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Battle-scarred Cats lose to Westmeath

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mike Fitzpatrick

It’s not often that one sees a player have a hurley stick broken over his face, only for that player to shrug it off and to on to score two great points, but then again, players of Mark Kennedy’s caliber are rather thin on the ground.

It was obvious that when the Kilkenny firebrand made an appearance as substitute, the Cats were going to be a different side altogether.

This senior hurling clash was played in almost unbearable mid afternoon humidity, and it soon became apparent that tempers would fray. Unfortunately, a number of unnecessary scuffles almost threatened to ruin a good day’s hurling.

When Declan Rooney opened the scoring early on, it looked as if we had the makings of a good game ahead of us. And indeed we did. After Rooney’s score for Westmeath came a Kilkenny side eager not to let their opponents take hold of the game. But take hold they did. Points from David Cuddy, John McDonald and Brian Daly all quickly followed, giving Westmeath a three point lead after Mickey Collins had replied for Kilkenny.

Westmeath always looked threatening, though they could not seem to put away the points. They spent much of the first half attacking but quite a few of their efforts went astray. McDonald produced a fine save from Kilkenny goalkeeper James Joyce, but even Joyce’s antics in goal could not prevent Kilkenny slipping further behind thanks to points from Westmeath’s Daly, Rooney and Cuddy.

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Kennedy’s arrival in the second half for Kilkenny certainly brought a spark to the Kilkenny team and, as well as his own two points, he had a hand in the over-the-bar efforts of Kevin Corbett and Richie Hogan.

Westmeath’s nippy forward line of Daly, McDonald, David Cuddy and Declan Rooney were a little too much for the Kilkenny defense, with each player seemingly prepared to have a shot from wherever he felt good about.

Mike Collins’ goal midway through the second half certainly helped Kilkenny’s cause but unfortunately it seemed to be too little too late. When Hogan scored another goal for Kilkenny, the damage had already been done.

Westmeath were way ahead thanks to fine goals from McDonald, and points from Brendan Kirby, Rooney, Cuddy and Daly. In the end, Kilkenny’s players walked off the pitch beaten by a strong Westmeath side, and Mark Kennedy presumably sought medical attention to the hurley-induced gashes on his face, if he didn’t stitch them himself that is.

Kilkenny: James Joyce, Dermot Herlihy, Ciaran Gaughan, Vinnie Norton, John Nolan, Peter Breen, John Dervan, Kevin Corbett, Jerome Edge, Luke Doyle, Richie Hogan, Mickey Collins, Brian Barcoe. Subs: Mike Collins Mark Kennedy.

Scorers: Hogan 1-3, Corbett 0-5, Mickey Collins 0-1, Mike Collins 1-0, Mark Kennedy 0-2.

Westmeath: Joe Fortune, Jimmy Miller, Skippy Nolan, Enda Lohan, Brian McCabe, Colm Reilly, Paul Cuddy, Jimmy Hughes, Brendan Kirby, Declan Rooney, David Cuddy, John McDonald, Brian Daly. Subs. Clarke, Hyland.

Scorers: D. Cuddy 0-8, McDonald 2-0, D. Rooney 0-5, B. Daly 0-5, B. Kirby 0-1.

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