They’ve had some close calls in the past, but you’d imagine they never sailed so close to the wind as they did in this decider and only for Kanturk racking up 18 wides, the result could have been so different. The Duhallow side will wonder for a long time why they didn’t nail this one.
“Sometimes it is written in the stars,” said winning coach TJ Ryan. The former Limerick hurler added: “It was to be Kilworth’s day. I suppose there is a little bit of robbery about it alright, but, look, we got a few breaks. When Kanturk look back tonight they will be disappointed with the wides. That’s the way it goes.”
Kanturk took the game to Kilworth, going 1-4 to 0-0 up by the 10th minute. Playing against the elements they were still in pole position leading by four points at the break. Despite being pegged back they were still in a good place near the finish, a point behind — but those wides cost them. They hit eight in the first-half, and 10 thereafter.
Kanturk scored first and then an Ian Walsh goal pushed them seven points clear. They were tight in defence and Lorcán McLoughlin was the standout player at midfield. However, two Adrian Mannix frees helped settle Kilworth, and when Padraigh Lynch was put through by Liam Whelan, his green flag left them a mere two points behind. They were three in arrears five minutes from the half-time whistle.
Kanturk had opportunities but miscued far too many chances. Yet, they increased their advantage with points from Lorcán McLoughlin and Lorcán O’Neill. And when Anthony Nash saved magnificently with a point blank save with the sun in his eyes on 30 minutes, one thought maybe, this could be Kanturk’s day. They then went 1-9 to 1-5 in front.
Kilworth, though, came back out all guns blazing and had a goal within 25 seconds from Noel McNamara — a wonderful individual effort manufactured along the right flank. Game on as they took the lead for the first time and Mannix drove over a brace of points to stretch that advantage.
John McLoughlin and Ian Walsh replied for Kanturk but five unanswered points for the North Cork side and the course of the game changed once again (2-12 to 1-11). Mannix, Noel McNamara and skipper Brian Tobin were all on hand to register some great points. Also, at this stage, Whelan and Dion Cahill had become very influential at midfield, as was Kieran Lane at number six.
But, it all changed once more when Mark Healy slipped his marker Will Twomey and dodged a couple of more defenders before firing a brilliant goal past the keeper from close range. We now had a one-point game entering the final five minutes.
Three minutes of stoppage time was signalled and it was no surprise to see Noel McNamara and Mannix come to the rescue with excellent Kilworth points to make it 2-15 to 2-12. Kanturk tried everything, even brought Nash outfield and while he did land a late free, the wides cost them dearly.
How the north Cork village will celebrate this Paddy Walsh Cup.
Scorers for Kilworth: A Mannix 0-8 (0-5 frees), N McNamara 1-3, P Lynch 1-1, B Tobin 0-2, N Byrne 0-1.
Scorers for Kanturk: I Walsh 1-2, L McLoughlin 0-5 (0-3 frees), M Healy 1-0, L O’Neill 0-2, A Walsh, J McLoughlin, J Browne and A Nash (free) 0-1 each.
KILWORTH: K Walsh; M McNamara, W Twomey, A O’Hara; D McNamara, K Lane, M O’Connor; D Cahill, L Whelan; B Tobin (Capt), J Cahill, N Byrne; P Lynch, N McNamara, A Mannix.
Subs: W Condon for N Byrne (46)
KANTURK: A Nash; E O’Connor, D Duane (Capt), S Walsh; L O’Neill, J McLoughlin, D O’Connor; L McLoughlin, W Murphy; I Walsh, A Walsh, M Healy; A O’Keeffe, J Healy, J Browne.
Subs: D Kearney for W Murphy (55), C Burke for J Browne (60).
Referee: C McAllister (Aghada).