Report by John Cuddihy
Graigue Ballycallan Minors stepped up to Roinn A this year with a young but talented group of players. Their first league match was against Piltown in Kilmanagh, at the start of April. A man of the match performance by Eamonn Egan and a good overall team performance led to a good win for the GBC lads, 2-17 to 1-9.
At the end of April GBC took on Ballyhale Shamrocks in what was to be a much tighter affair. With fifteen minutes left on the clock, a smashing individual goal by Sean Ryan sealed victory, 1-8 to 0-9.
Going into the exam break with four points from two matches was a terrific start and this young team were certainly up to competing in the highest grade.
In mid July, the lads travelled to Thomastown hoping to keep up their winning momentum in the league. A few key players were missing through injury and holidays, but the team on the night gave it everything. A few goals kept Thomastown ahead and they led by four points at the final whistle.
Next up on the 23rd of July were Dicksboro, a side that had seven players on the Kilkenny minor squad. It was one way traffic for most of the game and the final score was Dicksboro 4-16, GBC 1-5. There was no mistaking this Dicksboro team’s dominance, but there was a feeling in the GBC camp on the night that the championship would be a different type of contest.
On the 2nd of September the deferred league tie against Tullaroan finally threw in on a sunny evening in Tullaroan. A goal fest in the first quarter, with cracking goals from Jamie Lawlor, Ciaran Hogan and Sean Ryan set the stage and in the second half Ciaran Hogan bagged a second goal, before Joey Brennan raised the cheer of the season with his well placed rocket to the Tullaroan net. The final score was GBC 5-9, Tullaroan 0-8.
At the end of September it was time to face Dicksboro again, this time in the first round of the championship. Graigue were without their centre back Eamonn Egan through injury and though they matched their opponents for much of the game, Dicksboro’s older team showed more experience and got three well-worked goals to win 3-16 to 0-9.
Most of these players are under age again next year. How much can they achieve? Depends how much they want……good luck!