Late surge powers Kilburn Gaels into decider

Kilburn Gaels (London) 0-11 Cappataggle (Galway) 0-10: AIB All-Ireland Club IHC semi-final: Kilburn Gaels remain in the hunt to become only the second London team to win the All-Ireland Club IHC crown after beating Cappataggle at the Gaelic Grounds yesterday.

The winners edged this knife-edge battle with the Galway champions thanks to a powerful surge 10 minutes from time. After winning the toss and playing with a stiff breeze in the first-half the Exiles led 0-7 to 0-4 at the interval.

Ironically the Galway representation didn’t end with Cappataggle as their opponents were backboned by three Gort natives – goalkeeper Kris Finnegan, centre-back Brian Regan and corner-forward Keith Killilea – along with freetaker Stephen Lambert from Kilbecanty.

And it was Lambert that did most of the damage before the break, landing four frees. An early Alan Dolan free for Cappy was cancelled out by a Lambert 65, before James Egan’s excellent point from the right touchline gave Kilburn – who beat Kilkenny champions Mullinavat in the quarter-final – a 0-2 to 0-1 lead.

Darragh Dolan linked well with Alan Dolan for the equaliser soon after, but Killilea levelled with a great score over his shoulder in the 16th minute. Two Alan Dolan frees seemed to settle the east Galway club, but Kilburn fired four in a row before the interval to lead by three at the break. Cappataggle charged out on the restart and had pulled level by the 34th minute on eight points apiece with Alan and Darragh Dolan along with Damien Joyce catching the eye.

Then came a sensational 60 seconds of action. Cappataggle goalkeeper James Skehill denied Peter Kennedy a goal with a tremendous save. The rebound fell to Killilea, who was upended by Skehill and a penalty was awarded.

But the custodian made amends for his indiscretion easily saveing Killilea’s week effort. Five minutes later Skehill pulled off another stunning save to deny Egan, but Kilburn continued to turn the screw on the Galway men.

Lambert eventually pushed the Londoners ahead with a 47th minute 65 and tagged on an easy free moments later, before Egan slotted a great point from the left to give a three point cushion to Gales.

Skehill fired a 21 metre free over the bar in added time, before Alan Dolan landed a long range point, but the clock beat Cappataggle as Gaels made it to a first All-Ireland Club final.

Scorers for Kilburn Gaels: S Lambert 0-6 (4f, 2’65), J Egan 0-2, M Duggan 0-2, K Killilea 0-1.

Scorers for Cappataggle:A Dolan 0-7 (5f), D Dolan 0-2, J Skehill 0-1 (1f).

KILBURN GAELS: K Finnegan; C Hickey, L Gaule, C McAlinden; N Brophy, B Regan, K Kennedy; H Vaughan, B Kiely; S Lambert, J Egan,M Duggan; K Killilea, M O’Dwyer, P Kennedy.

Subs: N McDonnell for Kiely (60).

CAPPATAGGLE: J Skehill; M Broiderick, T Broderick, D Cronin; A Loughnane, P Claffey, K Kelly; D Joyce, J Garvey; D Dolan, A Dolan, E Garvey; R Garvey, P Egan, D Nevin.

Subs: D Loughnane for Egan (half-time), J Mannion for E Garvey (45), S Creaven for R Garvey (53), M Loughnane for D Loughnane (59).

Referee: Declan O’Driscoll (Limerick).

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