JUNIOR A HURLING LEAGUE: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 1-10 Ballybrown 1-12. An excellent battling performance by our junior hurlers unfortunately came up just short against Ballybrown in their opening game of the season in the Junior A Hurling League. This was the first time in a number of years that we had competed in this competition, against a side who reached the City Championship final in 2018 and we acquitted ourselves very well and, on another day, may have sneaked a victory.

Playing up the incline and facing into a dangerously low sun in the first half, we knew it was always going to be about keeping in touch as touch as possible and driving on in the second half. The home side certainly found the scores easier to come by in the opening stages as they rattled off the first three points of the afternoon, including one from a placed ball. When Jack Mullane did well to win the ball inside in our full-forward line, he was fouled, and Bob McKeogh struck the resulting free straight over the bar for our first score of the day. However, Ballybrown would exert their dominance over the next few minutes and opened up a not-insignificant lead. At this point, we were finding it hard to get out of our half and when Ballybrown struck for a goal, they led by nine points.

In the grand scheme of things, this was an important period of the game but it was critical that we reacted before half-time and we did, outscoring them for the remainder of the half. A strong run by Naoise McGarrigle down the left-hand side saw him pop the ball inside for Mikey Hayes, who was able to fire over the crossbar for our first point from play. Shortly after, some excellent play by Jai Chaudri saw him turn over the Ballybrown back and then won a free, which again was converted by Bob McKeogh. We were starting to grow into the game, the likes of Jai and Mikey Hayes were getting through a lot of work in attack; the evergreen Adrian Garvey and Bob McKeogh were breaking onto loose ball in the middle third while our backs were beginning to get on top of their men, Evan Considine and James Pomeroy in particular, winning a number of 50-50 battles.

The work rate of the side also increased and you could see the side beginning to grow in confidence; Ballybrown hit a point but we soon won another free on the left wing as three of our forwards combined to bottle up the Ballybrown back and win a free which was again converted by Bob. At this point, any time Ballybrown scored, we were quick to reply and after they hit another point, we scored arguably the point of the half. Chris McMahon retrieved the ball on the left touchline, he cleverly picked out Adrian Garvey in space in the middle with a snappy pass; Adrian (making his return to the playing field for 2019 on his birthday) used all his experience to pop the ball to team captain Kieran O’Brien who fired over the bar. While we were starting to grow into the game, it was also easy to tell it was early in the season as we hit some wides and fumbled opportunities that would no doubt have been scored on another day. Ballybrown finished the scoring for the half-time to lead at the break: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 0-5 Ballybrown 1-10.

An 8-point lead was by no means insurmountable and we knew had the advantage of all the conditions in the second half. However, although the scores were never exactly free-flowing, the second-half performance really was a brave, battling performance; one which the players can take great heart from as they move forward in this competition! Ballybrown hit the first two scores of the half in the opening stages to open up a 10-point lead and while this was a blow, from that point on, we took control and they failed to score for the remaining 25 minutes of the game, a great achievement and a credit to the work rate of our team all over

the pitch. We introduced three players at the half-time break and made five subs in all; and the impact of our subs bench cannot be underestimated, they hit 1-3 as well as getting on a lot of ball in defence and attack. It is not often that we’ve been able to bring subs of that quality on at junior level, to make such an impact, which again is a testament to the depth of players currently available.

We began to dominate possession around the middle third, but it did take a while for us to get on the scoresheet. Mikey Hayes, who was now playing around the middle of the field, was very prominent, getting on a huge amount of ball and he was the one to open our second-half account with a booming effort from out the field, his second point from play. A good run from Gerard McKeogh saw him weave his way past a couple of Ballybrown backs before popping the ball out to Stephen McKeogh, who fired over the bar. Momentum was starting to really go in our direction and some brilliant play saw Mikey Hayes, Naoise McGarrigle and Evan McCarthy link up to feed another substitute, Brendan Meskell, who steadied and fired over the bar.

At this point, our full-back line of Brian Howard, Evan Considine and James Pomeroy were first to every single ball that was going inside, while Mikey Dillon at centre-back was getting on a lot of possession while there was huge work rate from everyone in the middle third and in attack. Brendan O’Shea had come in and was also starting to get on a lot of ball, while the work rate from the likes of Mikey Hayes and Jai Chaudri remained huge. Evan McCarthy made a couple of brilliant clean catches which gave us a foothold deep in the Ballybrown half and it was from one of these that we would work our next score, Jai Chaudri, stepping inside and firing over the bar.

Brendan Meskell was unlucky to see a goal chance go wide, but he was a constant threat inside as were the likes of Stephen and Gerard McKeogh, as well as Kieran O’Brien and Naoise McGarrigle. Although Brendan had been unlucky to see that chance go wide, he soon followed up with an excellent point on the turn, his second since his second-half introduction. This brought us within touching distance but although we kept Ballybrown scoreless for the vast majority of the second half, they did threaten at times and there were some big interventions on our side! James Mason produced a fantastic reflex save to prevent a Ballybrown goal, getting down low to his bottom left and also must take huge credit for his distribution, which gave us a huge platform in the second half.

