St Colman’s 2-11 Kanturk 0-15
ST Colman’s lifted the Rebel Óg Premier 2 Minor Hurling title for the second time in five years in a dramatic playoff final at Páirc Uí Rinn on Thursday evening.
In front of a crowd of 200 people, St Colman’s held their nerve and their superiority in finishing chances, inspired by Noel Cahill who hit 1-5 from play, helped them claim the silverware for the second time in their history, the first time since 2015.
Kanturk raced out of the traps but their finishing let them down during the opening exchanges as they hit six wides by the fourth minute - they hit a remarkable 18 wides across the entire game - including a glorious chance at goal for full-forward Alan Walsh, who only had the goalkeeper to beat.
And their opponents, who are an amalgamation of juvenile clubs Cloyne and Russell Rovers, would make them pay for wasting those opportunities as they raised a green flag themselves moments later through the excellent Craig O’Driscoll.
The left corner-forward collected Noel Cahill’s superb pass before coolly batting the ball past the onrushing keeper and into the back of his net.
O’Driscoll quickly added a point to his tally and Cahill would then follow his example as the full-forward split the uprights and then shrugged off a challenge, raced away from his marker before burying the sliotar into the corner to make to 2-2 to no score after nine minutes.
The North Cork side soon regrouped and they finally got on the board with a well-struck effort from their number 15 Rory Sheahan.
That would be the start of a run of four without reply with midfielder Brian O’Sullivan converting a couple of frees before the water break and centre-forward Colin Walsh scoring from play after the resumption to reduce the deficit significantly, 2-2 to 0-4.
The sides then swapped a point apiece but Kanturk needed their shot-stopper Grantas Bucinskas to be at his very best after 23 minutes to deny a fierce low drive from Ruairi Cummins who looked almost certain to score his team’s third goal of the evening from a great position.
It seemed to be of little consequence as the men from the East of Rebel county continued to dominate proceedings and they stretched their advantage to two goals with a long free from Eanna Motherway and a Conor Cahill strike, 2-5 to 0-5.
Colman’s snatched the final over of a highly entertaining first half thanks to Noel Cahill deep into injury time but that only came following a brace of points from Kanturk duo Brian O’Sullivan and Colin Walsh to ensure the score at the interval was 2-6 to 0-7.
Similar to the first period of play, Kanturk started the second half brightly but this time they found their range and began to claw their way back into this final.
Left half-forward Matthew Hooton blasted his first of the evening over the black spot and that was followed by scores from Colin Walsh and another Brian O’Sullivan free to reduce the arrears to just two points, 2-6 to 0-10 after 40 minutes.
Rory Sheahan moved them to within the minimum just seconds later and Walsh levelled terms with a superb hit shortly before the water break to set up an enthralling final quarter.
This showpiece occasion looked destined for extra time as these two spirited teams traded three points each but nerveless conversions from Daniel Cronin (free) and Noel Cahill, appropriately, secured the narrow triumph for St Colman’s.
Scorers for St Colman’s: N Cahill 1-5, C O’Driscoll 1-1, C Cahill 0-3, E Motherway, D Cronin (f) 0-1 each.
Kanturk: B O’Sullivan 0-7 (0-6 f), C Walsh 0-4, R Sheahan 0-2, C Sullivan, M Hooton 0-1 each.
ST COLMAN’S: D Costine; A O’Lomasney, A Sherlock, C O’Brien; S Walsh, E Motherway, J De Vries; O McGovern, D Byrne; J Falvey, D Cronin, C Cahill; R Cummins, N Cahill, C O’Driscoll.
Sub: M O’Dwyer for J Falvey (33).
KANTURK: G Bucinkas; C Sullivan, E Hayes, E McAuliffe; S Hopkins, T Walsh, C Sheahan; B O’Sullivan, O O’Connor; D Grey, C Walsh, M Hooton; D O’Connor, A Walsh, R Sheahan.
Sub: C Carroll for M Hooton (55).
Referee: Cathal Egan (Glen Rovers).