James Doyle lights up club season with one of the great injury time cameos 3 weeks ago

James Doyle lights up club season with one of the great injury time cameos

St Mullins 2-17 Rathdowney Errill 1-19

It was the James Doyle show.

The sun hangs over Netwatch Cullen Park but it's a bit of a false dawn. There's a bite in the air. It's chilly and these are far from ideal conditions for hurling.

It's club season, and this is what club hurling is all about.

St Mullin's against Rathdowney Errill. Laois against Carlow. Two of the most rapidly rising counties in the game and their best clubs locking horns in a Leinster semi-final.

As you've already guessed, it's as fiercely contested as it is important. It's as chaotic as it is close to the bone.

Point for point, goal for goal, hit for hit and play for play. It was frantic, breathless and end to end stuff. You couldn't take your eyes off it for a second because if you did, you were drawn back by the roars and shrieks from the Carlow crowd.

This was club hurling at its pulsating best.

And it didn't take long at all to get going. Paddy Purcell lit the touch paper within ten minutes of the whistle, racing through the heart of the Carlow defence a la Tony Kelly, before lashing it home and lamping a defender on the way out.

What a goal. Here we flippin' go.

St Mullin's were right back at them. Marty Kavanagh won the next ball and he unselfishly picked out corner forward Paddy Boland at the other side of the square. He made no mistake and we were off.

This game was poised. The two teams were at it.

For Rathdowney Errill, the exceptional Jack Kelly stood tall at centre back. He was a wall in defence and he helped keep St Mullin's at bay.

Paddy Purcell was also hurling well while Mark Kavanagh is one of the sharpest shooters in the land. Rathdowney Errill had the upper hand but St Mullin's had missed a lot of chances.

Marty Kavanagh wasn't going to miss. His goal when the Laois side were threatening to pull away was crucial, and it was pure class too.

The Carlow side went in one down. This one was going right to the wire.

They came out in the second half a totally different beast and in truth, they looked the better team for the majority of the second half.

But Rathdowney wouldn't go away and the wizardry of Mark Kavanagh put them one up, and looked to have stole it for them late on.

Until James Doyle - that exceptional Carlow hurler who's been lording it for club and county for years - stepped up and decided this game with two scores right out of the top drawer.

Two clutch scores that took skill, guts, bottle and leadership.

It was the James Doyle show and it was amazing stuff.

The first one was good, the second was even better. What a hurler. What a man.

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