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Happy days as cows become cooks

by Jimmy Rhatigan
Pics by Donal Foley

THE COWS, hens and ducks had to cook their own grub in Kikenny on Sunday.

Farmers’ sprongs were idle, swapped for hurley sticks as four hurling-mad clubs fought for the glory of the religion of hurling on the green, grassy slopes (make that billiard table-like pasture) at UPMC Nowlan Park.

It was the day when rural Kilkenny invaded the ‘Park and served up the kind of entertainment that makes toes curl and hearts thump as passionate hurling aficionados are swaddled in parish pride.

In the Junior County Final opener, Blacks & Whites from Skeaghvasteen and Windgap went at each other as if someone had insulted their sisters.

From the time when the sphere was rolled in to set fire to a tinder box of hope and expectation there was hell for leather as contestants played with the kind of fervour that we thought went out of fashion when the gladiators of Rome retired.

It was heart-warming stuff as fearless warriors defended their patch or sneaked into enemy territory.

But it wasn’t fire and brimstone only. The action was laced with skill powered by an energy that is deep rooted in both parishes.

The power of prayer was tested as both squads would have had mammies and daddies, grannys and granddads on the rosary beads.

Support was fantastic but as the seconds eased towards a song from the Fat Lady it was the Blacks & Whites that was in pole position and the cheer at the final whistle, a yelp that could be heard in Skeagh, would have brought tears from a turnip.

It was that emotional, the occasion was heavenly, a credit to both clubs, Blacks & Whites delirious that they edged it by 1-17 to 0-17.

Beat that for entertainment could have been the challenge to Intermediate finalists Thomastown and Danesfort from the Junior ambassadors.

The former did just that as a thunderous spectacular ebbed and flowed all the way to a pulsating extra time period.

Busiest man in the ground was perhaps the scoreboard keeper who registered goals and points all the way to a whopping 1-36 to 4-25 victory for the black and amber of Danesfort.

 Kilkenny senior hurlers Richie Hogan and Paul Murphy were in familiar territory, celebrating a final victory in jerseys that are the pride of their parish and county.

Perhaps, more important, Danesfort is back in senior hurling, a seat at the top table for a proud club. 

Thomastown missed the bus again but on this showing the Town should most certainly reach the top tier sooner rather than later.

Normally sensible Danesfort women and men, children too, were dancing for joy and no doubt for some, most maybe, the hooley continued into the early hours of Monday.

Meanwhile the poor old cows were back to normal breakfast, dinner and tea time dining.

And regardless of what way the cookie crumbles during the week and indeed into new challenges, the great achievement is that the sons of the soil have moo-ved on to greater things.

Enterainment for Sunday afternoon has to be 10 out of 10. Yes, it was that good, magnificent rather.

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