Tullaroan made sure of a silver finish to 2019 as they added the Leinster intermediate club title to the trophy cabinet.
The Kilkenny champions were too slick for their Offaly counterparts Seir Kieran to contend with as they made their first provincial campaign a winning one at Nowlan Park on Saturday.
Shane Walsh, younger brother of former Kilkenny great Tommy and current county star Padraig, was the man of the moment. He played a captain’s part, shooting 2-13, before going up to collect the silverware.
Walsh’s first big moment came midway through the first half, when he pounced to flick a loose sliotar to the net after a Dylan Simpson shot had been beaten away.
The goal was a real shock for Seir Kieran, who had started well and troubled Tullaroan thanks to talisman Joe Bergin. With time running out they trailed Tullaroan by seven points (1-10 to 0-6) but finished strongly to force their way back into the game. Tom Carroll fired over a solid point, before joint captain Adrian Hynes broke into space and drilled an unstoppable shot to the net.
A swift point in reply from Bill Gaffney gave Tullaroan some breathing room, but a Bergin free meant there were just three points between the sides at the break (1-11 to 1-8).
Seir Kieran made a confident start to the second half, getting to within two points of the leaders thanks to a Hynes brace, but hopes of a comeback were quickly cut short. Three points in quick succession from Peter Walsh, Bill Gaffney and Mark Walsh steadied the ship before Tullaroan delivered a knockout blow. Shane Walsh did the damage, nipping in to help the sliotar across the line after Kieran’s goalkeeper Eoin Coughlan spilled Mark Walsh’s speculative 41st minute effort.
Seir Kieran didn’t give up, but the game was slipping away from them. Joe Bergin gave them a glimmer of hope when he rifled a 52nd minute free to the net but the winners hit eight of the last nine points, five coming from Captain Walsh, to seal an impressive win.
– Shane Walsh (2-13, 0-11 frees); Peter Walsh, Bill Gaffney (0-3 each); John Walton, Tommy Walsh (0-2 each); Mark Walsh, Tomas Dunne (0-1 each).
– Joe Bergin (1-6, 1-4 frees, 0-1 65); Adrian Hynes (1-2); James Mulrooney (0-3); Eanna Murphy, Tom Carroll (0-1 each).