Sunday 18 March 2018

Horgan points way as 'the Glen' end 40-year wait for Munster final

Munster club SHC semi-final: Glen Rovers 0-15 Patrickswell 0-14

Brian Moylan of Glen Rovers takes on Kevin O’Brien (left) and Cian Lynch. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Brian Moylan of Glen Rovers takes on Kevin O’Brien (left) and Cian Lynch. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Jackie Cahill

All of that history and tradition, and it's taken Glen Rovers 40 years to return to an AIB Munster senior club hurling final.

But they're back, and in with more than a fighting chance of winning a fourth provincial crown on November 20.

They went from 1989 to 2015 without tasting success in Cork and, after finally getting that monkey off their backs, fell at the penultimate hurdle in Munster last year. Indeed, before yesterday, no Cork team had won a game in the Munster senior club championship since 2009, when Newtownshandrum won it.

But the Glen, three-time Munster champions, are intent on writing fresh history, and you could see how much yesterday's win meant to them.

Club stalwart Tomás Mulcahy whooped and hollered as he grabbed manager Ritchie Kelleher in an affectionate headlock.

Kelleher was Mulcahy's right-hand man a decade ago when they worked together and the bond remains strong.

Glen Rovers' Patrick Horgan in action against Nigel Foley of Patrickswell. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Glen Rovers' Patrick Horgan in action against Nigel Foley of Patrickswell. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

"Dowtcha kid!" exclaimed Mulcahy as the pair danced down the tunnel together towards an overjoyed, and presumably relieved, dressing-room.

This one was hard-earned, could have gone either way but on the balance of play, probably fell on the right side.

County star Patrick Horgan showed incredible leadership to win a late free when surrounded by a posse of Patrickswell defenders that he had no right to win.

He did the needful from the resultant free and in the 58th minute, Rovers led for the first time in the game, 0-14 to 0-13.

Diarmaid Byrnes of Patrickswell. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Diarmaid Byrnes of Patrickswell. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Conor Dorris arced over a delicious point from the left flank to put them two points clear and while Aaron Gillane responded for Patrickswell in the second minute of stoppage time, the clock was against them.

Rovers held out and 'Well manager and ex-Limerick star Gary Kirby had no complaints.

A first county title in 13 years was good enough for them this year and Kirby confirmed after the game that he will continue in the role next year alongside coach Declan Fitzgerald.

In recent days, there had been some speculation linking Kirby with the vacant Laois post but that's now put to bed.

Kirby said: "It was all about winning a county - 13 years is a long time.

"We put everything into it to win it. They celebrated for two or three days, (that) had nothing to do with today, we had five very good sessions coming in here.

"I felt that they were in the very same state of mind as the county final. We just didn't take the chances."

Enough of them presented themselves over the course of game, certainly in terms of goal opportunities.

Cian Lynch flashed a shot wide early on when 2,761 spectators expected the net to bulge and Rovers goalkeeper Cathal Hickey performed heroics in the second half to deny first Thomas O'Brien and later Seanie O'Brien, with Lar Considine pulling wide from the latter's initial strike.

On the flip-side, Rovers had nine first-half wides, Horgan shooting three of them, but after missing a couple of frees, he found his range.

Patrickswell had the icy breeze in the first half and needed to be more ahead at the break.

A 0-7 to 0-4 lead was probably not enough, as Kirby later acknowledged, and the door was ajar for Rovers.

They got level at 0-9 each in the 39th minute, Horgan slotting over a free, and he was also responsible for the leveller eight minutes from time as the sides were 0-13 apiece.

Hickey's was the next crucial intervention to beat away Seanie O'Brien's batted effort and it was a massive moment.

Kelleher said: "He's been doing that for us all year. Cathal Hickey is a serious goalkeeper. I thought they were two certain goals the way they came through at us. For him to stop both shows his calibre."

Then it was over to Horgan, class personified.

Kelleher smiled: "We are mad about him. He knows where the posts are and he's going for the jugular."

Scorers - Glen Rovers: P Horgan 0-8 (6f), D Brosnan, C Dorris & D Busteed 0-2 each, D Cronin 0-1. Patrickswell: A Gillane 0-6 (4f), D Byrnes 0-3 (2 '65s, 1f), T O'Brien 0-2, C Lynch, J Kelleher & K O'Brien 0-1 each.

GLEN ROVERS - C Hickey; C Healy, S McDonnell, G Moylan; D Dooling, B Moylan, G Callanan; D Cronin, D Noonan; D Brosnan, P Horgan, D Cunningham; C Dorris, C O'Brien, D Busteed. Sub: B Phelan for O'Brien (44).

PATRICKSWELL - B Murray; N Carmody, J Mann, T Nolan; M Carmody, D Byrnes, N Foley; J Kelleher, B Foley; A Gillane, S O'Brien, C Lynch; T O'Brien, K O'Brien L Considine. Subs: J Flynn for B Foley (48), P Harty for Considine (58).

Ref - R McGann (Clare)

Irish Independent

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