A late scoring spree from Mountrath CS secured them a Leinster Juvenile ‘B’ hurling title last Tuesday after a pulsating game against Colaiste Mhuire Johnstown in O’Moore Park.
On a day perfect for hurling, both teams served up a hugely entertaining hour’s worth of hurling, with Mountrath deserving winners in the end. The final scoreline probably flattered Mountrath a little, as the game had been close for the most part only for the Laois side to rattle off 2-3 in the last five minutes to settle the contest.
They had opened the stronger too, with Stephen Dunphy pointing inside of a minute, only for Johnstown’s impressive full-forward Brian Kavanagh to level from a free. They were the only scores of the opening ten minutes, with the only other action of note being a fantastic save from Mountrath’s Adam Poole to deny Kavanagh a goal.
Aaron Dunphy, twin brother of Stephen, got the game’s next score from a free, before he then crashed a shot off the crossbar as Mountrath grew in confidence. Their good work was going unrewarded for the most part though as they hit a string of wides midway through the half, but Oisin Bennett soon rectified that. The Camross man scored 1-1 in two minutes to open up a 1-3 to 0-1 lead, but Johnstown hit the last two points of the half to leave the goal between the teams.
The second half started with Mountrath in the ascendency thanks to two points from Aaron Dunphy. Seamie McEvoy and Stephen Dunphy added further points to put seven between the teams, but Johnstown launched their comeback after that.
Slowly but surely they rattled off five points without reply to get within two, 0-8 to 1-7, with just five minutes remaining.
The momentum was with the Kilkenny side, but Mountrath showed their class in the closing minutes. Full-back Shane Cuddy won some crucial possession when Johnstown were on the attack, and from his good play they laid the foundations for the win.
Oisin Bennett tagged on a point before Aaron Dunphy struck for two goals in a minute to swing the game for Mountrath, as two more points in the closing minutes put the seal on a famous, and well-deserved, Leinster title.
SCORERS - Mountrath CS: Aaron Dunphy 2-4 (0-2 frees), Oisín Bennett 1-2, Stephen Dunphy 0-2, Seamie McEvoy, Joe Phelan 0-1 each; Colaiste Mhuire Johnstown: Brian Kavanagh 0-7 (0-4 frees, 0-2 65s), Liam Grant, Padraig Delaney 0-1 each
MOUNTRATH CS: Adam Poole (Naomh Eamann); Glen Tobin (Naomh Eamann), Shane Cuddy (Naomh Eamann), David Whelan (Na Fianna); Shaun Moore (Mountrath), Ben Quinlan (Borris-Kilcotton), Mark Dowling (Camross); Peter Dunne (Na Fianna), Dylan Lalor (Mountrath); Sean Baker (Na Fianna), Aaron Dunphy (Borris-Kilcotton), Seamie McEvoy (Na Fianna); Joe Phelan (Naomh Eamann), Stephen Dunphy (Borris-Kilcotton), Oisin Bennett (Camross). Subs: Niall Phelan (Naomh Eamann) for Dunne (38 mins), Jack Balfe (Borris-Kilcotton) for McEvoy (58 mins)
COLAISTE MHUIRE JOHNSTOWN: Mark Hughes; Paul Warren, Niall Grehan Carroll, Niall Brennan; Gavin McCarthy, Liam Grant, Philip Purcell; Aidan Ryan, Conor Grace; Cian Hayes, Fionn Cleary, Ciaran Dawson; Oisin Phelan, Brian Kavanagh, Padraig Delaney (The Harps). Subs: Josh Finnane (Rathdowney-Errill) for Dawson (13 mins), Conor Madden (Rathdowney-Errill) for Hayes (43 mins), JJ McLoughlin for Ryan (46 mins)
Referee: Pat Kehoe (Carlow)