Monday 23 October 2017

Junior hurling final ends all square

Duhallow Junior B Hurling League

Meelin 0-14

Kilbrin 1-11 (AET)

KILBRIN rescued a share of the spoils with arch rivals Meelin a tense but gripping Duhallow Junior B Hurling League Final thanks to Niall Field obliging with a point in the second period of extra time in Newtownshandrum.

Tempers frayed on five players sent off within the opening hour yet the swaying fortunes of the contest made for compelling viewing for the faithful in the damp conditions. Though Kilbrin enjoyed a dream start, they were forced to mount rallies at the end of both normal and extra-time to gather a stalemate.

From the off, Kilbrin had looked razor sharp, availing of the effective play of Neil Cronin, Neilus O'Reilly and Wesley Corkery to lay the foundation for dominance from defence. That spring board allowed the accurate Gavin King pop over points for a 0-4 to 0-0 grip.

Tensions rose, O'Reilly and Meelin's T J Twomey dismissed before Meelin came to grips with their opponents and points to Conor Murphy, Jason O'Callaghan and Ben Collins gained parity. Kilbrin regained a foothold and back to back points from King and Daniel O'Sullivan gathered a 0-7 to 0-5 interval advantage.

Though Meelin lost full-forward Batt Curtin soon after the restart, their momentum rose, boosted by the contributions of an outstanding half-back line in Murphy, Diarmuid Linehan and TJ Twomey. And in attack, James Forrest and O'Callaghan made impressions to shoot lead scores.

Pointed frees to King kept Kilbrin in the hunt before another fiery exchange materialised, playing numbers culled with exit cards for Garrett Lenihan and Meelin's Mike Forrest. Meelin's performing dozen appeared to react to adversary and jumped ahead thanks to white flags raised by James Forrest, O'Callaghan and Collins.

With the excitement reaching fever pitch, Kilbrin mounted a rescue package, Darren Daly's initial effort surperbly blocked by Meelin 'keeper Liam O'Sullivan but from the rebound, Eoin Sheahan goaled to square the tussle 1-9 to 0-12. With both sides back to a full compliment of players, Meelin shaded the first period of extra time with Forrest and Charles Butler on target.

Both sides tired yet Kilbrin's resilience in search of a reprieve gathered a reward and super sub Niall Field performed the business to gather a welcome score and a fitting stalemate at the end of 80 minutes.

KILBRIN: P McMahon; J O'Callaghan, N Cronin, M Sheahan; T Duane, N O'Reilly, W Corkery; M Dennehy, D Daly; D O'Sullivan 0-1, G Linehan, D O'Riordan; G King 0-8 (7f), T Nash, T Mullane Subs: N Field 0-2 for Corkery, E Sheahan 1-0 for Nash, G O'Sulivan for O'Riordan. B O'Mahony, W Corkery

MEELIN: L O'Sullivan; D Jones, M Forrest, S Brosnan; C Murphy 0-4f, D Linehan, T J Twomey; J Duane, B Collins 0-2; D O'Callaghan, J O'Callaghan 0-4 (2f), T Twomey; P O'Sullivan, B Curtin, J Forrest 0-3 Subs: D O'Riordan, M Geaney, C Butler 0-1

Referee: S Stokes (Tullylease)