Friday 6 December 2019

Kilmore earn second chance

GAA Permanent TSB Junior 'A' Hurling Championship Final - Glynn Barntown 1-11 Kilmore 0-14

Kevin Mahoney of Glynn-Barntown on the move as Kilmore’s Conor Moore gives chase
Kevin Mahoney of Glynn-Barntown on the move as Kilmore’s Conor Moore gives chase

Alan Aherne in Bellefield

Fourteen-man Kilmore ought to be happier than Glynn-Barntown with the outcome in Bellefield on Saturday as they played with that handicap from the 23rd minute onwards and still managed to share the spoils after an exciting end to the Permanent TSB Junior 'A' hurling championship final.

The odds looked to be stacked against the seasiders after a double whammy in the second quarter, starting when Glynn-Barntown captain J.J. Doyle caught a sweet long-range line ball from the left by midfielder Jack Brazill and kicked it to the scoreboard end net in the 20th minute.

That goal pushed the beaten finalists of 2014 and 2017 into a 1-3 to 0-3 lead, and Kilmore were still reeling from it when they had a man dismissed.

Teenage midfielder Páraic Reville was penalised for overcarrying and floored Aaron Kehoe right under the nose of referee Pat Kehoe, making the straight red card that followed an inevitability.

Matt Doyle pointed the free that followed to leave four between the sides, but Kilmore played with admirable fire and passion throughout the second-half after top scorer Tom White had registered from a placed ball to leave them trailing by 1-4 to 0-4 at the interval.

In truth, that first-half was a generally sub-standard affair, with almost twice as many wides struck as scores.

Glynn-Barntown chalked up nine while Kilmore had eight, but the fare was considerably better on the re-start and the finish was gripping before both sides were granted a deserved second chance to clinch the title.

The teams were level three times in a first 16 minutes peppered by a string of wides, with Tom White and Rioghan Crosbie exchanging early points before Tom Byrne put Kilmore ahead in the fourth minute from a Criostóir Reville handpass.

Matt Doyle equalised from a long-range free, but eight wasteful, barren minutes followed before his side took the lead for the first time when Cormac Cooney picked out Jack Brazill for a point (0-3 to 0-2).

Tom Byrne made it all square once more with a good effort from distance, but the rest of that second quarter didn't go according to plan for Kilmore as they conceded that goal and then lost one of their midfielders.

Glynn-Barntown originally deployed half-back Ger Dempsey as their spare man, before reverting to veteran full-back P.J. Carley on the re-start.

However, the task was given to Dempsey again near the end of the third quarter after their rivals started to get on a lot of ball around the middle third of the field and use it productively.

The Byrne brothers, Tom and Paddy, alternated at different times between midfield and full-forward roles, while Tom White - now at centre-forward - picked off vital points from play and frees.

A solo point by Tom Byrne, his third, just twelve seconds after the re-start set the tone, although Glynn-Barntown went on to lead by 1-6 to 0-6 after two Matt Doyle frees were converted on either side of one by White at the other end.

Kilmore really got motoring between the 36th and 42nd minutes when a run of five points on the trot from White (four, including three frees) and joint captain Aaron Goff pushed them into an 0-11 to 1-6 lead.

They were growing into the game despite that numerical disadvantage, with Tommy Cousins a stylish and commanding centre-back whose reading of the play was exceptional, while Stevie Cousins was unyielding behind him.

Glynn-Barntown needed a score fast to stem the tide, and it finally arrived after seven tough minutes from Jack Brazill after a crossfield Rioghan Crosbie pass (0-11 to 1-7).

Aaron Kehoe equalised shortly after a Kevin Mahoney point attempt came back off the post, and the scene was set for a lively last quarter when free-takers Matt Doyle and Tom White swapped scores.

A good Kehoe point under pressure restored the Glynn-Barntown lead, but they followed up with three wides before White made it 0-13 to 1-10 with three minutes left after a foul on substitute Rob Cousins.

The tension mounted as Paddy Byrne struck a Kilmore wide and his brother, Tom, landed a long-range effort into the cool hand of experienced opposing netminder Tommy Kehoe.

Tom Byrne then appeared to catch the ball three times before his delivery was won by Aaron Goff whose shot was waved wide in what looked to be a marginal call.

And after Jack Brazill struck the second-last of Glynn-Barntown's 15 wides (Kilmore had eleven), the 14 men struck first in added time.

Paddy Byrne won a 50-50 ball in the left corner and fed Tom White whose radar didn't let him down at the most vital juncture with the lead point 35 seconds into added time (0-14 to 1-10).

The advantage was shortlived, though, as Matt Doyle won the puck-out and planted the leveller with a firm strike.

There was one late opportunity for Glynn-Barntown to snatch victory, but a long-range attempt from Aaron Kehoe close to the left sideline tailed wide.

The Killurin-based crew will be anxious to avoid a repeat of 2014, when this final also went to a replay which they lost to Naomh Eanna, while they went down to St. Martin's by 3-14 to 0-15 in the decider twelve months ago.

As for Kilmore, they will take immense heart from this performance, and their desire was admirable in the same venue that hosted their Junior 'B' title win against Oylegate-Glenbrien in 2014.

After losing the last three Junior 'A' semi-finals to the eventual champions, they were determined to make the most of this chance. And the fact that they had already beaten Glynn-Barntown by 1-10 to 1-7 in the group stages surely helped in the psychological stakes after finding themselves a man down at such an early juncture.

The replay will take place in Bellefield on Sunday at 2.30 p.m.

Glynn-Barntown: Tommy Kehoe; Matthew Banville, P.J. Carley, David Roche; Shane Doyle, Cormac Rowe, Ger Dempsey; Kevin Mahoney, Jack Brazill (0-2); Aaron Kehoe (0-2), Matt Doyle (0-6, 5 frees), Rioghan Crosbie (0-1); Cormac Cooney, Matthew Joyce, J.J. Doyle (capt., 1-0). Subs. - Jimmer Doyle for Cooney (46), John O'Flynn for Mahoney, inj. (55), also Michael Kearney, Conor Clarke, Darragh Nolan, Colm Moore, Niall Whitty, Paschal Carley, Bill Joyce, Jamie O'Shea, Michael Moran-Curran, John Lacey, Daniel O'Regan.

Kilmore: Barry Sinnott; Shane Goff (joint capt.), Stevie Cousins, Denis Kenny; Conor Moore, Tommy Cousins, Daithí Moore; Tom White (0-10, 7 frees), Páraic Reville; Mark Sinnott, Tom Byrne (0-3), Aaron Goff (joint capt., 0-1); Aaron Kielty, Paddy Byrne, Criostóir Reville. Subs. - Philly Sutton for M. Sinnott (HT), Rob Cousins for Kielty (51), also Noel Casey, Graham Mernagh, Damian Rossiter, Seán Hogan, Willie Carley, Kevin Keating, Thomas Kinsella, Dylan Jones.

Referee: Pat Kehoe (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown).

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