An historic day for Kilsheelan-Kilcash as the parish claimed its first adult county hurling title, edging out Moycarkey-Borris in a cracking county junior hurling final at Boherlahan on Sunday.
Beaten in four previous finals, this was a victory celebrated in style by the South Tipp side and their followers, and who could blame them? For county chairman, Sean Nugent, it was a particularly special occasion. He was a member of the four teams previously beaten in finals but now he was a selector to the successful combination, and better still, in his capacity as county chairman, he had the added bonus of presenting the trophy to team captain, Shane Prendergast.
Kilsheelan’s delight was Moycarkey-Borris’ dismay. Throughout the campaign they had looked the part of county champions but sadly for them they did not reach the standard of previous outings on this day. Chances missed from play and frees could reasonably be attributed to the wretched conditions. A bitingly cold breeze, continuous rain, and a very heavy pitch, were not conducive to good, lively hurling, and while the elements were the same for both sides, Moycarkey-Borris certainly seemed the more hampered by them.
However, full marks to both sides for a rousing contest with the closing stages particularly exciting and intense. Moycarkey will rue a number of chances lost in the first half when aided by the breeze. A 0-6 to 0-4 advantage at the break never looked enough and the four points turn-around by Kilsheelan-Kilcash in the second half as they surged to a two points win, just about reflected the extent of the South side’s superiority.
Moycarkey started in lively fashion and in the second minute Rory O’Regan almost netted for them, his quick double on a breaking ball finding the side netting. Cathal Ryan whipped over a point and Willie Dempsey landed a sixty five for an encouraging lead after six minutes.
By the fifteenth minute of an absorbing tussle, Kilsheelan were level. John Roche had their first point from a free in the 13th minute, followed two minutes later by a delightful sideline cut by county minor Bill Maher, for parity.
Moycarkey enjoyed their best spell of the game after this , hitting four points without reply in seven minutes, from Ger Carey, Robert Clancy, and two Willie Dempsey frees. Kilsheelan finished the half strongly. John Roche pointed a free in the 27th minute. Willie Ryan finished a nice move with another, and in injury time, Patrick Larkin had a great goal chance which came to nought, leaving Moycarkey ahead 0-6 to 0-4 at the break.
Anybody’s game – and in the first minute of the second half, James Doran in the Moycarkey goal had to be very alert to prevent a kicked effort by Patrick Larkin finding the net. Larkin and Adrian Walsh were causing Moycarkey a lot of problems just as Robert Clancy , the Moycarkey full forward, had tormented Kilsheelan in the first half.
The decisive score of the game came in the 37th minute when a Moycarkey defender failed to cut out a long delivery which then fell to Kilsheelan’s Patrick Larkin who banged home the goal that was to bring Kilsheelan their first title.
Not that Moycarkey capitulated. Far from it, and by the 43rd minute they had fought back to level, Jamie Fanning, and two Willie Dempsey frees, to Adrian Walsh’s point for Kilsheelan, leaving the teams deadlocked at 0-9 to 1-6. It was a big effort and it appeared to take its toll.
The last quarter was most intense and exciting. Bill Maher edged Kilsheelan ahead with a point, and they almost had a second goal when James Doran’s attempt to kick a clearance was blocked down, but went wide. John Roche pointed a sixty five for Kilsheelan with seven minutes to go, a score waved wide by the umpire but, flagged after referee Phil Kelly intervened.
Moycarkey needed a goal but the supply to dangerman Robert Doran was too sporadic and lacking in quality, and so Kilsheelan held out for a victory that will long be remembered in the parish.
The better side on the day won – no question about that, even if the extent of their superiority was marginal. Having been knocked out of the Munster Club championship a week previously (senior clubs like Moycarkey cannot have their junior side in the Munster club championship), Kilsheelan-Kilcash bounced back in a most positive fashion, showing great determination and hunger. This was best personified by such as Bill Maher, Patrick Larkin and Adrian Walsh but Conor Davin Murphy, Donncha Lonergan, Wiillie Ryan, John Roche, and goalkeeper Ian Coughlan were others who greatly influenced the team performance.
Scorers Kilsheelan-Kilcash – J Roche(0-4,all fs); P Larkin (1-0); B Maher (0-2); W Ryan (0-1), A Walsh (0-1);
Moycarkey-Borris scorers – W Dempsey (0-5, all fs); R Clancy, C Ryan, J Fanning, G Carey 0-1 each;
Kilsheelan-Kilcash – Ian Coughlan; David Corcoran, James Ryan, Kevin Larkin; Conor Davin Murphy, Shane Prendergast, Donncha Lonergan; Tommy Ryan, Willie Ryan; Adriane Walsh, Niall Walsh, Patrick Larkin; Eddie Sweeney, John Roche, Bill Maher; Sub – Alex Harte for Sweeney;
Moycarkey-Borris – James Doran; Jeff Fallon, Stephen Kirwan, Eamon Ryan; Gerry McGuire, Pat Molloy, Gary O Connell; Ger Carey, Paudie Doran; Jamie Fanning, Willie Dempsey, Daniel Kirby; Cathal Ryan, Robert Clancy, Rory O Regan; Subs- Conor Hayes for Carey; Michael Roche for P Doran
Ref- Phil Kelly, Ballinahinch