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O’Connor fists Kilmurry back into the final

Kilmurry Ibrickane 0-11   Doonbeg 1-7

AT this stage, Doonbeg don’t need reminding. They know they threw away the chance of reaching their first county final since 2001. There was at least at 15 minute stretch in the second half when Kilmurry were there for the taking for the first time since 2007.
When Shane Killeen scored Doonbeg’s goal a minute into the second half, quickly followed by a Padraic Aherne point, Doonbeg had established a 1-6 to 0-6 advantage. Their dander was up, it seemed.
Nobody scored again until the 16th minute when David Tubridy put over a nice point. Four points up, Doonbeg could sense see the finish line. A bit early perhaps?
Ian McInerney, Noel Downes and Mark McCarthy had either kicked wides or missed chances, while Johnny Daly had a shot saved by Conor Whelan after Nigel Dillon had not dealt soundly with a Peter O’Dwyer effort.
Everything was pointing towards a Doonbeg win but when they didn’t finish off Kilmurry, the champions remained competitive.
Kilmurry scored four unanswered points in the last 10 minutes with Noel Downes and Odran O’Dwyer central to their revival. Both were introduced from the bench and both proved their worth.
Although policed by Conor Whelan, Downes showed for ball after ball, winning most of them, setting up Michael O’Dwyer for a score and his brother Odran for a pointed free.
The second free Downes won, given away by Padraic Aherne, was again pointed by O’Dwyer, reducing the deficit to a point, 1-7 to 0-9.
Two minutes from time, it was Odran’s turn to win a free, with Johnny Daly obliging. Doonbeg were gone and couldn’t win a ball to save their season.
Enda Coughlan won a crucial one and the move culminated in Paul O’Connor fisting over Nigel Dillon’s crossbar, hurtling Doonbeg out of the championship and Kilmurry back into the county final.
A point down, Doonbeg opted to allow Colm Dillon take a line ball from the dressing side of Cooraclare, when surely Frank O’Dea’s left foot should have been utilised?
Perhaps they could have been awarded a very late penalty, when Shane Killeen appeared to be impeded by a foot as he lifted his leg to strike on goal. The ball broke to a Doonbeg man but Kilmurry hacked it away and that was that.
Kilmurry had led 0-6 to 0-5 at half-time, following a very competitive half hour’s football, witnessed by a large crowd, which had gathered for the semi-final double header.
Kilmurry won because although they didn’t produce an even, hour-long display, they didn’t have to. Doonbeg didn’t bury them when they had the chance.
Ultimately that was a decisive factor along with Kilmurry’s bench which was more potent than Doonbeg’s.
Now Kilmurry await Kilkee in Cusack Park on Sunday week. The Seasiders surely won’t be as neighbourly if they get a chance to dethrone Kilmurry?

Kilmurry Ibrickane: Dermot O’Brien, Thomas O’Connor, Mark Killeen, Darren Hickey; Shane Hickey, Enda Coughlan, Martin McMahon; Paul O’Connor and Peter O’Dwyer; Stephen Moloney, Keith King, Mark McCarthy; Johnny Daly, Ian McInerney, Michael Hogan.
Subs: Noel Downes for Michael Hogan, Odran O’Dwyer for Ian McInerney, Paul O’Dwyer for Mark McCarthy and Evan Talty for Thomas O’Connor.
Kilmurry scorers: Ian McInerney 0-3, (0-1f), Odran O’Dwyer 0-2f, Johnny Daly 0-2, (0-1f), Mark McCarthy, Michael O’Dwyer and Paul O’Connor 0-1 each.

Doonbeg: Nigel Dillon, Conor Whelan, Pádraig Gallagher, Enda Doyle; Padraic Aherne, David Downes, Richie Vaughan; Frank O’Dea and Shane O’Brien; David Tubridy, Colm Dillon, Shane Killeen; Jamie Whelan, Kevin Nugent, Brian Egan.
Subs: Shane Ryan for Jamie Whelan and Brian Dillon for Brian Egan.
Scorers: Shane Killeen 1-0, David Tubridy 0-3, Padraic Aherne, Richie Vaughan, Colm Dillon and Brian Egan 0-1 each.

Referee: Rory Hickey (Éire Óg)

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