Provincial Junior Football Championship Final
By Larry Cooney
Kilkenny secured their second Provincial Junior Football Championship title of Britain after a comprehensive fifteen point victory over Warwickshire at Pairc na hEireann last Saturday.
It was a very disappointing outcome for the hosts who only a matter of a few weeks ago came close to ending the Noresiders’ unbeaten record in this year’s competition.
But it was a different story on this occasion with Kilkenny worthy winners and who now progress to an All-Ireland semi-final date with fellow Leinster men Meath in a few weeks.
And just as they did a few weeks ago they laid the foundation for their victory with a dominant opening quarter. With Michael Malone and Tom Aylward completely on top in midfield the Kilkenny attack soon put the hosts’ defence under pressure.
In fact it took seventeen minutes before Warwickshire opened their account with a Jack Keogh point.
But by then Kilkenny’s marquee marksman and manof- the-match Ian Duggan had already made quite an impact on the game by scoring 1-3 including two from frees.
Two points from Tom Aylward had opened up a 1-5 to 0- 1 lead after twenty minutes before his fellow midfielder Michael Malone struck for a second green flag for the visitors and the encounter was already looking like a lost cause for a struggling Warwickshire team who added just another Ryan Harrington point before half-time.
KILKENNY: Ian Duggan 1- 7(0-5)f, Michael Malone and David Kelly 1-0 each, Bill Sheehan 0-3, Tom Aylward 0- 2, Philip Roche, James Culleton and Cian O’Donoghue 0-1 each.
WARWICKSHIRE: Conal Dowling 1-0, Joe Owens 0-2, Ryan Harrington, Jack Keogh, Paddy Kilkenny and James Loney 0-1 each.
KILKENNY: JJ Sullivan; James Mackey, Richard O’Hara, Joe Fennelly; Pat Hartley, Patrick McConigley, Ger Malone; Michael Malone, Tom Aylward; Philip Roche, James Culleton, Tom Phelan; Bill Sheehan, Ian Duggan, David Kelly. SUBS: Cian O’Donoghue for Tom Phelan 57.
WARWICKSHIRE: Macauley Felgate; Barry Sharkey, Liam Gilbride, Damien Harte; Michael Mannion, Ryan Harrington, Paddy Kilkenny; Niall Gilbride, Andy Willis; Cianan Folan, Jack Keogh, Kevin Rogers; Conal Dowling, Joe Owens, Daniel Kennedy. SUBS: Mark McMahon for Michael Mannion(inj.) 28. Mark O’Hare for Cianan Folan (h/t), James Loney for Daniel Kennedy (h/t), Caolan McAleer for Joe Owens 60, John Dowling for Conal Dowling 62.