Gorman and Currams lead the way in rout of Rangers
Leinster club SHC semi-final: Kilcormac/K 2-21 ML Rangers 0-10
Kilcormac/Killoughey found their groove yesterday in dismantling Mount Leinster Rangers by 17 points and it looks like coming just in time as they now prepare to slay the reigning Leinster and All-Ireland club hurling champions in the provincial final.
Cuala will be their opponents on Sunday week as the Offaly champions embark on their third Leinster club final in six years having won it in 2012 and suffered defeat in 2014.
Similar to their quarter-final win over Castletown Geoghegan, Kilcormac/Killoughey came alive after they were reduced to 14 men on 25 minutes with key midfielder Cillian Kiely shown a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident with Diarmuid Byrne.
At that juncture, they led 0-6 to 0-4 but by the time Mount Leinster Rangers were reduced to 14 themselves with 15 minutes to go following David Phelan's dismissal, Kilcormac/Killoughey had the game sewn up with a lead of 2-15 to 0-6.
It was extremely impressive stuff from Stephen Byrne's men. From their tenacious defending to a forward unit really on song, they always looked the likely winners in a game that had a bite and physical edge to it all afternoon.
While the margin and scoreline surprised Byrne, their performance didn't.
"Everything went for us but we worked very hard for this game," he said.
"During the year people were saying that they might have seen the best of Kilcormac/Killoughey, in particular some of the older lads, but we always knew they had that performance in them.
"To go down to 14 men and produce that second-half performance, but we were solid in the first half too, defensively we have been good all year but compared to the last day, we were getting to the ball and the breaks quicker and the work rate was exceptional.
"You have to prepare for these scenarios. At the end of the day, you wouldn't have expected them to put up the score that they did put up but we went in at half-time and you could feel it, even before the game you could feel the intensity in the warm-up and you feel that they were going to produce."
Their second-half display was a real tour de force with James Gorman and Dan Currams unmarkable. The pair struck 2-8 (all from play) between them as they blitzed their Carlow counterparts who only scored six points in the second half in response to the 1-13 from the double Ks.
After a competitive opening half, the Offaly champions began to steal a march on their opponents before Kiely's sending off but the crucial score came three minutes before the break when Conor Mahon burnt his man for speed before unleashing a shot that brought a super save out of Frank Foley, only for James Gorman to be on hand to fire the rebound to the net before going in to lead 1-8 to 0-4 at the break.
Despite being at a numerical disadvantage for the opening 15 minutes of the second half, it was during this period that they drove home their dominance with 1-8 in reply to just two points from the Carlow men.
Dan Currams grabbed the goal and Stephen Byrne was full of praise for the ace attacker.
"From the likes of Dan's point of view and others too who have been criticised for their performances over the years, we spoke about this and about giving your best," he said.
"He is a chap that looks after himself unbelievably well and there are others too.
"Thomas Geraghty has had a great year and Jordan Quinn has come in and had a fantastic year.
"At the start of the year, Jordan himself didn't think that he was a senior hurler. As a unit they are a fantastic bunch of lads."
With a facile win under their belts, their former All-Ireland-winning manager knows that Cuala will be a massive step up.
"We are going into a game where we will be completely written off," he said.
"We are in a position where we won't be favourites but having said that, we have a bit of work to do over the next few weeks and we won't be going in there lightly."
Scorers - Kilcormac/Killoughey: J Gorman 1-5; D Currams 1-3; Ciaran Slevin 0-5 (5f); C Mahon 0-3; P Geraghty 0-2; C Kiely, S Leonard, T Geraghty 0-1 each. Mount Leinster Rangers: C Nolan 0-4 (2f); D Byrne 0-2 (1f); P Coady, D Murphy, T Joyce, J Nolan 0-1 each.
Kilcormac/Killoughey: Conor Slevin; K Leonard, G Healion, E Grogan; K Grogan, D Kilmartin, J Quinn; Ciaran Slevin, C Kiely; J Gorman, C Mahon, T Geraghty; P Geraghty, P Healion, D Currams. Subs: S Leonard (for P Healion 18m), A McConville (for K Leonard 50m), J Geraghty (for K Grogan 52m), S Lowry (for D Kilmartin 55m), S Guinan (for D Currams 55m).
Mount Leinster Rangers: F Foley; W Hickey, R Kelly, M Doyle; E Coady, D Phelan, G Kelly; D Byrne, R Coady; P Coady, J Murphy, E Byrne; D Murphy, C Nolan, T Joyce. Subs: M Malone (for W Hickey 18m), K McDonald (for R Coady 26m), G Lawlor (for E Coady H/T), J Nolan (for D Murphy H/T).
Referee: J O'Brien (Laois).