Killimordaly to atone for last yearNovember 2, 2012 - 8:00am
KILLIMORDALY go in search of their fourth county intermediate title; Ahascragh/Fohenagh – amalgamated in 2001 – bid to secure their first. That statistic alone should provide enough intrigue to entice the hurling populace to Kenny Park, Athenry for Sunday’s headline event.
Throw-in the semi-final replay between county champions Gort and challengers St. Thomas’ at the same venue earlier in the afternoon and it is an attractive double header, although there are some concerns that the inclement weather may – as it did last weekend – spoil the fun.
In any event, by 4 o’clock or so on Sunday, Killimordaly or Ahascragh/Fohenagh – withstanding a draw – could be looking forward to rubbing shoulders with the big boys of senior hurling for 2013.
County IHC Final
Killimordaly v Ahascragh/Fohenagh
(Kenny Park, Athenry 2:30pm)
Ahascragh/Fohenagh have been the form team of 2012, emphatically winning their opening game 6-14 to 0-6 against 2011 junior ‘A’ champions Athenry before accounting for Oranmore/Maree and Abbeyknockmoy in the group stages.
Sandwiched in between these two wins was a draw with Killimor, who the Group A winners once again met in the semi-final. It looked in the early stages of the semi-final that Killimor were going to blitz Francis Donnellan’s charges when taking a 2-4 to 0-3 lead but a tour de force performance by Cathal Mannion ensured the victors overhauled this deficit to go on and win on a 1-14 to 3-5 scoreline.
Manager Donnellan paid tribute to his side, noting, simply, that “they just don’t give up”. He added: “In the semi-final, it took us time to get into it. The fact that we had no championship game played coming into it – you can play all the challenge games you want but it is not the same – it took us the first half to come to grips with it.”
For their part, Killimor’s win over Rahoon/Newcastle the week previous undoubtedly stood to Liam Gordon’s men, particularly in netting those early goals. Understandably, the concession of those scores hang over Donnellan and his men.
“We can’t concede goals like those on Sunday. Killimor only scored one point from play in the semi-final but they hit us for three goals. That can’t happen the next day. On the other side of it, we conceded very few frees and we were happy with that because we knew (Robert) Mitchell can score those frees all day. So, not conceding frees was a big thing.”
In any event, Ahascragh/Fohenagh – who won the U-21 ‘B’ title back in May – have made huge strides this year and Donnellan, coach Sean Lally and selector Seamus Quigley have moulded together an exciting outfit.
Backboned by the older brigade of goalkeeper Donal Kelly, Paul and Kevin Gavin and Anthony Griffin, there are a plethora of players in their mid 20s involved – such as Ciaran Mannion, Finbarr Donnellan and Laurence Tully – and another clutch of players then from the successful U-21 side, namely John Finnerty, Luke Cosgrove, Trevor Barrett and Cathal and Padraic Mannion.
For more, read this week's Galway City Tribune.