AIB Munster Club IHC final
It might be November, but it was end to end. There were so many trials and tribulations. Kanturk corner-back Paul Walsh soloed up field to fire the equaliser at the end of normal time. Then, Cian Moloney had a chance from a free in the dying moments of extra-time to send the game to the replay but his shot tailed wide.
There was drama even before the game started. Lorcán McLoughlin injured his shoulder in the warm-up and didn’t start. He received medical attention and came into the fray after six minutes. He went on to score four points with the free-taking duties taken over by chief-scorer Liam O’Keeffe. Ultimately, it was O’Keeffe’s goal in the third quarter that proved decisive.
An exhausted Aidan Walsh said it was team spirit that drove them on.
“When the final whistle came I said how can I go for another 20 minutes? We thought we had it, and then they would come back again. But the spirit we have drives each other on.
“It is hard to put this into words, it has been an unbelievable year and we are not done yet. The way we won it, it is just relief. All year we have gone in as underdogs. That suits us. Every day we prove to people we are the real deal.”
Six weeks ago, Kanturk were crowned Cork Premier IHC champions, three weeks later they won the Cork IFC title, and now provincial honours. Their remarkable journey continues.
They edged the first half. They were sharper and stronger and used the open space. The teams were tied 0-4 apiece at the end of the opening quarter, but four unanswered points put the Duhallow side in the ascendancy. There were beauties from Ian Walsh and Alan Sheehy, but they let a wonderful chance of a goal slip when the O’Keeffe brothers. Alan and Liam, combined but the finish went outside the post.
At half-time, Kanturk led 0-10 to 0-7 — Cian Moloney registered three of the Kilmaley total. The Cork champions continued to dominate and when the only goal of the game arrived in the 42nd minute after Ian Walsh set up Liam O’Keeffe, they were 1-13 to 0-10 to the good.
Kilmaley — relegated from senior last year — were six points down, but the goal seemed to wake them up. They hit nine points to Kanturk’s two. Daire Keane (3) and Michael O’Malley (3) finding the range. With a minute of normal time remaining, they had turned the deficit into a lead, 0-19 to 1-15. Paul Walsh salvaged the draw (1-17 to 0-20).
Kanturk held firm. John McLoughlin and Darren Browne worked tirelessly in defence, and out the field Aidan Walsh was at his best. They outscored Kilmaley four points to two in the first period of extra-time – points from Ian Walsh and Ryan Walsh the highlight, 1-21 to 0-22.
When Daire Keane notched his fifth point, it was a one-point game again. Liam O’Keeffe and Lorcán McLoughlin put three between them. But, Kilmaley didn’t lie down, a pair of Moloney frees cut the gap to one. They battled all the way but Moloney’s injury-time free just didn’t oblige.
L O’Keeffe (1-7, 0-4 frees, 0-1 65), L McLoughlin (0-4), I Walsh (0-3), R Walsh (0-2), P Walsh, D Browne, M Healy, A Walsh, A O’Keeffe, A Sheehy and J Fitzpatrick (0-1 each).
C Moloney (0-7, 0-5 frees), D Keane and M O’Malley (0-1 free, 0-1 65m) (0-5 each), M O’Neill, E Bracken and K Kennedy (0-2 each), S O’Loughlin and B Cahill (0-1 each).
A Nash; P Walsh, J McLoughlin, A Sheehy; J Browne, D Browne, L O’Neill (Capt); J Fitzpatrick, R Walsh; I Walsh, M Healy, A Walsh; D Kenneally, A O’Keeffe, L O’Keeffe.
L McLoughlin for J Fitzpatrick (6), J Fitzpatrick for D Kenneally (half-time), M O’Riordan for M Healy (52), D Kenneally for A O’Keeffe (65), M Healy for I Walsh (77).
B O’Loughlin; A McGuane, C McGuane (Capt), E Enright; C Neylon, C Cleary, S Kennedy; B Cahill, M O’Malley; K Kennedy, E Bracken, C Moloney; S O’Loughlin, D Keane, M O’Neill.
P McNamara for S O’Loughlin (44), A Markham for C Moloney (50), C McMahon for B Cahill (60), J Clohessy for E Bracken (60), C Moloney for A Markham (63), S O’Loughlin for S Kennedy (65), E Bracken for C Neylon (78).
Thomas Walsh (Waterford)