Senior new boys 'Kil' off Avondale by half-time
Kiltegan 3-21 Avondale 2-10
Kiltegan got their first win of the senior hurling championship under their belts with a comprehensive victory over Avondale on Sunday morning.
The reigning Intermediate champions are unlikely to challenge the top four teams in the hurling championship but this win has consolidated their position in the division and they aren't out of their depth.
They faced a severely depleted Avondale side shorn of county star Eamonn Kearns through injury and a number of other players for various reasons.
They got off to a great start, leading by 2-04 to a point early in the first half, and had the game sewn up by half time, 3-12 to 1-03. Wily old veteran Jeffrey Bermingham was pulling the strings from centre forward, conducting his orchestra of young and not so young players around him.
All six starting forwards had scored by half time, a combination of space, good passing and deadly accuracy running up the scores. Kiltegan really dominated around the middle sector to give their forwards a platform to express themselves.
Bermingham had matched Avondale's half time score by himself, while Padraig O'Toole and Aaron Byrne got the other goals and Liam Keogh helped himself to three points.
Avondale finished with 1-03 in the last ten minutes of the match, Ray Nolan, Eugene Dunne and Dean Gahan each raising a white flag while Eugene Heffernan got the goal. The Kiltegan defence fell asleep thinking the ball was going wide but Heffernan didn't give up and regained possession before unleashing a bullet into the top corner.
Bermingham's final point was pure brilliance. He had just shot weakly into the goalkeeper's hands but more than made up for it a moment later by jinking one way and then the other to evade his marker.
Having caught the ball twice already he showed great stick work to pop over his seventh and final point.
The second last point of the game came from Steven Coogan when he flicked the ball over the onrushing Tom Finn, the sliotar going just over the crossbar rather than under it. Everybody in Wicklow hurling circles will be delighted to see Coogan back having suffered horrific injuries in a car crash just before last year's Intermediate hurling final.
It will be a tough year for Avondale while Kiltegan all but guaranteed a quarter final place and depending on the draw they could take a scalp to earn a place in the semi-finals.
Scorers - Kiltegan: Jeffrey Bermingham 1-07; Aaron Byrne 1-02; Padraig O'Toole 1-01; Seanie Germaine, JJ Phelan, Liam Keogh 0-03 each; Rory Finn, Steven Coogan 0-01 each. Avondale: Ray Nolan 1-07; Eugene Heffernan 1-00; Eugene Dunne 0-02; Dean Gahan 0-01.
KiLtegan: Luke Byrne; Colm O'Connor, Bryan Kearney, James O'Brien; Ronan Byrne, Anthony Furlong, Dan Kearney; Rory Finn, Padraig Byrne; JJ Phelan, Jeffrey Bermingham, Padraig O'Toole; Seanie Germaine, Liam Keogh, Aaron Byrne. Subs: Fergal Farrell for Padraig O'Toole; Ciaran Doyle for Anthony Furlong; Steven Coogan for Padraig Byrne.
Avondale: Tom Finn; Seamus O'Shaugnessy, James Doyle, Anthony O'Toole; Dan Owens, Eugene Dunne, Conor Sheehan; Keith Byrne, Dean Gahan; Paul Gahan, Ray Nolan, Niall Heffernan; Eoin Heffernan, Eugene Heffernan, Eanna Owens. Subs: Steven Lee for Seamus O'Shaughnessy.
Referee: Ciaran O'Shea.