Twiss points the way
A few nervous minutes towards the end was as much as Miltown/Castlemaine had to endure as they generally had a little in reserve against a game Kilcummin side that might be better served by a drop down to the intermediate ranks for a season or two.
That's not a suggestion that will probably sit too well with the East Kerry club, but it might not be a bad place for them to be right now.
After some considerable county success at minor and under-21 level over the last few seasons there's no doubt that Kilcummin are building a very capable senior team; one that will be very competitive in another couple of years. The problem now, however, is that they don't seem fully equipped for senior championship football right now. On Sunday last they faced the 2011 county intermediate champions and fell to them by five points. It's a fair appraisal of where Kilcummin's level is right now. Miltown/Castlemaine are placed a fraction higher, but that is all.
Either of these teams could make a decent run in this competition or in the county championship later in the year, but we would wager than neither will lift championship silverware in 2013. The Mid Kerry club are riding high in division one of the county league right now; Kilcummin are rooted to the bottom of the division. Both will do well to make a county league final this year.
This migvht sound like a damning appraisal of both these teams, but it isn't meant to be. Wayne Quillinan with Miltown/Castlemaine, and Seanie O'Leary with Kilcummin, will do fine work with their teams this year, and this encounter in Milltown was a competitive, lively and engaging contest. In the end Miltown/Castlemaine had a little more composure, accuracy and determination to win out and be the first team to reach the semi-finals of this club championship. As has been the case often times before, the free taking of Ian Twiss proved central to Miltown/Castlemaine's cause, with the veteran forward converting four free kicks, along with two smart points from play. Cathal Moriarty, too, made a telling contribution of a goal and two points.
Kilcummin had their potential match winners too, with Kevin McCarthy scoring three fine points in the second half to keep Kilcummin in the hunt after they trailed by five points at half time and fell eight points behind early in the second half.
Kieran Murphy's goal in the 48th minute tightened up matters but Shane McSweeney's 59th minute shot hit the Miltown/Castlemaine crossbar at a stage when Kilcummin still trailed by five and needed another green flag raised to give themselves any chance in the closing moments.
Miltown/Castlemaine took the early initiative with a strong wind advantage and raced into a 0-3 to 0-0 lead before Kilcummin settled in and began poicking off a couple of scores. The visitors lost their full back Tommy Brosnan to an injury after just 10 minutes, while Miltown/Castlemaine lost their cente back, Nigel Wrenn to injury 10 minutes later. At that stage the hosts led 0-5 to 0-2. Kieran Murphy's converted free and a neat score from wing back Damian O'Leary cut the margin to the minimum before the ever industrious Jerome Flynn set up Cathal Moriarty for a well taken goal that helped Miltown/Castlemaine to a 1-6 to 0-4 half time lead.
Early second half points from Ian Twiss (two frees) and Shane Murphy stretched the eventual winner's lead to eight points before Kevin McCarthy and Gary O'Leary combined well to set up Kieran Murphy to slap the ball past Joe Daly in the Miltown/Castlemaine goal.
Two more Twiss frees kept the host's seven clear before Kilcummin struck for three quick scores to make it a four-point game.
With time running out McSweeney's shot cannoned back off the Miltown/Castlemaine crossbar when a goal would have left just two points between the teams and made for an anxious few minutes for the home side, who were well served by full back Damian Murphy, Pa Wren at wing back, Marcus Mangan at midfield, and most of their forward line, including Colm Kerins and Donal Kelliher who were introduced as subs.
Kevin McCarthy hit a 60th minute score to leave four between the teams, but another great servant of this Miltown/Castlemaine team, Derek Twiss, fisted an injury-time point to ensure his team's passage to the last four of this championship.
For Kilcummin it leaves the county championship and the county league as the main items on their agenda for the rest of the year.
Milltown/Castlemaine: Joe Daly, Niall Colgan, Damian Murphy, John Blennerhassett, Paul Carroll, Nigel Wrenn, Pa Wren, Mike Burke, Marcus Mangan, Jeremiah Hayes, Shane Murphy (0-1), Jerome Flynn (0-2, 1f), Cathal Moriarty (1-2), Colin McKenna (0-1), Ian Twiss (0-6, 4f). Subs: Donal Kelliher for N Wrenn (inj), Colm Kerins (0-1) for McKenna, Jonathan O'Connor for Colgan, Kieran McKenna for Hayes, Derek Twiss (0-1) for Moriarty.
Kilcummin: Brendan Kealy, Sean Brosnan, Tommy Brosnan, Donal Maher, Chris O'Leary, Daniel O'Leary, Damien O'Leary (0-1), Shane McSweeney, Kevin Gorman (0-1), Enda O'Sullivan, Kieran Murphy (1-1, 0-1f), Jeremiah Sheehan (0-1f), Gary O'Leary (0-1), DJ Fleming (0-1), Kevin McCarthy (0-3). Subs: Tommy Cooper for T Brosnan (inj), Noel Duggan for Maher.
Referee: Eamon Lenihan (Annascaul)