South Senior Hurling Championship
A more clinical Killenaule secured their place in the last four of the South Senior Hurling Championship on Sunday evening in Fethard, and in doing so consigned a wasteful Ballybacon-Grange to the O’Riain Cup for the second year running.
Ballybacon made the brighter start, with early scores from Brendan Cummins and Aaron Cowan. However their opening ten-minute lead of 0-3 to no score was tainted by numerous wides, and was emphatically wiped out when Declan Fanning burst through the Ballybacon defence, firing home a wonder goal for Killenaule’s first score. John O’Dwyer was on hand a minute late to send over a free after Fanning was fouled. Killenaule were making their opponents pay for their wastefulness, and after another flurry of Ballybacon attacks failed to yield a score Jonathan Gleeson flicked in a second Killenaule goal, after Cummins saved at point blank range from the boot of full-forward Kenneth Browne.
Tony Doyle added a long-range free and two more points in quick succession from the in-form Jonathan Gleeson put Killenaule into a comfortable lead. Killenaule’s Joe O’Dwyer, returning from injury, further enhanced his side’s lead with a fine point in the 25th minute. Daniel O’Regan replied with a huge score from out on the sideline to narrow the gap as the interval approached, before a John O’Dwyer free ended the first half scoring.
Trailing by eight points at the break, Ballybacon started the second half as they did the first, with two quick points coming from Billy Hewitt and a placed effort from the reliable Johnny English. But just as Ballybacon seemed to be gathering momentum John O’Dwyer sprang into life, snatching two Gerry Kennedy puckouts in a row before driving high and accurately over Brendan Cummins’ crossbar. Tony Doyle was a commanding presence at centre back for Killenaule and his lengthy clearance in the 15th minute found Joe O’Dwyer, who had his second point of the evening. Daniel O’Regan, who was one of the better performers for Ballybacon, had another point in an attempt to kick-start a revival but Joe O’Dwyer quickly replied for Killenaule, once again availing of another Tony Doyle delivery.
Johnny English and John O’Dwyer traded frees and Killenaule had points from substitute Michael Doyle and another from Joe O’Dwyer to give them a 12-point lead heading into the last five minutes. With time running out Ballybacon continued to battle hard and had three points in-a- row, all from the stick of Johnny English, but an injury time long-range point from Michael Doyle made sure Killenaule had the final say.
Killenaule - Gerry Kennedy, Stephen Browne, Paddy Codd, Kenneth Cleary, Vinnie Hannigan, Tony Doyle (0-1 free), Declan Ryan, Jamie McCormack, Donal Shelley, Declan Fanning (1-0), John O’Dwyer(0-6, 3 frees, 1’ 65), Joe O’Dwyer (0-4) Jonathan Gleeson (1-2), Kenneth Browne, Niall O’Dwyer.
Subs: Michael Doyle (0-2) for Kenneth Browne, Joseph Maher for Jamie McCormack,
Ballybacon-Grange: Brendan Cummins(0-1 free), Eoin Walsh, Thomas Maher, Nigel Carrigan, Peter Hally, Brian Dillon, Martin Ryan, Johnny English (0-5, 3 frees), Aaron Cowan (0-2), Billy Hewitt (0-1), Brian Lonergan, Daniel O’Regan (0-2), Joey Phelan (0-1), Philip Murphy, Alan O’Gorman.
Referee: Seamus Roche (Kilsheelan-Kilcash).