Fourteen man Kilbrin triumph
E Tarrant & Sons Skoda Dealer Duhallow JAHC semi final - Kilbrin 2-23, Banteer 3-18
A flying start and a strong finish allowed a fourteen man Kilbrin get the better of Banteer in a rousing E Tarrant & Sons Skoda Dealer Duhallow Junior A Hurling Championship semi final at Millstreet.
Neither side were found wanting in terms of application and the outcome went right down to the wire. However, Kilbrin deserved their victory because they made economical use of the ball, taking their scoring opportunities better than a Banteer side left to regret missed chances.
Operating without a number of regulars owing to injury and unavailability, Kibrin's victory owed much for hard work and self belief.
Again, they lost players in this clash yet Kilbrin were in such a defiant mood that they ignored every negative and worked really hard to carve out a narrow but deserved win.
Banteer will be understandably be disappointed to lose yet it took them time to get to into the speed of the contest. And though grabbing goals at key stages, they were short of their best, Kilbrin's sharpness confirmed on registering just three wides during the entire contest.
Indeed Kilbrin displayed intensity from the word go, William Heffernan placed Wesley Corkery for a goal inside the opening minute. That settled Kilbrin into their stride, improvising well from the positive play of Cillian Buttimer, Thomas O'Reilly, Michael Buckley, Shane Crowley and Stephen O'Reilly to jump ahead 1-6 to 0-3.
Banteer improved and breathed fresh life into their challenge after Alan Coughlan created the space for David Murphy to net. Though Kilbrin answered with points to O'Reilly and Corkery, Banteer kept up the pressure from Murphy and Roche to reduce the leeway 1-11 to 1-10 at the break.
On the restart, Banteer picked up where they had left off, Roche and Coughlan delivered points. And though Kilbrin regained the lead, Banteer offered renewed determination under the capable hands of Martin Kearney, Brendan Withers, Conor and David Murphy. Indeed Banteer grabbed a second goal, a terrific burst allowed Kevin Tarrant find the target.
As the excitement mounted, Kilbrin responded with a vengeance, from a Crowley sideline, the sliothar fell nicely into place for the hard working William Heffernan to net.
And with O'Reilly doing no wrong from placed balls and general play, Kilbrin looked nicely positioned.
However, Banteer were thrown a number of lifelines, Kilbrin down a player after the dismissal of David O'Sullivan. That gave Banteer a spark of hope, Kilbrin 'keeper Eamon O'Riordan saved brilliantly from Tarrant and Roche only for Luke Philpott net at the third attempt.
The tension rose and every tussle was contested with physicality and intensity. Points from Heffernan and O'Reilly pointed yet they incurred a let off, Tarrant blasting over the crossbar from the close range.
In a frantic finish, a late O'Reilly pointed free rubberstamped Kilbrin's position into the decider against Newmarket.
KILBRIN: E O'Riordan; C Buttimer 0-1, T O'Reilly, B Power; T Mullane, M Buckley, C Carroll; T Cantillon, W Corkery 1-1; D O'Sullivan, S Crowley 0-3, N Field 0-2; S O'Reilly 0-15 (12f), T O'Riordan, W Heffernan 1-1. Subs: T O'Brien for T Cantillon (inj), G King for T O'Riordan, D Daly for B Power
BANTEER: K Roche; K Sexton, M Kearney, J McAulliffe; R O'Connor, B Weathers, C Murphy; J Sexton, D Murphy 1-3; D Kearney 0-1, K Tarrant 1-2, T Sexton; A Coughlan 0-2, E O'Flynn, D Roche 0-9 (6f). Subs: C O'Donoughue for T Sexton, L Philpott 1-0 for J Sexton, C Coughlan for J McAulliffe, T Sexton for A Coughlan
Referee: S Stokes (Tullylease)