Player Profile

Aidan O'Connor

Junior A Hurling Championship first round victory   31/05/2017

Buttevant 1-15 Kilshannig 0-17

Buttevant's hurlers made an impressive start to the North Cork Junior A Hurling Championship with a hard-fought victory over Kilshannig in Churchtown. There was a tremendous crowd, with supporters enjoying the sunshine on the bank aswell as taking up a decent chunk of the stand. For sixty minutes they were gripped by the tenacity and physicality of the match, with some bone-shuddering hits being dished out.

Buttevant began with the favour of a slight breeze, and burst into the contest with a frenzy. After a whirlwind eight minutes there had been six scores registered, Buttevant leading by 0-4 to 0-2. 

The full forward line, anchored by the teams longest-serving player in J.D Murphy, caused havoc for the Kilshannig defence, and surging runs down their throat from Kevin Lenahen and John O' Neill led to several fine points. 

Kilshannig weathered Buttevant's strong opening, and fought back with some scores of their own. After twenty minutes, Buttevant led by 0-7 to 0-4, but the wind disappeared from the lads' sails, and Kilshannig capitalised. Some silly fouls allowed them to get in front, and at the break, Kilshannig led by 0-10 to 0-8.

The second half began much the same as the first half ended, with Buttevant working and battling but Kilshannig's level of hurling allwoed them a bit of breathing space as they took some good scores. With forty minutes gone, they led us on a scoreline of 0-14 to 0-9. Our hard work was being spent; we were struggling to get the vital scores. 

Then suddenly there was a spark ignited. A free from Kevin O'Keefe found it's way to the back of the net, with Adrian Noonan and Darren Healy both claiming a touch. (They can fight it out amongst themselves). The sense of belief that shone from the players after this score was simply awesome. It's fair to say the goal was the turning point of the match. It awoke a renewed intensity in the Buttevant players and stunned Kilshannig. 0-14 to 1-9.

We seized the game by the scruff of the neck. Tadgh Healy was a force to be reckoned with the air and Kilshannig's only counter tactic was to pull him down as he fielded puck out after puck out. Kevin O'Keefe slotted free after free over the bar, punishing Kilshannig and tightening the gap on the scoreboard. Two minutes after the goal, we were level. 1-11 to 0-14.

We piled on the pressure  and brought a rabid intensity to the close of the match. The half-back line shut down every puck out, alternating between vicious batting and sumptuous fielding, (Tadghy Sull and Denny Connell making huge catches down the middle near the end). Denis O'Sullivan took a belt to the paw that cracked his knuckle and chipped the bone, yet still nearly came away with the sliotar and forced a hook on his marker. Kevin Crowley seemed to have been beaten by his man but flew in with a majestic hook that stopped a certain score. No timber was spared and neither were bodies as fellas threw themselves into challenges that had Kilshannig players questioning, "What won't these fellas do to stop us from scoring".

In the dying moments, we took a two point lead, with Adrian Noonan excelling up front, nailing one score and winning more ball than any forward is entitled to. With 58 minutes gone, we led 1-15 to 0-16.

Kilshannig cut it to a one-point deficit, and in injury time, they won a 65, which the ref designated as the last play, and they failed to convert it. There were jubilant scenes on the whistle, and it was evident just how much this victory meant to players, coaches and supporters. 

A fantastic result, plenty of heart and determination. But everyone is aware that it's just a first-round game. With a few weeks ahead to hone the hurling and raise the fitness levels, we fully intend to compete to the best of our ability the next day out.

Buttevant abú!

Team: Daithi Linehan, Kevin Crowley, John Buckley, Seamus Madigan, Jer O'Gorman, Tadgh O'Sullivan, Calum Cole, Tadgh Healy, William Fitzgibbon, Kevin Lenehan, Kevin O'Keefe, Denis O'Sullivan, J.D Murphy, Denis O'Connell,  John O'Neill. Subs used: Darren Healy, Adrian Noonan, Anthony O'Neill

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