For a game which sought to determine first and second place in group three of the FBD Insurance County Senior Hurling Championship this was a well-contested clash and in the end it was the Kilruane MacDonagh’s nerve which held up best as they saw off a battling Éire Óg Annacarty side by four points at a sunny Templederry last Saturday evening.
FBD Insurance County Senior Hurling Championship
Kilruane MacDonagh’s 2-19 Éire Óg Annacarty 2-15
Leading from start to finish, Kilruane began where they left off against Thurles Sarsfields last weekend as they opened brightly and raced into a 1-8 to 0-2 lead with sixteen minutes played.
Cian Darcy had the umpires in action after just sixteen seconds and Páidí O’Dwyer equalised seventy-five seconds later before Kilruane raced into a four-point lead after Thomas Cleary scored twice followed by two Cian Darcy frees.
After Seánie Ryan replied with a free for Éire Óg it was Kilruane who took up the running as Jerome Cahill, Thomas Cleary and another Darcy free moved MacDonagh’s six clear.
Craig Morgan was also doing well and his high clearance from his own half reached the out-stretched hand of Thomas Cleary - Cleary linked up with Jerome Cahill and, suddenly, Kian O’Kelly was bearing down on goal and he gave Darragh Mooney no chance.
At this stage it looked as if Kilruane had this game under wraps, but, instead, the second quarter belonged to Éire Óg Annacarty and during their takeover they out-scored the 2018 North champions 0-7 to 0-2.
Dónal O’Dwyer, Tom Fox and Eoin Bradshaw had the first three points. Cian Darcy pulled one back for Kilruane before Seánie Ryan (free), Páidí O’Dwyer, Bradshaw and Ronan O’Brien scored to leave three points separating the sides.
Conor Cleary scored for Kilruane only to see a response from Paul Devlin and at half-time Kilruane led 1-10 to 0-10.
The commencement of the second half saw Kilruane move into another gear when scoring 1-3 without reply with Conor Cleary finding the net after a three-man move which involved Kieran and Jerome Cahill.
It was the 39th minute before Annacarty picked up their first score of the half with Seánie Ryan finding the target twice from frees. Éire Óg continued in the same vein as Eoin Bradshaw found space in the Kilruane defence, but earned a close-in free in the process. Darragh Mooney came up from his goal. His shot was well-driven, but saved by Jack Peters who needed the upright to come to his assistance as well.
Having survived it was Kilruane’s turn to score at the other end with Conor Cleary and Ray McLoughney picking up a brace. Conor O’Brien was Annacarty’s busiest player on the field and he found the target in the 49th minute, but Jerome Cahill replied with a similar score to give Kilruane a 2-16 to 0-13 lead.
Éire Óg emptied the subs bench and Richard O’Doherty was just into the action five minutes when he found a chink in the Kilruane defence and scored a goal after assistance from Eoin Bradshaw.
The excitement increased a little as Cian Darcy’s point was overtaken by a Tom Fox goal in 53rd minute. Two Seánie Ryan frees reduced the margin to three with as many minutes remaining. However, Willie Cleary came to Kilruane’s rescue with a great score on the wing. That score eased Kilruane’s worries as the seconds ticked away and when Cian Darcy added one more point the icing was on the cake.
Kilruane MacDonagh’s: Séamus Hennessey, Eoin Hogan, Darragh Peters, Jack Peters, Willie Cleary (0-1), Niall O’Meara, Craig Morgan, Kieran Cahill, Ray McLoughney (0-1), Cian Darcy (0-9, 0-4 frees, 0-2 ‘65s), Jerome Cahill (0-2), Seán McAdams, Conor Cleary (1-2), Thomas Cleary (0-4), Kian O’Kelly (1-0). Subs: James Cleary for McAdams (48th), Mark O’Neill for K Cahill (61st).
Éire Óg Annacarty: Darragh Mooney, Kevin Fox, Eoin Kennedy, Stephen O’Brien, Diarmuid Ryan, Brian Fox, Paul Devlin (0-1), Páidí O’Dwyer (0-2), Conor O’Brien (0-1), Eoin Bradshaw (0-2), Dónal O’Dwyer (0-1), Tom Fox (1-1), Seánie Ryan (0-6, 0-6 frees), Dinny Crosse, Ronan O’Brien (0-1). Subs: Richard O’Doherty (1-0) for R O’Brien (46th), Paul Downey for Crosse (53rd), Dinny Crosse for Bradshaw (59th).
Referee: Johnny Ryan (Boherlahan-Dualla).