Kilmurry 1-12 Cobh 0-8
KILMURRY lived up to the favourites’ tag with a seven-point victory over Cobh in the Bons Secours Hospital JAFC final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday evening.
Kilmurry, who were making their first county final appearance since a 2012 defeat against Rockchapel, had many heroes all over the pitch. Fionn Warren and William Ronan kept the defence intact, Kyle Kelleher and James O’Mullane were effective at midfield, while up front, Rory Duggan, Liam Wall and Padraig Berhanu made their presence felt.
Cobh will be disappointed, but they had a few stand-out players, Fionn Duggan and centre-forward Nathan O’Connell were integral, but ultimately they fell short in their pursuit of county glory.
Both sides had already secured promotion to the new Premier Junior grade for 2023 following respective Divisional final wins, but this game still meant everything to both clubs.
The Forties made the better start, centre-forward O’Connell landed a sweet point inside three minutes. It was a slower burner this one, a stark contrast to the opening game of the double-header, with both teams deploying sweepers. Scorers were at a premium in the opening quarter, Kilmurry kicked two points without reply, Berhanu and a Wall free nudging Kilmurry in front.
Cobh passed up a number of good opportunities to draw level, and they were left to rue them, as Lawerence Aisling landed a point, following a clever pass by the industrious Wall. The teams traded points before Cobh levelled the contest, Spriggs converting a close-range free.
Cobh, wearing their away strip due to a colour clash, kicked their first point in 12 minutes, as Hilliard pointed, 0-3 to 0-2 after the first quarter. It was a keenly fought contest in the first half, with both teams defending very well. Scores were hard to come by in the opening 30 minutes, but Wall did find the target for Kilmurry three minutes before the break, as the forward kicked a long-range point. The Muskerry club finished the half with a flourish, landing the last two points courtesy of O’Mullane and Duggan, 0-7 to 0-4 at half-time.
Kilmurry made a dream start on the resumption, Wall was involved in another Kilmurry attack and set up Berhanu and the sharpshooter finished well to the net.
A huge score in the game, after a close first-half, the Muskerry winners now opened up a six-point advantage. Cobh needed to get the next score and they did just that, Duggan converting a 45. The Imokilly team should have added to their five points, but wayward shooting let them down.
There was a lull until Duggan landed a long-range effort to reduce the margin down to four points, 1-7 to 0-6 after the third quarter. Kilmurry raised their first white flag of the second half, Wall bisecting the posts, a much-needed score for the winners.
O’Connell kicked his third point for Cobh, to once again leave just four points between the teams, 1-8 to 0-7 with nine minutes remaining. Kilmurry finished the game well, kicking four of the last five points.
Cobh did battle gamely right to the finish, but their aim of bringing the Donal O’Sullivan trophy over Belvelly Bridge fell short, as Kilmurry tasted county success for the first time since 1986.
The Muskerry team now move on to the Munster Championship, where they will face Thurles Sarsfield’s away in the semi-final on Saturday, November 26 at 1pm. David Clifford and Fossa are on the other side of the draw.
L Wall 0-5 (1f), P Berhanu 1-1, R Duggan 0-2, L Aisling, James O’Mullane, T Collins (f), R Leahy 0-1 each.
N O’Connell 0-3, F Duggan 0-2 (0-1 f), C Spriggs (f), S Hilliard, A Lynch 0-1 each.
J McDonnell; B Hinchion, F Warren (joint-captain), G O’Mahony; T Collins, W Ronan (jc), P Hinchion; K Kelleher, James O’Mullane; R Duggan, L Wall, L Aisling; P Berhanu, D McCarthy, K Barrett.
John O’Mullane for P Hinchion (27), R Leahy for D McCarthy (50), D Cahalane for K Kelleher (58), W Buckley for R Duggan (62).
E Walsh; P Carey, J Gardiner, J McCarthy; M O’Rourke, C McLoughlin, G Keating; S Cummins, F Duggan; D Heelan, N O’Connell, A McCarthy (c); D Kearney, C Spriggs, S Hilliard.
A Hastings for A McCarthy (31), E Kidney for S Cummins (44), A Lynch for C Spriggs (46), E Hastings for D Heelan (49), C Farrell for S Hilliard (53).
Andrew Whelton (Clonakilty).