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Russell's strike key to Clans' Killavilla comeback

Clan na Gael Fontenoy required extra-time in finally overcoming a dogged Killavilla by the 1-12 to 1-9 in their Leinster Special Club Junior Hurling Championship quarter-final at O'Toole Park on Sunday afternoon.

Their reward is a semi-final encounter against Sallins on Sunday week and if they can replicate their disciplined defensive showing from the weekend, they'll have a great opportunity in enjoying a prolonged provincial campaign.

The manner of their victory was all the more impressive given that they trailed by 1-6 to 0-3 at the interval but a goal from Tom Russell within minutes of the restart gave the Ringsend men some much-needed momentum.



Stranglehold

From that point on, Clans' defence got on top of their Offaly opponents and restricted them to just three points over the course of the ensuing 50 minutes as they slowly but surely seized a stranglehold of affairs.

Central to their win was the defensive displays of corner-back Oran Burke, Stephen Coleman and Jordan Barnes but they still required a point in dying seconds of normal time from Niall O'Regan to keep their hopes alive.

From that point on, there was only going to be one winner with Killavilla struggling to gain primary possession around the middle third as Anto Quinlan dominated the midfield exchanges for the winners.

Given their monopoly on possession, it was little wonder that their supremacy was finally reflected on the scoreboard with points from Gary O'Connor, Russell and Cormac Connolly enough to see Clans home by three points.

Despite the surface in O'Toole Park not being at its finest, given its busy workload over the weekend, Clans manager David Donnelly was pleased with the application of his charges, especially in coming back from a sizeable deficit in the second-half.

"The pitch wasn't in its best shape and it was a dogged fight all the way through but the lads dug deep and their fitness proved telling in extra-time," said Donnelly.


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