Kildangan snatch victory from jaws of defeat

Kildangan (Tipperary) 2-13 Carrickshock (Kilkenny) 1-13

What drama, what courage, what a way for an All-Ireland title to be won (not lost), but most of all, what a fantastic advert for the game of hurling.

A minute into injury-time and a goal down, Kildangan's hero, centre-back Dan Hackett, had been flung forward to attack in a last desperate measure. He was then stretchered off with an ankle break and it all looked over for the Tipperary champions.

Yet fantastically, defying the odds, in a frantic additional six minutes, Kildangan turned this game upside down, notched 2-1 to a point for Carrickshock, and snatched glorious victory from the jaws of bitter defeat.

Corner-forward Conor Hayes, substituted earlier but brought back into the game to replace the unfortunate Hackett, had the lead role in the comeback. He set up the first of the two injury-time goals, the rebound from his shot falling kindly for Darragh Egan in the third minute of injury-time.

Three minutes later, after a clever overhead flick by Egan that put him clear in front of goal, Hayes struck again and gave Hoyne no chance.

Central to all this good late work also was another Kildangan substitute, the pacy Sean Gleeson. It was all terribly unfair on Carrickshock of course, who contributed so much to a game that started at pace and never let up.

After a ding-dong first half in which there was never more than two points between them, Carrickshock led at the break by a single point, 1-6 to 0-8, their goal coming in the 22nd minute courtesy of Kilkenny senior star Richie Power, who soared to grab a long John Dalton free and goal from about five metres.

Wing-forward Patrick Lynch had three classic points for Kildangan in that period, with corner-forward Darragh Egan adding four more from frees and Jamie Power and Pat Farrell doing most of the damage at the other end, Richie Power far more involved when shifted to centre-forward.

The second-half was just as tight an affair as the first, the hurling still of the highest standard as both sides fought for a decisive lead.

From the 43rd minute however, the Kilkenny champions began to shade that battle, the Kildangan attack held in a choke-hold by an increasingly mean Carrickshock defence, John Tennyson particularly dominant.

At that point Kildangan were ahead 0-12 to 1-8, but four unanswered points saw that lead change hands, 1-12 to 0-12 for Carrickshock, entering the closing minutes.

Significantly, Carrickshock lost Tennyson from the edge of the square at around that time, a shoulder injury necessitating a move to wing-back, unblocking what had been an impregnable route to goal.

Then came injury-time on a glory day for Kildangan and for hurling.

Scorers Kildangan: D. Egan 1-6 (0-5 frees); P. Lynch 0-3; C. Hayes 1-0; T. Connors 0-2; H. Flannery, L.K. Flannery, 0-1 each.

Carrickshock: R. Power 1-3 (0-1 free); J. Moran 0-3; J. Power 0-3; P. Farrell 0-2; M. Rice, J. Dalton, 0-1 each.

KILDANGAN: D. Hogan; B. Lawlor, L. Kelly, M. Ryan; K. Hogan, D. Hackett, G. Slattery (c); B. Kelly, T. Connors; P. Lynch, H. Flannery, J. Maher; D. Egan, E. Nolan, C. Hayes. Subs: L.K. Flannery (Maher 25); B. McLoughlin (Nolan 30); J. Slattery (Hayes 42); S. Gleeson (McLoughlin 56); C. Hayes (Hackett, inj. 62).

CARRICKSHOCK: B. Hoyne; M. Rohan, J. Tennyson, P. Barron; P. Dalton, J. Dalton, J. Murphy; S. Power, P. Tennyson; R. Power, P. Cleary, P. Farrell; J. Power (c), M. Rice, S. Gibbons. Subs: J. Moran (Cleary 21); M. Rohan (S. Power 30+1); R. Frisby (P. Dalton 40); D. Millea (P. Tennyson 53).

Referee: M. Haverty (Galway).

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