2012 yielded ultimate divisional honours to both of the hurling heavyweights within the Duhallow division Banteer and Kilbrin . That great rivalry between the pair was racked up another notch during the past season.
It all began in the league, Banteer weathering a late Kilbrin comeback to retain their Kanturk Credit Union JAHL title after an engaging decider in Meelin. The reigning holders took the early initiative, built into a three point lead at the interval and extending it to lead by a comfortable eight point margin at the three quarter stage before surviving a late onslaught to complete back to back titles.
That laid down a marker where twists and turns was the signatory to a dramatic conclusion to the EPS Bison JAHC campaign.
Retaining a league title earlier in the summer, Banteer were pushed all the way by Tullylease in round 1 to the championship. From a tight encounter, Banteer's better accuracy and timely goals from placed balls by Brendan Withers and David Murphy swung the issue. And in the semi final, Banteer held superior teamwork and finishing to account for Millstreet where a Denis Roche goal sealed matters.
Kilbrin had regained a hold of the title in 2011 by overcoming Freemount. And by the start of the 2012 campaign, Kilbrin had incurred their second defeat to Banteer in a league decider.
Facing up to Freemount in a repeat of the previous season's decider to the start of the new championship campaign, things appeared bleak for Kilbrin early in the second half on trailing by nine points. However a combination of an all round general improvement and key substitutions allowed a youger Kilbrin raise their pace and intensity.
In the semi final, opponents Newmarket held their own for a spell before Kilbrin netted a pair of goals from Noel O'Callaghan and Liam Daly prior to the break that allowed them pull away in the second half. The outcome confirmed another Banteer and Kilbrin instalment. From this championship, Kilbrin in all three previous meetings in finals against Banteer have taken the spoils on each occasion. That was sure to drive Banteer on to break that hodoo and they held plenty of potential to achieve their goal.
By any standards, the outcome to another Meelin showdown was dramatic, an unbelieveable finish propelled Kilbrin to outright glory. The agony and ecstasy summed up the full time whistle. Kilbrin snatching a late winning goal from team captain Noel O'Callaghan. After performing second fiddle for much of the hour, Kilbrin's crown was tottering precariously before in stepped captain fantastic O'Callaghan to pull the fat out of the fire.
At key stages, Kilbrin dug deep and pulled themselves off the canvas on raising their level of performance considerably during the second half. And though Banteer appeared good enough to weather the storm, somehow Kilbrin found new reserves of energy to rise to the occasion and ultimately land the outright honours.
Banteer lost little caste in defeat but when the chips were down, Kilbrin appearing in their third consecutive final utilised that experience to pull off a sensational win. Ahead by three points, Banteer lost the chance to convert a 65 on penalised for delaying. Kilbrin won the throw in and the subsequent three attacks yielded a 1-2 tally in the closing sequence of play.
The winning goal surfaced from a semi penalty won by Liam Daly. Though trailing by a point in the final minute of regulation time, Kieran Sheahan elected to go for goal. His effort was blocked by the Banteer defensive wall only for the lurking O'Callaghan to rattle the net for the most important strike in a long career that swung the outcome and confirm the John Joe Brosnan Memorial Cup remained adorned in blue and white colours.