independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Kildorrery hang on for final berth

Brian Tobin, Kilworth, battles with Ian Walsh, Kanturk, during the Intermediate Hurling final, at Pairc Ui Rinn Photo: Jim Coughlan

they proceeded to hurl up a storm in the second quarter. Their defence put up the shutters to such an extent that Kilbrin were limited to just one more point from play before the break, and that came from centre back William Egan. Niall Kelly, Shane Fitzgerald and commanding centre back Michael Walsh were particularly unyielding in the Kildorrery rearguard, while Gerry McCarthy gave them an edge at midfield, ensuring a generous service to a sweet-moving attack in which Peter O'Brien was in inspirational form on the '40.

Finbarr Stapleton and Dave Kelly were others to make their presence felt up front as Kildorrery, aided by a third goal from the rampant O'Brien, built up an intimidating 3-8 to 0-7 lead before the interval. O'Brien converted a free to stretch the gap to eleven points on the turnover, but Kilbrin became a transformed side after Liam Daly and Eoin Sheahan shared two goals in the 33rd. minute.

The decision to switch Daniel Sheahan from wing back to the edge of the square brought greater stability to their last line of defence, while Michael O'Riordan thundered into the game on moving from the No 3 slot to the left wing. William Egan was regularly seen to good effect too at centre back, but, crucially, he never managed to completely eclipse the threat from the powerful Peter O'Brien, who, along with ' keeper McEniry, was instrumental in ensuring Kildorrery's survival in the second half.

With Daniel O'Sullivan, switched from wing forward, and Patrick Egan impacting tellingly at midfield, Kilbrin applied the bulk of the pressure, and. primarily due to the efforts of Liam Daly, substitute Thomas O'Reilly and especially Noel O'Callaghan up front, they began to carve out regular openings. Fortunately for Kildorrery, James McEniry produced a number of fine saves to keep them on course, one of which, from Kilbrin's Stephen O'Reilly, was really out of the top drawer.

As it was, Kilbrin had reduced the deficit to two points, 3-10 to 2-11, at the three-quarter stage, but, Kildorrery, with Peter O'Brien chipping in a couple of vital scores from play, had moved four ahead approaching the last five minutes. In a nail-biting finale, Kilbrin brought the margin down to two again before man-of-the-match O'Brien won a free which he converted himself to ease Kildorrery's anxiety in the final minute of regulation time.

Never-say-die Kilbrin mounted a last-gasp raid, but, after William Egan - moved to attack late on - was fouled at the edge of the square, Michael Walsh got a stick to Liam Daly's shot from the resultant free to ensure victory for Kildorrery in a truly memorable

encounter.

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