LESTER RYAN WAS the hero as his late goal helped Clara snatch success against Carrickshock in today’s Kilkenny senior hurling final.
It was a sensational win for Clara as they won their second county senior crown – their previous victory was in 1986 – in what was only the club’s third ever appearance in a Kilkenny decider.
Amazingly victory arrived for Clara just 12 months after they won the Kilkenny intermediate championship and last February they lifted the All-Ireland intermediate title in Croke Park.
Their run of glory continued this afternoon with a memorable success and was achieved by the manner in which they outscored their opponents by 1-3 to 0-1 in the closing minutes.
A John Power point in the 53rd minute had put Carrickshock into a 2-9 to 0-13 lead and they looked to be on the cusp of winning their first Kilkenny title since 1951.
But then Kilkenny senior Lester Ryan smashed a 20-yard free to the net and followed that up with a point to put the winners ahead by two.
Richie Power narrowed the gap to the minimum before Chris Bolger added the insurance point to spark jubilant scenes amongst the Clara players and supporters.
The game was evenly-contested for long stages with the teams tied at 0-11 to 2-5 at the interval. Richie Power and Brian Donovan struck goals at either end of the first-half for Carrickshock but the accuracy of Keith Hogan from placed balls helped Clara stay in touch.
The second-half was tight as well before Carrickshock forged ahead in the final quarter. Yet Clara grabbed the crucial scores with Ryan’s goal helping them claim a famous win that sees them advance to face Wexford’s Oulart-the-Ballagh in the Leinster championship next week.
CLARA: Killian Phelan; Tom Ryan, John Phelan, Sean O’Shea; Neal Prendergast, Shane Prendergast, David Langton; Lester Ryan, Jack Langton; Conor Phelan, Keith Hogan, Liam Ryan; Austin Murphy, James Nolan, Ciaran Prendergast.
CARRICKSHOCK: John Butler; John Murphy, John Dalton, David Franks; John Cahill, John Tennyson, Pat Tennyson; Michael Rice, Paddy Mulcahy; Jamie Power, Richie Power, John Power; Michael Rohan, Mark O’Dwyer, Brian Donovan.