Beautiful solo-goal sends Dicksboro clear and into the Kilkenny hurling final 1 week ago

Beautiful solo-goal sends Dicksboro clear and into the Kilkenny hurling final

Dicksboro 2-16 O'Loughlin Gaels 0-14

The first goal was always going to be crucial in this tit-for-tat Kilkenny semi-final between the city rivals, and the athletic Aidan Nolan was the man who stepped up.

O'Loughlin Gaels had just seized the initiative, with Eoin O'Shea lording it at centre forward and Paddy Deegan storming into it at centre back but just like that, Kilkenny panellist Aidan Nolan turned the game upside down with a piece of individual brilliance.

Out on the sideline a ruck developed but as soon as the ball broke, the half forward was onto it like a shot with a stylish flick into the hand. O'Loughlin Gaels were in trouble with key defenders Paddy Deegan and Huw Lawlor chasing back, and the rangy Nolan punished his opponents with a brilliant change of direction and deft finish.

Moments later, he was replaced with an apparent rib injury but the damage had been done.

The brilliant Eoin O'Shea, who took Cillian Buckley for six from play, struck back with two fine points for the Gaels but Dicksboro were the stronger side all told, and they kicked for home once more.

From half back, the inspirational Tom Kenny scored a raker of a point while the tricky and light-footed Bill Sheehan caused the O'Loughlin's defence the world of problems. Sheehan ended his day with two from play but for a relatively small player, his ball-winning ability is note-worthy. He caught a couple of clearances and his unselfish passing is a crucial element to their attack, a deft offload setting Shane Stapleton free for their second goal, which ended this game as a contest.

Indeed, that man Stapleton - a Dubliner who transferred to the club four years ago - had a barnstorming game at half forward, nailing his frees and landing two sidelines. Elsewhere, Darragh Holohan looks solid in the goals while the two Evans, Cody and Carroll, are tigerish in the full back line for Mark Dowling's outfit. Ollie Walsh and Cillian Buckley offer a presence in the half back line while the youngster Liam Moore has serious athleticism.

The onlooking Brian Cody, who recently added goalscorer Nolan to his county panel, will have been impressed with this performance.

"The Aidan Nolan goal was the real decisive factor," said Jackie Tyrrell on RTÉ afterwards, "It completely changed the game. He showed tremendous forward instincts, he was going straight for goal."