Bride best in Munster after mighty battle with McDonaghs

AN HISTORIC day for Bride Rovers, winning the inaugural Munster Intermediate Club hurling title at Kilmallock yesterday - coming five months after they captured their first Cork IHC title last October.

Bride Rovers 0-14 Kilruane McDonaghs 0-11

And if that triumph was special, this one will remain in the psyche for quite some time as it was carved out from sheer guts and determination.

With this game in the balance right up to the final whistle, it was always going to take a special effort to claim the crown, and with Kilruane McDonagh's breathing down their necks right into the two minutes of injury time, the win will be all the more special.

As in the curtain raiser, the wind factor was immense. And being the second game of the day the underfoot conditions also became an issue. With the blustery weather to their backs, the Tipperary side held the initiative early on and with Brian Gaynor - son of Len - accurate from placed balls and county player Mark O'Leary showing his class they pulled away with a 0-8 to 0-5 lead at half time, late replacement for Bride Rovers Jerome O'Driscoll emerging as their tallyman with three pointed frees.

However, wing-back Barry Johnson started the Cork fight back with a splendid long-range point five minutes after the resumption. With further scores from Richard Cahill and O'Driscoll they were just two points in arrears entering the closing quarter. Then, in an amazing four-minute spell, the boys from East Cork shot over six unanswered points, with captain Sean Ryan at full forward particularly impressive.

Kilruane, who were totally outplayed at this stage began to find their feet again and when Willie Darcy found O'Leary with the perfect pass the deficit was reduced to three points with two minutes of play remaining. The Tipp side then camped in the Cork half forcing an outstanding Rover's defence to soak up the pressure, which became more intense when corner back Aidan Collins was red-carded for a high challenge on Gaynor in those closing stages.

Nevertheless, they weathered the storm and fittingly it was sterling wing-back Barry Johnson who came racing out to clear from his back line as full time was called.

Scorers for Bride Rovers: J O'Driscoll 0-5 (0-4 frees), S Ryan 0-3, R Cahill 0-2, B Johnson, B Walsh, T Broderick and P Cotter 0-1 each.

Kilruane McDonaghs: B Gaynor 0-5 (frees), M O'Leary 0-3 (0-1 line ball), P Williams, R Casey and S Williams 0-1 each.

BRIDE ROVERS: D Fitzgerald; A Collins, N Fitzgerald, J Murphy; B Johnson, B Murphy, B Walsh; P Murphy, B Murphy; D Ryan, M Hogan, T Broderick; R Cahill, S Ryan (capt), J O'Driscoll.

Subs: P Cotter for M Hogan (40 mins).

KILRUANE MCDONAGHS: D Lawlor; M Walsh, B England, S Gaynor; P Ryan, P Williams, M Cleary; W Darcy, R McLoughney; M O'Leary, D Cahill, E Morkan; S Williams, B Gaynor, R Casey.

Subs: A Ryan for D Cahill (36 mins), D O'Leary for B Gaynor (b/s 61 mins).

Referee: D Richardson (Limerick).

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