Churchtown were forced to withstand a great second half rally by Kilworth in the losers section Hibernian Hotel Premier JHC at Castletownroche on Saturday. For long periods in the second half Kilworth dictated matters but in the end they will rue the chances they missed in this period as Churchtown with a couple of late points went on to claim victory.
Despite the sides being tied at 0-1 each early on when Thomas Fitzgibbon and Sean Keane swapped points it was Churchtown aided by the strong breeze that went on to set the tone for the next 15 minutes. Tony O'Flaherty and Paul Cantillon featured strongly at midfield while Bobby Rea in the half forward line also caused many problems. Thomas Fitzgibbon was unerring from frees and he added two more points before Diarmuid Fisher and Tony O'Flaherty with long range efforts stretched their advantage when moving ahead 0-5 to 0-1 after 20 minutes.
Churchtown faded completely from here to the break as Kilworth seized the initiative, forcing the Churchtown backline to concede a number of frees but they failed to capitalise when accounting for a number of wides from placed balls and general play. In the 23rd minute Brian Roche set up Ned O'Brien for a point and despite Churchtown pulling a point back by Tony O'Flaherty, O'Brien was most unlucky not to get the opening goal in injury-time when his shot was deflected off a Churchtown defender over the bar for a point.
On the changeover Churchtown got proceedings underway when Fitzgibbon pointed a free. However, Kilworth came thundering into the game. Their backline cut off the supply going into the Churchtown full forward line while at the other end they surged forward at every given opportunity, but like the first half they squandered too many chances in this half at a time when they were well in control.
A period of early pressure yielded points by key players Justin Aherne (2) and Sean Keane before a delivery by Aidan Condon set up his namesake Eoin for a point in the 40th minute to level matters.
In a gripping half Kilworth tried hard to edge in front but an experienced Churchtown refused to yield. Kieran Curtin edged the winners ahead again when he pointed from a tight angle after receiving a good pass from Fitzgibbon. Kilworth levelled matters from the puckout when keeper Michael McCormack placed the hardworking Paddy Moakley for a great point and they were also evenly poised at 0-9 each when Bobby Rea and Chris Kenny traded minors by the 54th minute. With extra time looming both teams battled hard for supremacy.
Churchtown took the lead again when Fitzgibbon pointed a long range free, while in the 59th minute substitute Noel Quinn made an immediate impact when his point made it 0-11 to 0-9.
Kilworth refused to give in with Chris Kenny narrowing the deficit to a slender margin when he pointed a free in injury time. However they were unable to restore parity as Fitzgibbon completed the scoring with a late free as they held on to claim a close victory.
CHURCHTOWN: P Morrissey, D O'Brien, T Egan, J O'Callaghan, D Fisher 0-1, T Fehin, P McMahon, P Cantillon, T O'Flaherty 0-2, B Rea 0-1, J Breen, J Quinn, B Quinn, K Curtin 0-1, T Fitzgibbon 0-6f. Subs: K O'Sullivan for T Fehin (inj), N O'Callaghan for J Quinn, N Quinn 0-1 for B Quinn.
KILWORTH: M McCormack, B Whelan, A Kenny, S Kenny, J Horgan, J Hegarty, Shane Keane, C Kenny 0-2 (1f, 1 '65') J Moakley, Sean Keane 0-2, J Cahill, A Condon, P Moakley 0-1, N O'Brien 0-2, E Condon 0-1. Subs: B Roche for A Kenny (inj) J Aherne 0-2 (1f) for E Condon, E Condon for J Cahill (inj).
Ref: D O'Farrell (Mitchelstown)