half. The line-up contained a mix of youth and experience with senior hurling championship debuts for the Hogan brothers, Harry and Billy. Having both starred for Meath between the posts earlier this summer, the brothers took to the field in the full forward and half back lines respectively.
Kildalkey were first to trouble the scorekeeper, chalking up the opening three scores from pointed frees. Longwood opened their account after 9 minutes with a fine point from Mickey Burke. Kildalkey pushed on with a couple of more points before an Anthony Healy free left the scores at 0-5 to 0-2 at the first water break.
Another Kildalkey point preceded the game’s main talking points. Seán Coloe’s bravery and strength ensured Longwood won a hard fought side-line ball in front of their own dug-out. From the ensuing side-line, Coloe and his immediate opponent pulled and, after consulting with his linesman, the referee decreed that the
Longwood man’s action merited a red card.
The dust had barely settled when Anthony Healy, trying to make progress towards the Kildalkey goal, was floored by a high tackle. Once again, it was undoubtedly a foul deserving of a card; once again, the referee deemed that red was the appropriate colour. Kildalkey’s Conor Kearney, who had scored a number of early points, was given his marching orders.
In hindsight, two yellow cards may have been sufficient, it was the opening round of the championship and there is always going to be an element of teams “getting to know each other”. But the referee has a job to do, and his decision is final. In fairness to both players, they accepted his decision.
As half-time approached, Kildalkey had stretched their lead out to six points. It was now that Longwood enjoyed their best period of the game, scoring three unanswered points, a brace of frees from Anthony Healy followed by an excellent point from play from Billy Hogan. This run of scores reduced the deficit to just three points at the interval with the men in blue leading by 0-9 to 0-6. While this may have flattered Longwood a little, it could also be viewed as a just reward for their energy and industry throughout the opening 30 minutes.
Alas, the second half was to be an altogether different story. Kildalkey resumed with three points followed by a goal and there was simply no way back for Longwood. As we have come to expect, Longwood never gave up and battled manfully to the end but they could not match the scoring exploits of their opponent. Kildalkey ran out decisive and deserving winners.
The lack of competitive match practice undoubtedly counted against Longwood. But their work rate and effort was evident throughout. Notable mentions for Niall Mulvey, Gavin Griffin, Ross Kerrigan, Billy Hogan and Joey Stenson who worked tirelessly throughout.
Longwood: Mark Kennedy, Joey Stenson, Niall Mulvey, Johnny Furey, Billy Hogan (0-1), Mickey Burke (0-1), Ross Kerrigan, Sean Coloe, Ryan Moore, Karl Ennis, Damien Healy, Anthony Healy (0-7), Aaron Ennis, Harry Hogan, Gavin Griffin. Subs Tomas Coloe for Karl Ennis, Bob Maguire for Aaron Ennis, Josh O’Brien for Harry Hogan.