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Better balanced St Mullins get the job done against MLR

Stephen Bambrick
July 15, 2023

A week shy of a year ago the 1-15 registered by Mount Leinster Rangers was enough to take their arch-rivals St Mullins' scalp if you can call it that in the league format in the Carlow SHC.

On Friday Night that tally fell short. A good bit short.

With a pair of outrageous saves from point-blank range by Dean Grennan keeping the game alive in the 40th and 41st minutes, the current county champions carried their good form with them for a six-point victory.

The card count of 5-0 may say St Mullins were more up for it, shadow boxing between serial sparring partners I hear you ask? Round 1 to the men in green so.

With Ted Joyce a notable absentee for MLR and a searing sun shining into the Dublin Rd end, the ball was only 3 seconds out of Patrick Murphy's hand when John Doyle got the first score of the game.

Richard Coady, wearing 9 but playing 12 and Ciaran Kavanagh shortly after both pointing in reply before Marty Kavanagh got the first of his dozen white flags in the 5th minute.

"I'd beat you with one hand tied behind my back", often said, but rarely carried out. Chris Nolan from 30m out with one hand went and done just that to point -unbelievable tekkers!

Dean Grennan saved smartly from Mouse in a lull period in the 7th minute before his first placed ball levelled it at 3 apiece.

Paddy Boland and Dean Tobin swapped for 4 all, the mighty impressive John Doyle (quickly taken free from Mouse, where did we see that before??) and Chris leaving it at 0-5 0-5 midway through the half.

The Doyle's, John and Eddie, earning assists for the next 2 St Mullins points, John fouled for an inevitable outcome from Mouse along with a beauty from Jason O'Neill from play from the sideline.

Ciaran Kavanagh, from a diagonal delivery, got his second on 20 mins which also contained the only green flag of the hour, courtesy of Chris Nolan from the edge of the D, which may have taken a slight touch off Paul Doyle but Kevin Kehoe was never getting near it regardless.

The returning Ger Coady and Jack Kavanagh from halfway, both pointed to numb the major just conceded for 0-9 to 1-6.

Fiachra Fitzpatrick's runs from deep were causing problems, his 2nd of 3 first-half assists gave the evergreen Richard Coady his 2nd point with John Doyle replying immediately, level again on 0-10 to 1-7.

Mouse and Chris cancelling each other's frees for 0-11 to 1-8 and 0-12 to 1-9 would come courtesy of Donagh Murphy and Conor Kehoe on the stroke of halftime.

Mouse concluded proceedings with a free for 0-13 to 1-9, a half which saw John Doran and Tim Brennan replaced by blood subs, Doran returning wearing no 32, Brennan's game over replaced by Tony Lawlor.

A sight for sore eyes was the introduction of Michael Doyle back from injury at the break, bringing experience to a new look full-back line.

Proceedings were level for the 10th, 11th, and final time through a pair of Chris Nolan points, both off the ground, the latter a delicious sideline cut from 30m out on the stand side, with Paidi O'Shea responding from distance.

St Mullins ever so gradually getting on top now, with Mouse hitting a trio of points between the 37th and 41st minutes for the game's biggest gap on the scoreboard so far.

But for the pair of outrageous saves from Grennan at this juncture, the game was done and dusted. Both of these shots came from the edge of the square from Mouse and Jason O'Neill - saves that were from the top drawer.

Someone in St Mullins must have listened to last week's podcast as it wasn't until the last quarter Kevin McDonald started having much of a say on the game, a point from play and a monster free from his own 65 interrupted in between by point number 9 from Mouse.

O'Neill from play and a Mouse 65' on 47 and 52 mins respectively made it a two-score game at 0-20 to 1-13, the holders now driving for the finish line.

A Chris Nolan free on 54 minutes stemmed the tide before the recently introduced Seamus Murphy showed that when he parks himself under a dropping ball that other than maybe his namesake the legendary Big Des from Naomh Eoin, there's not too many if any better.

The 55th minute notes saying 0-2 for the no. 17, a pair of Mouse frees bookending a likewise Chris Nolan effort, leaving it 0-24 to 1-15 in the intervening minutes and the overall better-balanced St Mullins keeping their unbeaten record.

Mount Leinster Rangers on the other hand will take the return of Michael Doyle and Jon Nolan as positives.

A unanimous points decision to the green corner!

St Mullins Scorers

M Kavanagh 0-12 ( 0-8f , 0-1(65), )

J Doyle 0-3

J O Neill 0-2

S Murphy 0-2

P Boland 0-1

J Kavanagh 0-1 

C Kehoe 0-1

P O Shea 0-1

G Coady 0-1

Subs Oisin Boland ( blood sub) Michael Walsh , Seamus Murphy

MLR Scorers

C Nolan 1-7 ( 0-4 f , 0-1sl )

C Kavanagh 0-2

R Coady 0-2

K McDonald 0-2 ( 0-1f)

D Robin 0-1

D Murphy 0-1

Subs Tony Lawlor, Michael Doyle, Jon Nolan, Tadhg Doran , Jack Ryan 

 Referee: Patrick Murphy