Under 15A Hurling Championship Final
Kilmaley 2-14 Inagh-Kilnamona 2-10
The greatest current rivalry in underage hurling took another significant leap forward on Sunday as Kilmaley edged a compelling end-to-end decider over neighbours Inagh-Kilnamona. Having been edged out after a replay in last year’s decider, Kilmaley eventually exacted full retribution to add to the recent Under 16A title garnered over the same opposition but it was far from straightforward.
It’s actually a pity that there had to be winner and loser as the skill level and healthy intensity of both sides made this an underage final of the the highest quality. However, wishful thinking aside, following a seesaw first half that finished level and a succession of early goal chances on the restart, it was Kilmaley that finally snatched the decisive whip hand in the 39th minute following a foul on Sean Ronan that earned a penalty. Darragh Hickey stepped up only to find goalkeeper Shane Dowling in superb shot stopping form once more but crucially the ball wasn’t cleared and instead presented itself to Oisin Cahill who duly pulled the rebound to the net to give Kilmaley a 2-9 to 1-8 cushion.
It would prove not only an inspirational score for Kilmaley but equally a deflating blow for Inagh-Kilnamona who would go on to concede five of the next six points in a nine minute spell to ensure a match-winning eight point cushion for the blue half of the divide. And despite Inagh-Kilnamona bouncing off the ropes late on to produce a rousing late recovery including a Keelan Guyler wondergoal, time ultimately ran out as Kilmaley clung on for a second Under 15A title in three years.
Up to that turning point, the game was played at breakneck speed with both sides having their periods of dominance in the opening 35 minutes. An Aidan McCarthy free opened the scoring in the third minute, only for Kilmaley to finally settle with a brace of Hickey points before Guyler duly equalised for a second time.
From the puck-out, Oisin Cahill bore down on goal but his shot just cleared the crossbar, a missed opportunity that their neighbours certainly didn’t pass up at the other end as a Cian Shannon shot for a point was half blocked into the path of the lively Guyler who attracted the last line before popping a pass inside to the unmarked Caoibhlin O’Dea at the edge of the square to fire to an empty net at 1-2 to 0-3. It would the perfect confidence jolt as Inagh-Kilnamona backed by scores from all their main performers Shannon (2), Guyler and captain McCarthy secured a five point advantage by the 17th minute.
Kilmaley quickly shuffled their pack, bringing out Cahill to centre-forward and along with impressive midfielder Gearoid O’Grady, they began to turn the tide once more. A brace of points each sandwiched a goal for O’Grady as he burst through the centre before billowing the net via the unlucky hurley of Dowling on their way to pulling level at 1-8 to 1-8 by the break.
With barely enough time to take in an enthralling opening half, the teams exchanged four goals chances on the resumption, three of which were carved out by Inagh-Kilnamona who were crucially missing the injured Tom Barry. Had any or all of those been converted, the narrative of this decider could have been much different but as it was, a Guyler pull from point-blank range was somehow stopped on the line by Kilmaley goalkeeper Ryan Murphy, Cian Shannon found the side-netting in the next passage of play while a pass from O’Dea to the unmarked Guyler was just too long for him to pounce only minutes later. Up the other end, Oisin Cahill was still the man to watch despite being superbly marked and often bettered by Marc Barry. Indeed, it was on one such soloing run from defence that Barry was dispossessed by Cahill’s persistence before offloading to Daniel Walsh whose bullet effort cannoned off the crossbar and bounced on the line before the quick reactions of Dowling cleared the danger.
The first score of the half eventually arrived in the 37th minute through a Hickey free and once Kilmaley raided for that seemingly elusive second goal, they would never look back on their way to another underage feat.
Kilmaley: Ryan Murphy; Enda Haren, Aaron Moloney (joint Captain), Eoin Clancy; Oisin Looney, Bradley Higgins, Padraig O’Donoghue; Gearoid O’Grady (1-2), Darragh Hickey (0-5 3f); Damien Lynch (0-1), John Finnucane, Conor Devitt (0-2); Peter Ronan (Joint Captain), Oisin Cahill (1-4), Daniel Walsh
Subs: Sean Ronan for Haren (19 mins, inj), Aaron Gavin for Clancy (26 mins), Keenan Quinn for O’Donoghue (61 mins), Paudi Hehir for Lynch (63 mins)
Inagh-Kilnamona: Shane Dowling; Dean Lynch, Marc Barry, Conor Leyden; Jason Griffin, Aidan McCarthy (Captain) (0-3f), Padraig Devitt; Niall Glynn, Liam Hehir; Conner Hegarty (0-1), Caoibhlin O’Dea (1-0), Diarmuid King (0-1); Darragh Power (0-1), Cian Shannon (0-2), Keelan Guyler (1-2)
Sub: Colm Kearney for Griffin (42 mins)
Player of the Game: Oisin Cahill (Kilmaley)
Referee: Jarlath Donnellan (Wolfe Tones)
Underage Hurling Results
Under 13 Bord na nÓg Shield Final
St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield (2) 3-6 Sixmilebridge (2) 1-6
Under 15A Championship Final
Kilmaley 2-14 Inagh-Kilnamona 2-10
Under 15B Championship Semi-Final
Éire Óg 3-13 Banner 2-09
Under 15C Championship Final
O’Callaghan’s Mills 4-13 Smith O’Brien’s 2-08
Kerry Group Minor B Championship Final
Bodyke/O’Callaghan’s Mills 2-14 Scariff-Ogonnelloe 2-10
Kerry Group Minor B Shield Final
Whitegate 3-19 Clooney-Quin 1-11
Kerry Group Minor C Shield Semi-Final
Broadford/Smith O’Brien’s (2) 2-21 Meelick 2-08
Underage Hurling Fixtures
Under 15B Championship Final
Ballyea v Éire Óg @ Newmarket, Saturday 2pm (Chris Maguire, Wolfe Tones)
Supermacs (Ennis) Under 16C Championship Final Replay
Bodyke v O’Callaghan’s Mills @ Newmarket, Saturday 3.30pm (Joe Mullins, Clonlara)
Supermacs (Ennis) Under 16 Bord na nÓg Shield Final
Kilmaley (2) v Inagh-Kilnamona (2) @ Clooney, Saturday 1pm (Joe O’Donnell, Cratloe)
Kerry Group Minor A Championship Final
Wolfe Tones v Broadford/Smith O’Brien’s @ Sixmilebridge, Sunday 12pm (Rory Hickey, Eire Óg)
Kerry Group Minor C Championship Final
Kilmaley (2) v Scariff @ Clooney, Saturday 2.30pm (Wayne King, St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield)
Please text all results to Tom Sheehan 086 1551172
Concepta Uí Chonchuir, Runai