Kanturk (Cork) 1-23
Kilmaley (Clare) 0-25
Eoin Brennan reports from Gaelic Grounds
KANTURK’S UNPRECEDENTED SEASON would take one significant leap further when capturing historic AIB Munster intermediate club hurling honours following an epic extra-time battle with Kilmaley in the Gaelic Grounds this afternoon.
In an enthralling final that was level on seven occasions, Kanturk initially appeared to be heading towards a comfortable victory in normal time as they led by six points with less than 20 minutes remaining.
However, despite being reeled in by a never-say-die Kilmaley led by Michael O’Malley, Daire Keane and Colin McGuane, Kanturk showed tremendous character to never be headed in extra-time before finally edging the day by the minimum.
Neither side deserved to lose such a titanic wrestle for supremacy but the Cork champions, following a hectic schedule of hurling and football over the past ten weeks, did crucially possess a greater physicality.
And backed by the leadership of Darren Browne, Lorcán McLoughlin, top scorer Liam O’Keeffe and captain Lorcan O’Neill, they would shade what was a compelling showdown as Kilmaley saw a last gasp 60 metre free agonisingly drift wide of the posts.
Midfield general Lorcán McLoughlin didn’t start due to a shoulder injury in the warm-up but after being patched up, the county senior came off the bench after only five minutes to more than play his part with four points, the last of which proved to be the winning score.
Kanturk were the superior side in the opening half but passed up two glorious goal opportunities to only lead by 0-10 to 0-7 at the break. They did finally make amends though with a Liam O’Keeffe goal in the 41st minute that boosted them to a 1-13 to 0-10 advantage.
However, Kilmaley simply refused to yield and after eventually gaining parity thanks to a Michael O’Malley ’65 by the 58th minute, the sides went blow-for-blow twice more for the remainder of an anxious finale that was eventually tied up by Kanturk’s inspirational corner-back Paul Walsh to send the game into extra time.
A brace of Liam O’Keeffe placed balls ensured that the Duhallow side were back in front by the 70th minute at 1-22 to 0-23, with McLoughlin subsequently putting three between the sides with just five minutes remaining.
Again Kilmaley would produce a rousing comeback with a brace of Cian Moloney frees. However, a third would just miss the target in injury-time as Kanturk clung on to complete their greatest ever year.
Scorers for Kanturk: Liam O’Keeffe 1-7 (0-4f, 1’65); Lorcán McLoughlin 0-4; Ian Walsh 0-3; Ryan Walsh 0-2; Mark Healy, Alan O’Keeffe, Alan Sheehy, Aidan Walsh, Darren Browne, James Fitzpatrick, Paul Walsh 0-1 each
Scorers for Kilmaley: Cian Moloney 0-7 (0-5f); Michael O’Malley (0-1f, 0-1’65), Daire Keane 0-5 each; Eamonn Bracken, Kenneth Kennedy, Mikey O’Neill 0-2 each; Sean O’Loughlin, Brian Cahill 0-1 each.
1. Anthony Nash
2. Paul Walsh
3. John McLoughlin
5. John Browne
11. Lorcan O’Neill (Captain)
6. Darren Browne
23. Alan Sheehy
9. Ryan Walsh
12. Aidan Walsh
13. Donnacha Kennelly
7. Mark Healy
10. Ian Walsh
14. Alan O’Keeffe
24. James Fitzpatrick
15. Liam O’Keeffe
8. Lorcán McLoughlin for Fitzpatrick (5)
24. Fitzpatrick for Kennelly (half-time)
17. Martin O’Riordan for Healy (52)
13. Kennelly for A. O’Keeffe (70)
7. Healy for I. Walsh (77)
1. Bryan O’Loughlin
4. Eoin Enright
3. Colin McGuane (captain)
7. Sean Kennedy
25. Aidan McGuane
6. Conor Cleary
19. Conor Neylon
8. Brian Cahill
9. Michael O’Malley
10. Kenneth Kennedy
11. Eamonn Bracken
13. Sean O’Loughlin
12. Cian Moloney
14. Daire Keane
30. Mikey O’Neill
15. Paraic McNamara for S. O’Loughlin (44)
18. Alan Markham for Moloney (50)
5. Conor McMahon for Cahill (59)
29. John Clohessy for Bracken (60)
12. Moloney for Markham (62)
13. O’Loughlin for S. Kennedy (65, inj)
11. Bracken for Neylon (77)
Referee: Thomas Walsh (Waterford)
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