Kilburn Gaels 2-8
ONE hour from Croke Park now stand the hurlers of Kanturk.
A phenomenal 2017 campaign brought them to Ruislip on Saturday for an All-Ireland club IHC quarter-final joust with Kilburn Gaels, their remarkable winning streak never under threat as they completed the assignment without too much fuss.
The nine-point win was their 14th straight championship victory of 2017. And what a year it has been for the North Cork club. Added to the Cork intermediate football, premier intermediate hurling and Munster intermediate titles collected this year, the dual heroes of Kanturk now have an All-Ireland semi-final against Ulster champions Middletown of Armagh on January 21 to look forward to. Win there and they’ll become the first Cork club since Ballymartle in 2011 to contest the intermediate decider.
They’ll need to show better than what they produced in Ruislip, then again, Saturday was simply about getting over and getting the job done.
The crucial moment of proceedings, watched by a sizeable portion of Kanturk supporters who flew over on Saturday morning, arrived in first-half stoppages when goalkeeper Anthony Nash repelled a Stephen Lambert penalty. With the scoreline reading 0-9 to 0-5 in favour of the visitors, a goal for Kilburn would have left just the minimum between the sides at the break.
As it was, Kanturk took a four-point lead into the second-half and pulled clear with a burst of 1-3 directly upon the resumption.
Liam O’Keeffe provided the opening goal, a score which he himself set up after a fine run. It was inevitable that O’Keeffe would find the net at some stage, having had four goal chances in the opening period kept out. He was responsible for one-third of their first-half 0-9 tally and finished as top-scorer with 1-5.
Jody Troy’s 41st-minute goal was Kilburn Gaels’ first score of the second-half. By that juncture, they trailed by 1-12 to 1-5. Lorcán McLoughlin responded with a second Kanturk goal, his speculative effort from out the field deceiving keeper Jack Barron.
The North Cork champions finished with nine scorers, half-back and captain Lorcan O’Neill chipping in with two excellent points. Half-forward Ian Walsh registered four second-half points, with cousin Aidan cutting over a sideline in the first-half.
Scorers for Kanturk: L O’Keeffe (1-5, 0-4 frees, 0-1 ‘65); I Walsh (0-4); L McLoughlin (1-0); A Walsh (0-1 sc), L O’Neill (0-2 each); R Walsh, D Kennelly, A O’Keeffe, D O’Donoghue (0-1 each).
Kilburn Gaels: S Lambert (1-5, 1-5 frees); J Troy (1-1); K Kennedy, S Conlon (0-1 each).
KANTURK: A Nash; P Walsh, J McLoughlin, J Browne; L O’Neill, D Browne, A Sheehy; L McLoughlin, R Walsh; D Kennelly, I Walsh, J Fitzpatrick; L O’Keeffe, A Walsh, A O’Keeffe.
Subs: E O’Connor for A O’Keeffe (49); M O’Riordan for Kennelly (54); D O’Connor Fitzpatrick (54); D O’Donoghue for I Walsh.
KILBURN GAELS: J Barron; K Campion, N Coen, C Hickey; W Campion, B Regan, K Kennedy; A O’Leary, C McLinden; F Collins, M Duggan, S Conlon; S Lambert, J Troy, D Reale.
Subs: A Murphy for Reale (42); S Carey for O’Leary (44); J Kelly for K Campion (50); M Lambert for Hickey (56).
Referee: J O’Brien (Laois).