Paddy Rigney got a serious looking leg injury for Kinnitty against Drumcullen.
Kinnitty picked up their first win of the 2021 Senior Hurling Championship with a six point win over Drumcullen in Birr on Sunday afternoon.
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They impressed from start to finish, and a Shane Kinsella goal just before the first water break laid the foundations for the win as they never looked back. Their victory did come at a price though, as full back Paddy Rigney was stretchered off with what looked like a serious leg injury while Shane Kinsella also received a straight red card when he swung his hurl back on a Drumcullen defender.
Despite being reduced to 14, they held off a brief Drumcullen rally in the fourth quarter, finishing strongly to claim the two points.
It was a dry day in Birr and conditions were ideal for a game of hurling. Drumcullen got off the mark immediately and Eoin Gath fired over his sides first of the day after just 26 seconds. Kinnitty were off the mark soon after from a Colm Coughlan free, his first of the day.
Padraic Guinan responded with a point of his own for Drumcullen and Coughlan hit two frees inside the opening 14 minutes to keep Kinnitty ticking over on the scoreboard.
An excellent John Murray point over his shoulder and another Guinan point made it a draw match as we headed for the first water break, but Kinnitty rattled the net just before Adam Kinahan’s whistle.
Colm Coughlan did well inside a crowd of bodies, and he handed it off to Shane Kinsella who had the goal at his mercy and Kinsella made no mistake in burying the ball to the back of the net to leave three in it at the first water break.
Kinnitty began to take control in the second quarter and Coughlan was accurate as ever on the frees, as Drumcullen’s ill-discipline began to show on the scoreboard. Coughlan fired over from all angles from placed balls in the second quarter. Three quick fire points just before the break, two from Aodhan Kealey and one from Tommy Leahy left it 1-12 to 0-7 at the half time break.
Two Kinnitty points just after half time from Brian Donnelly and a long range James Hardiman free stretched the Kinnitty lead even more and it did look like they might pull away.
However, to their credit, Drumcullen fought back and got three on the trot with Demott Gath, Conor Gath and Colm Gath reducing the Kinnitty lead to just six points.
Kinnitty were then dealt two hammer blows in the space of one minute. As Colm Gath raced down at goal, Paddy Rigney did well to hook Gath, however, he fell awkwardly, and was stretchered off in what looked like a serious leg injury.
Soon after, Shane Kinsella received his marching orders with a straight red card after he swung back his hurl and connected with a Drumcullen player.
Despite this, Kinnitty still managed two points just before the water break. James Hardiman set off on a run and scored a wonderful point off his hurl from distance and Coughlan also added a free to his tally to leave nine points in at the second water break.
Drumcullen rallied in the final quarter and they narrowed the gap to just four points at one stage. Padraig Guinan pointed after the second water break and Drumcullen were handed a lifeline when Colm Gath buried a ‘21’ yard free to the back of the net past a crowd of bodies on the Kinnitty goal line. Two further frees from Conor Gath gave them hope, but unfortunately it was the closest they got.
Kinnitty powered on and finished strongly, another long range Hardiman free as well as an impressive point from substitute Aaron Browne got them over the line as they held on for a six-point win.
Drumcullen: Conor Gath 0-6 (0-6F), Colm Gath 1-1 (1-0F), Padraic Guinan 0-3, Dermott Gath 0-2, Eoin Gath and John Murray 0-1 each.
Kinnitty: Colm Coughlan 0-10 (0-7F), Shane Kinsella 1-1, James Hardiman 0-3 (0-2F), Aodhan Kealey and Tommy Leahy 0-2 each, Brian Donnelly and Aaron Browne 0-1 each.
Drumcullen: Padraic Cashin; Sean Hynes, Donal Guinan, Barry O’Meara; John Cashin, Raymond Gath, Danny Maher; Kevin Fleury, Ciaran Guinan; Eoin Gath, Dermot Gath, Padraig Guinan; John Murray, Colm Gath, Conor Gath. Subs: Mark Kennedy Jnr for John Murray (H/T), Sean Kinsella for Kevin Fleury (50), Stephen Hanrahan for Sean Hynes (47) Ciaran Carroll for Aodhan Kealey (51), Aaron Browne for Eoghan Callaghan (53).
Kinnitty: James Dempsey; Conor Hardiman, Paddy Rigney, Willie Molloy; James Hardiman, Paddy Delaney, Brian Coughlan; Tommy Leahy, Christopher Leonard; Jason Armstrong, Brian Donnelly, Shane Kinsella; Aodhan Kealey, Eoghan Callaghan, Colm Coughlan. Subs: Danny Flanagan for Christopher Leonard (38), Keith Bergin for Paddy Rigney, inj (42) Shane Ryan for Colm Coughlan (56) Aaron Browne for Brian Donnelly (59).
Referee: Adam Kinahan (Clodiagh Gaels).
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