St Mullins 3-26
Bagenalstown Gaels 0-8
Round 4, game 3 of the 2023 JJ Kavanagh and Sons Carlow SHC triple header in a rain sodden Netwatch Cullen Park was a repeat of last year's county final , the outcome the same, unlike last year with Jason O Neill's brace of goals coming in the first period to put one hand on the Willie O 'Connor Cup this evening their green flags in the 32nd and 35th minutes only copper fastening an already done deal.
0-14 to 0-2 the interval scoreline built on relentlessly by a team playing at a level where it's going to take something special to stop them retaining their crown at this rate against a strangely out of sorts Bagenalstown Gaels whose victory over Naomh Eoin last week more or less guaranteed a semi final berth.
Their game next week with fellow parishioners Ballinkillen to decide berths 3 and 4 with St Mullins and MLR 1 and 2 respectively no matter what happens with points and results we think!
Bagenalstown Gaels without JP Treacy and Cian Doyle but lining out as selected per programme and St Mullins without Ger Coady and John Doran ( introduced later on) but welcoming James Doyle back it was Marty Kavanagh on 2 mins from a free got the scoreboard motoring .
The Gaels lining up with the unusual sight of marquee forward Craig Doyle patrolling in front of his own D alongside Sean Wall , Styler getting on a lot of ball but this leaving Paudie Kehoe and Michael Walsh free likewise at the Dublin Rd end, Paddy McDonnell a lone striker as such in the full forward line for the Town equalising on 3 mins but that was as good as it got until the same player doubled that score a full 30 mins later on the stroke of halftime, both well taken scores .
With Alfie and Niall Bolger picking up Mouse and Paddy Boland respectively frees in minutes 7 and 8 preceded a Jason O Neill one following a ruck , points on 17 and 19 minutes both assists to the in form John Doyle, one for a Mouse free the other for a Jack Kavanagh from halfway, Jack on the world of ball throughout , Mouse then got an unusual hat trick of the 65s variety on 21, 23 and 25 minutes , the middle one after a fine Andrew Townsend save
At this point with the clouds finally emptied Bagenalstown Gaels had pushed Craig Doyle forward but it made little if any difference in the remainder of the half, Mouse (2), James and Eddie Doyle and Philip Connors all pointing before Paddy McDonnell concluded the scoring, Michael Walsh adamant to say the least Brian Deering should have flagged for a sideline prior to this , nonetheless 0-14 to 0-2 at halftime made for uncomfortable reading with another half to come.
In a bid to get some hold on proceedings changes came as the teams emerged for the 2nd half , Robbie Kane , Alan Whelan and Jamie Clarke all in the front six for Bagenalstown Gaels , Conor Kehoe had other ideas though , his goal 2 minutes in following good work from Eddie Doyle saw him finish past an advancing Townsend, a trademark goal from Kehoe ensuring no bounce from the bench.
Paddy Boland pointed soon after before Marty Kavanagh found space on the press box sideline , his pin point drilled crossfield delivery on the outskirts of the square found Philip Connors, touch perfect, outcome, goal no 2 for the Saints, the late Pakie Connors surely looking down fondly on the finish of his grandson.
Darragh Nolan on a lot of ball in the middle third throughout pointed a free from distance on 37 minutes before a flashpoint on the St Mullins 45 shortly after saw Danny Doyle receive a red card , Mouse nailing the resultant free ,Oisin Boland , O Neill and Connors all adding scores with the numerical advantage becoming all too apparent before Nolan replied with another impressive long range free in the 47 minute.
Jamie Clarke from a Styler pass in his first appearance in this years championship offered hope going forward with his infectious enthusiasm and work rate providing a point from play, a pair from Mouse from play and a James Doyle, turnovers from under the stand for the latter 2. The fact it was minute 55 before Styler got his name on the score sheet said it all about the game
It being All Ireland Hurling final weekend the next score had a familiar look to it, Henry Shefflin solo and strike off the hurl, DJ Carey bats to the net for a goal in 2002, Conor Kehoe solo and shot for goal going wide, in rushing Seamus Murphy bats to the net for a goal in 2023, consultation with umpires from Paud O'Dwyer regarding a possible square ball but the goal stands , Murphy rewarded for his deft wrist work, what a finish.
The St Mullins play at this stage pulling their opponents apart, the subsequent scores saw Jack McCullagh and a Styler free doubled by Paddy Boland, James Doyle and a pair from Mouse , a late Robbie Kane effort for goal and a dropped in 65 saw the game peter out, St Mullins unbeaten and guaranteed top spot with a game to spare.
Bagenalstown Gaels on the other hand though with a semi final spot secured will have nightmares about the manner and margin of defeat, neighbours Ballinkillen should focus the mind during the week before their meeting, winners await MLR, St Mullins await the losers - devil and the deep blue sea!
Marty Kavanagh 0-14( 0-7f , 0-3 (65f) )
P Connors 1-2
C Kehoe 1-0
S Murphy 1-0
P Boland 0-2
J O Neill 0-2
James Doyle 0-2
John Doyle 0-1
Eddie Doyle 0-1
Jack Kavanagh 0-1
Oisin Boland 0-1
Subs Oisin Boland, Seamus Murphy , John Doran
Paddy McDonnell 0-2
C Doyle 0-2f
D Nolan 0-2f
J Clarke 0-1
J McCullagh 0-1
Subs Robbie Kane, Alan Whelan, Jamie Clarke , James Doyle
Ref Paud O Dwyer ( Palatine)