A goal from Daniel Currams five minutes from time proved to be the decisive score as Kilcormac/Killoughey retained the Offaly Senior Hurling title despite the best efforts of a determined Birr side.
Molloy Environmental Systems Offaly Senior Hurling Final
The defending champions were quicker out of the blocks and had built a 0-13 to 0-5 lead at the break including a run of five unanswered points midway through the half and four in a telling short burst before the break.
Birr came storming back in the second-half and had closed the gap to three at 0-17 to 1-11 late in the game thanks to a goal from Simon Whelehan but a goal from Dan Currams took the wind out of Birr’s sails.
Kilcormac/Killoughey closed out the win comfortably from their and last year’s Offaly and Leinster Champions will now begin another provincial campaign against Laois champions Camross.
Birr were left to look back on a total of 13 wides including a number in the first-half as Kilcormac/Killoughey built their lead.
There was little to chose between the sides in the opening exchanges and they were level at 0-3 apiece after 13 minutes. However the deadly accurate free taking of Ciaran Slevin and expertly hit side line cuts from Brian Leonard and Peter Geraghty put daylight between the sides with Kilcormac/Killoughey opening up a 0-8 to 0-3 lead after 25 minutes. Their first score from play came after 24 minutes when Conor Mahon found the target.
Birr ended a lengthy scoring drought with a brace of points but before half-time Kilcormac/Killoughey hit a crucial salvo of four points, one apiece for Peter and Thomas Geraghty and two more from Ciaran Slevin to open up a 0-13 to 0-5 lead.
On the resumption, Birr set about getting back into the game with three unanswered points but they wasted numerous other opportunities to reduce the deficit.
Kilcormac/Killoughey were far more accurate hitting just three wides compared to 11 for Birr in the opening 45 minutes to open up a 0-17 to 0-10 lead.
At this stage they appeared to be cruising home but a quickfire 1-2 with the goal coming from substitute Simon Whelehan got Birr back within three.
In previous years, Kilcormac/Killoughey might have wobbled at this point but last year’s win has given them much greater confidence and points from Conor Mahon and James Gorman extended their lead before Currams’ late goal sealed the win.
Scorers: K/K Ciaran Slevin 0-11 (0-9f, 0-1 ‘65), Dan Currams 1-1, Thomas Geraghty 0-2, Peter Geraghty 0-2 (0-1 sl), