Kilkenny progressed to the second round of the Provincial Towns' Cup with this win over Athy away last Sunday. A real cup tie played on a heavy and greasy surface with the result in doubt right to the final whistle.
A visit to Athy may not have been as intimidating as it was some years ago but it is still a demanding fixture. Kilkenny deserved their victory but had Athy taken their chances with three kickable penalties the result could have gone either way. Still Kilkenny will be content with the result and now progress to round two where they will meet Portarligton away.
The game started with Kilkenny on the attack and from the drop off they were awarded a penalty which Barry Daly dually converted. Kilkenny kept up the pressure and from a rolling mall they drove over the Athy line and when the referee awarded a try it was Ger Costelloe who rose from the muddy surface with the ball in hand.
A move by Kilkenny in the thirteenth minute which was transferred along the back line was stopped just short of the Athy line. Then seventeen minutes into the half Barry Daly pushed Kilkenny further ahead with a penalty to leave the score eleven points to nil. Before the end of the half Athy were awarded a penalty in front of the posts but to the dismay of there supporters the kick was wide.
Five minutes into the second half Athy did make amends with a penalty and midway through the half they reduced the deficit once more to make it eleven points to six. Now we had a real game on hand. And there was still nineteen minutes to go.
It was a real cup battle with both sides giving full commitment on a heavy and treacherous surface. Mistakes were made on both sides as play moved from half to half. The home side had three penalties, one in front of the post but to the dismay of there supporters all were off target.
Kilkenny were glad to hear the final whistle and trouped off the pitch victorious and happy to be in the next round. It was a good team effort with the forwards doing all the hard work while the backs put in a busy afternoon thwarting the opposition moves.
Next Sunday it is back to the final game in the Leinster league away to Enniscorthy. It is a game Kilkenny will have to win if they are to have any chance of retaining division 1 status next season. A major doubt for next Sunday will be Barry Daly who limped off late in the first half with a thigh injury. Prop Mick Hennigan also had to be replaced with an ankle injury.
Kilkenny: Keith Brennan Paul O’ Flynn Vinny O’ Shea Simon Manuel Alan O’ Donovan Pat O’ Driscoll Barry Daly Mick Hennigan Brian Nolan Eddie Brennan Brendan Macintyre Gerry Clarke Connor Bass Ger Costelloe Ray Pembroke Johnny Corr Shane Rafferty Paddy McCorry John Madden