Our fightback was well and truly on, the players could sniff a victory but when a ball broke in behind our cover, it looked to all the world as if Ballybrown would have an easy goal opportunity. However, James Pomeroy never gave up, and showed incredible recovery pace and determination to get across to the make the covering tackle. It really was an unbelievable bit of defending from James which kept us in the hunt at a crucial stage! Goal opportunities had been hard to come by all afternoon, and when we finally raised a green flag, it was a thoroughly spectacular effort. A ball broke loose a long way out from goal, but Stephen McKeogh spied his chance and whipped on it first-time, at pace. The ball had flown past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net before he even had a chance to see it! We had a chance to get another score, but Ballybrown were able to hold firm and just about hang on for victory.

The players were no doubt disappointed that they didn’t get the win but it was a very encouraging performance and if it is repeated, there is no reason why they couldn’t win the two remaining round robin games and qualify for a league semi-final. There was a certain

rustiness there, which is natural in the first game of the season, but the attitude and work rate of all involved was hugely impressive. Credit to Danny O’Sullivan and all his management team for the performance and keep an eye on social media for details of the remaining fixtures against Mungret and Claughaun.

Team: James Mason; Eoin O’Brien, Evan Considine, James Pomeroy; Darragh O’Brien, Mikey Dillon, Jai Chaudri (0-1); Adrian Garvey, Robert McKeogh (0-3, frees); Kieran O’Brien (0-1), Chris McMahon, Naoise McGarrigle; Evan McCarthy, Mikey Hayes (0-2), Jack Mullane

Subs: Brian Howard for Eoin O’Brien; Stephen McKeogh (1-1) for Robert McKeogh; Gerard McKeogh for Jack Mullane; Brendan O’Shea for Adrian Garvey; Brendan Meskell (0-2) for Chris McMahon

MINOR HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 4-11 Monaleen 1-10. A fine performance from our minor hurlers saw them take a big win over Monaleen in their first match of the season. This was an assured, composed performance and it was great to start the season by getting two points on board while playing some fine hurling. Well done to Keith Guinane, all his management team and all the players for getting the win!

CELTIC CHALLENGE: Congratulations to Aaron O’Donovan and Mícheál Cuddihy who represented the club at county level, as the Limerick Sarsfields side took on Kerry. Although they were defeated, Aaron scored 1-6 of Limerick Sarsfields’ 1-8 and received the man of the match award!

LIMERICK SENIOR FOOTBALLERS: Best of luck to Peter Nash, Tony McCarthy, John Chawke and all the Limerick senior footballers as they begin their Championship campaign this Saturday night against Tipperary!

ALL-COUNTY HURLING LEAGUE: Our premier intermediate hurlers return to action this week as All-County Hurling League action begins. 2018 saw us win Division 4 with a 100% record which gives us the opportunity to compete at a higher level in 2019 and should be great experience for our younger players. We face Croom in Pallaskenry on Wednesday evening at 7.15pm, and are set to play Cappamore in Pallaskenry on Saturday.

U-8 HURLING: Our U-8s had their first blitz of the season at the weekend in LIT, and there was some great hurling played! It’s always see strong numbers at the younger age levels and hopefully this will continue throughout the year!

CLUB LOTTO: The lotto numbers on 29 April 2019 in the Seven Sisters were 2, 7, 12 and 18. There was no winner of the overall draw, while the winners of the €25 lucky dips were Maura Heaney, Ivan Pituck, Sinead Burke and Paul Browne.

The jackpot continues to rise, now reaching €16,400 for next week’s draw in the Corner House. Please continue to support the club lotto, which is the most vital source of funds to fund all our teams from U-6 up to adult grade! An annual subscription is just €100 (€50 for 6 months, €25 per quarter or €8.50 per month) and a subscription form can be requested from any lotto seller or committee member.

REGISTRATION: The deadline for registration has now passed; anybody who has not registered or paid, please do so as soon as possible as unregistered players are ineligible to take the field or to train with the club.

CLUB LIMERICK DRAW: Sadly, there was no club winner in the first Club Limerick draw of the year. However, there is no better way to support both and show our players you’re right behind them all the way. Kildimo Pallaskenry GAA is very fortunate to have a number of players involved with county teams in both hurling and football across a number of grades. Join the CLUB Limerick Draw online or with any club committee member. Support your club and county teams

PHOTOGRAPH : Aaron O’Donovan receiving his Man of The match Award in the Celtic League game Kerry v Limerick Sarsields, from Donnacha O’Callaghan (Referee)

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