Eoin Brennan reports on the minor A final which Inagh-Kilnamona will hope is a good omen for the big one this Sunday
The power of persistence effectively clinched Inagh-Kilnamona’s first Minor A title in four years after finally holding off Clooney-Quin in what was a superb wrestle for supremacy that went all the way to extra-time in Cusack Park on Sunday afternoon.
Trailing by two by the 56th minute after frustratingly failing to fire, crucially Inagh-Kilnamona never panicked and led by the electric Sean Rynne, grabbed ten of the next twelve points to effectively seal victory.
Clooney-Quin captain Callum Hassett and the relentless David Considine did their utmost to stem the tide with both firing injury-time points to force extra-time.
However, that was as good as it would get for an impressive Clooney-Quin side that more than matched their opponents for the first hour as having finally found their feet, Inagh-Kilnamona stormed out of the blocks in the additional periods to hit the first six points, five from chief threat Rynne, to put the result beyond any doubt.
It was a hugely significant crown for Inagh-Kilnamona, not simply because of the current wave of momentum behind their senior side but also due to the manner of their heartbreaking Under 15A Championship Final loss to a last gasp goal at the same venue three months earlier.With seven of that Under 15 side starting on Sunday and two more being sprung off the bench, the irony of Inagh-Kilnamona’s strong finish to snatch the honours was noteworthy, especially as along with experienced captain Ricky Wynne, the ever-busy Marc Callinan, Daniel McCarthy and 13 point leader Sean Rynne, Under 15’s such as Fred Hegarty, Gearoid Barry and James Hegarty were just as influential over the hour.
In contrast, Clooney-Quin, who also lost an Under 15 Final at B level, only introduced one of that contingent as instead, the outstanding Callum Hassett, who appeared to play through the pain barrier of a shoulder injury.
Dannan Fox, David Considine, Jack O’Neill, John Cahill and Enda O’Halloran fronted a formidable challenge that with a more sharpened clinical edge might have put the game beyond the favourites before they got a chance to bounce back off the ropes.
Hindsight is great but when embroiled in a real compelling end-to-end battle that was level on ten occasions, one can only simply praise both sides’ commitment and determination.
With never more than two points between the sides at any stage of the first hour, it was a thrilling encounter highlighted by some brilliant scores from Rynne and Hassett in particular but also Fred Hegarty, Gearoid Barry, Dannan Fox and David Considine.
Indeed, Rynne inspired Inagh-Kilnamona to edge the first quarter at 0-4 to 0-3 while counterpart Hassett’s heroics shaded the next two quarters by the minimum to ensure a 0-12 to 0-11 advantage by the turn of the final quarter.
A superb last ditch block from James Hegarty prevented John Cahill from cementing the silverware entering the final ten minutes albeit that Hassett did convert the resulting ’65 to give his side a two point cushion.
By this stage, Inagh-Kilnamona were threatening to implode as they kept getting turned over in the tackle by a ravenous Clooney-Quin while their short-passing radar was also malfunctioning.
But like all good sides, they never dropped their heads and eventually played their way back into contention as a Rynne free was immediately followed by a Gearoid Barry equaliser in the 57th minute.
Rynne did the rest as he completed the three minute blitz with two more points that would be dramatically wiped out in injury-time but the talisman only picked up where he left off in extra-time with a further five scores in a six point unanswered blitz that extended into the second period at 0-22 to 0-16.
Dannan Fox was denied a lifeline for Clooney-Quin by Daniel McCarthy but when it eventually arrived, the goal proved too late to impact as Considine’s cool finish was the last puck of an enthralling final.
With their minors leading the way, Inagh-Kilnamona will hope this it’s the first leg of a historic minor and senior double.
Inagh-Kilnamona: Frank Roughan; Conor Rynne, Daniel McCarthy, James Cullinan; Cathal Ryan, Ricky Wynne (Captain), James Hegarty; Marc Callinan, Jamie Wynne; Conor Morrissey, Sean Rynne, Jack Mescall; Gearoid Barry, Fred Hegarty, Neil Hegarty. Subs: Robert Dowling for N. Hegarty (HT), Alex Leyden for J. Wynne (49), Jack Cullinan for James Cullinan (79, inj), Hegarty for Morrissey (83, inj). Scorers: Sean Rynne (0-13, 7f); Fred Hegarty, Gearoid Barry (0-3 each); Jamie Wynne, James Hegarty, Jack Mescall (0-1 each)
Clooney-Quin: Darren Frain; Cormac Egan, Simon Kilkee, Cillian O’Gara; Enda O’Halloran, Evan Maxted, Ronan Harrington; Jack O’Neill, David Considine; Fionnan O’Sullivan, Callum Hassett (Captain), Lorcan O’Connor; John Cahill, Sam Scanlon, Dannan Fox. Subs: Adam McMahon for O’Connor (56), Alex Madigan for Egan (70), PJ McCarthy for O’Sullivan (78), Aidan Keating for O’Halloran (82). Scorers: Callum Hassett (0-10, 5f, 2’65); David Considine (1-3); Dannan Fox(0-3); Jack O’Neill (0-1)
Referee: Kieran Liddane, (Sixmilebridge)