Thursday 21 November 2019

Kieran's march on after supersubs turn the tide

St Kieran's, Kilkenny 4-22 St Brigid's, Loughrea 2-22

Conor Murphy of St Kieran's, Kilkenny
Conor Murphy of St Kieran's, Kilkenny

John Fallon

All-Ireland cols sh 'a' q/f: Kilkenny teams have been past masters at using subs to telling effect and the introduction of Conor Murphy and Conor O'Carroll helped swing this exciting clash in favour of the most prolific winners of the competition.

St Kieran's, record Croke Cup victors with 18 All-Ireland titles, have had to play second fiddle to their arch-rivals Kilkenny CBS for the past few years.

But they kept alive a chance of ultimate glory when coming from behind at Birr on Saturday when subs Murphy and O'Carroll hit 2-7 between them.

They came from seven points down after just 21 minutes to force extra-time in the final play of the game.

And then the renowned Kilkenny nursery made the most of the opportunity to hit Galway side St Brigid's for a couple of goals in extra-time and advance to the semi-finals.

St Brigid's looked poised for victory when Johnny Conroy netted to put them 1-8 to 0-4 ahead after 21 minutes.

They looked to have match-winners in Galway minors Brian Molloy, who finished with 0-14, and Eanna Burke, a young member of the St Thomas' club which won the All-Ireland club title this weekend last year.

But St Kieran's responded and a Tadhg O'Dwyer goal reduced the deficit to 1-9 to 1-5 at the interval.

The introduction of Murphy and O'Carroll made a big difference but, with the sides level with two minutes remaining, it was Molloy who hit a couple of points for St Brigid's, before Jarlath Mannion put three between them in the dying moments.

But O'Carroll levelled in stoppage-time with a goal and when Molloy again edged St Brigid's in front, Murphy tied the game with a free at 1-17 to 2-14.

David Mangan was sent off for St Brigid's at the start of extra-time and St Kieran's pulled away with goals from captain James Maher and a second from O'Carroll to seal the win.

Scorers – St Kieran's: J Maher 1-4, C O'Carroll 2-1, C Murphy 0-6 (3fs, 1 '65), T O'Dwyer 1-1, L Blanchfield, B Cody 0-3 each, K Blanchfield 0-2, R Leahy, B Ryan 0-1 each. St Brigid's: B Molloy 0-14 (8fs), E Burke 1-4 (0-1f), J Conroy 1-0, J Mannion 0-3, L Kelly 0-1.

St Kieran's, Kilkenny – J Barcoe; J Keoghan, J Cleere, T Walsh; M Cody, D Mullen, E Walsh; K Blanchfield, J Byrne; L Blanchfield, J Maher, N Walsh; R Donnelly, B Cody, T O'Dwyer. Subs: J Haines for M Cody (24), C Murphy for Byrne (30), C O'Carroll for Donnelly (30), B Ryan for O'Dwyer (56), R Leahy for Haines (71).

St Brigid's, Loughrea – D Gilligan; C Gibbons, J Mooney, G McHugo; C Jennings, D Cronin, F Burke; S Roche, D Nevin; D Mangan, E Burke, J Conroy; J Mannion, B Molloy, T Molloy.

Subs: M Lynch for Conroy (57), L Kelly for Roche (68).

Ref – C McAllister (Cork).

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