Kanturk, Cork 1-23 Kilmaley 0-25
A cracking Munster intermediate club hurling championship final ended in a heartbreaking one point defeat for Clare champions Kilmaley at the Gaelic grounds in Limerick this afternoon after extra time.
Six points adrift midway through the second half, Kilmaley put in a superb final quarter which saw them take a one point lead with a minute of normal time remaining only for the Cork side to battle back for a merited equaliser.
It was tit for tat throughout the extra time which ended with a 60m free for Kilmaley drifting wide of the upright.
As with any game that is so tight, there are plenty of talking points and these include two efforts by Kilmaley, one of which was signalled as a point, both been given as wide after some confusion and consultation amongst the officials.
Arguably the biggest talking point came at the death when a Kanturk official went on to the field and clearly distracted Cian Moloney as he prepared to take a free.
This was a tie in which the superior physical strength of Kanturk played a key role in their victory. This was particularly evident in the opening half as the Cork champions defence dominated and none more so that their outstanding centre back Darren Browne.
The sides were level at 0-3 each at the end of the first quarter. Kilmaley then took the lead for the first time with a Ken Kennedy point before Kanturk responded with five unanswered points in a six minute spell. At half time the Cork side led on a score of 0-10 to 0-7.
In the opening ten minutes of the second half each side added three points before Liam O’Keeffe struck for his side’ goal following a good delivery from Ian Walsh. To their credit Kilmaley responded to this with three unanswered points and with five minutes remaining they had the winner’s lead down to the minimum.
At this stage Kilmaley were dictating matters and when Michael O’Malley pointed a minute from the end of normal time his side was in front but Kanturk refused to give up and they hit back and deservingly forced the game to extra time.
At the end of the first period of extra time the Cork champions led by two points, 1-21 to 0-22 and this was still the position with three minutes remaining. A Cian Moloney free left the minimum between the teams as three minutes of additional time were signalled. In the third of these a foul on Conor McMahon led to a free but Cian Moloney’s effort failed to find the target and Kanturk had added the Munster title to the Cork crown.
Michael O’Malley, Colin McGuane, Conor Cleary, Eoin Enright and Daire Keane were amongst those to impress for the Clare side.
Kanturk; Anthony Nash; Paul Walsh (0-1), John McLoughlin, John Browne; Lorcan O’Neill, Darren Browne (0-1), Alan Sheehy (0-1); Ian Walsh (0-3), Ryan Walsh (0-2); Mark Healy (0-1), Aidan Walsh (0-1), Donnacha Kenneally; Alan O’Keeffe (0-1), James Fitzpatrick (0-1), Liam O’Keeffe (1-7, 4 f, 1’65)
Subs; Lorcan McLoughlin (0-4) for Fitzpatrick; Fitzpatrick for Kenneally; Martin O’ Riordan for M. Healy; Kenneally for A. O’Keeffe; Healy for I. Walsh
Kilmaley; Bryan O’Loughlin; Aidan McGuane,Colin McGuane, Eoin Enright; Conor Neylon, Conor Cleary, Sean Kennedy; Brian Cahill (0-1), Michael O’Malley (0-5, 1f); Ken Kennedy (0-2), Eamon Bracken (0-2),Cian Moloney (0-7,5f); Sean O’Loughlin (0-1), Daire Keane (0-5), Michael O’Neill (0-2);
Subs; Padraic McNamara for S. O’Loughlin; Alan Markham for Moloney; Conor McMahon for Cahill; John Clohessy for Bracken; Moloney for Markham, S.O’Loughlin for S. Kennedy, Bracken for Neylon
Referee; Thomas Walsh, Waterford
By Seamus Hayes