Kelly the hero as Ballyragget take title spoils
Ballyragget 0-19 Glenealy 1-15, Leinster IHC Final
St Patrick's of Ballyragget had luck on their side when roaring back from the jaws of defeat to score a thrilling win in the Leinster club intermediate final, but their manager, Jim Lyng, was delighted with the effort.
"Never before did a team put us under such pressure, but we showed real character to survive," the former Dublin star insisted. "Glenealy were terrific. They out-hurled us at times. They were an absolute credit to Wicklow."
In the end, which came after nearly 64 minutes, Glenealy were beaten by a point from a free by Kilkenny senior player, Kevin Kelly, which arrived more than two minutes into added time at Nowlan Park on Saturday, when extra-time looked on the cards.
In the run-up to that score, the Wicklow champions had a man sent off for committing the foul that led to Kelly's score, but it had no bearing on the outcome of a contest that sizzled from start to finish.
The match ratcheted up a notch in the 45th minute, when Wayne O'Gorman showed his poaching instincts by clipping home a breaking ball from the edge of the square to push Glenealy 1-11 to 0-12 in front.
When John Manley pointed on 49 minutes, the losers were 1-13 to 0-13 clear, and they had the opposition in serious.
However, the Cats stormed back. A pair of points from Kelly (pictured) and Seoirse Kenny cut the gap to the minimum. For a while, the gap alternated between one and two points before Brian 'Brook' Phelan levelled it with a fine point score for St Pat's beyond the hour mark.
Then up popped Kelly to shoot the winner that earned the ticket into the All-Ireland semi-final place against Tooreen (Mayo).
Glenealy played a high tempo game from the off, and they used the ball well. They led twice during the first half, and shared parity three times. In the end, a late point from Joe Brennan gave St Pat's an interval lead of 0-9 to 0-8 after playing against the breeze.
The real fireworks were still to come, however, as the second half turned into a thriller.
Scorers - St Patrick's, Ballyragget: K Kelly 0-11 (10f); S Kenny, M Brennan, B 'Brook' Phelan 0-2 each; J Brennan, P Brennan 0-1 each. Glenealy: J O'Neill 0-8 (8f); W O'Gorman 1-0; R Byrne 0-2; J Manley, J Byrne, E Glynn, L Glynn, G Weir 0-1 each.
St Patrick's, Ballyragget - M Gannon; J Mooney, G Morrissey, M Staunton; G Brennan, S Staunton, B Staunton; R Healy, J Gannon; M Brennan, S Kenny, P Brennan; J Brennan, K Kelly, B 'Brook' Phelan. Subs: P McEvoy for G Morrissey; C Delaney for J Brennan; S Mooney for R Healy; E Bergin for C Delaney.
Glenealy - K Snell; E Byrne, W Kavanagh, R O'Neill; G Byrne, D Staunton, T Doyle; J O'Neill (snr), J Manley; R Byrne, J Byrne, E Glynn; J O'Neill (jnr), A Driver, L Glynn. Subs: L Kavanagh for R O'Neill, A Conyard for J O'Neill (jn), W O'Gorman for Driver, G Weir for L Glynn, P O'Brien for E Glynn.
Referee - S Stack (Dublin).