Raharney 1-8 Kilcormac-Killoughey 1-13
2012 Leinster club champions Kilcormac-Killoughey eventually overcame the challenge of Westmeath winners Raharney this afternoon at Cusack Park in Mullingar.
However, they were pushed to the pin of their collar by the home side who were far more competitive than the final score suggests.
Two magnificent scores from minor star Killian Doyle midway through the second half, following on from a first half goal by his twin brother Ciarán, put Raharney withing touching distance of becoming the first Westmeath club to reach a Leinster senior club hurling final, but they failed to take any of the chances that came their way in the closing stages and allowed their Offaly counterparts to edge in front before Dan Currams’ goal with the last puck of the ball settled the tie.
It was rough justice on the home side who were more than a match for Kilcormac-Killoughey throughout this tie, forcing the favourites into a string of uncharacteristic errors, including a failure to deal with a high ball that led to Ciarán Doyle’s opportunist goal after eight minutes.
Kilcormac-Killoughey responded admirably to that early setback, picking off five of the next six points to build up an 0-7 to 1-2 lead. Peter Geraghty’s sideline cut and Cillian Kiely’s neat snapshot were the highlights and when Ciarán Slevin split the posts from thirty metres out to add the last of that quintet, it looked as if the away side were well set to push on.
Instead some poor handling in their full back line, brought about by intense Raharney pressure and the difficulty in playing into a fiercely bright low sun, helped the Westmeath club to pick off two points and draw level by half time.
Neither side was particularly accurate in the second half and there were some disappointing wides at both ends of the Cusack Park field, however the brilliance of Killian Doyle’s two scores was enough to send the large Raharney share of the 4,181 attendance into a frenzy.
Another outstanding score from Ciarán Doyle made it 1-8 to 0-9 with just seven minutes remaining, while none of the Kilcormac-Killoughey forwards were making any impact on the tie at this stage.
Ciarán Slevin had missed two very scorable frees up to that point but he came good with two placed balls either side of a glorious Cillian Kiely point to edge the visitors back in front with two minutes to play.
Even playing from behind, Raharney had their chances to sneak a win, most notably when Killian Doyle tried to find Brian Connaughton with a handpass in front of goal but the sliothar dropped just a yard too far in front of the substitute. However they failed to make their vital breakthrough and instead paid a penalty for pushing forward late on when Dan Currams was left isolated some thirty yards from the Raharney goal and he soloed through empty space and blasted the sliothar to their net with the last puck of the game.
Raharney: A Doyle; T Doyle, C Jordan, D Giles; G Greville, P Greville, A Sheils; N Flanagan, C Boyle; J Boyle (0-1), K Doyle (0-3, 0-1 free), R Greville; C Doyle (1-3, 0-1 free), B Smyth, J Shaw (0-1).
Subs: C Flanagan for T Doyle (35), F Boyle for Smyth (38), B Connaughton for Flanagan (47). Kilcormac-Killoughey: Conor Slevin; Con Mahon, G Healion, A McConville; K Grogan, P Healion, B Leonard (0-1); D Kilmartin, K Leonard; Ciaran Slevin (0-9, 0-5 frees), Conor Mahon, C Kiely (0-2); J Gorman, D Currams (1-0), P Geraghty (0-1, sideline).
Sub: T Geraghty for Gorman (39).
Referee: David Hughes (Carlow)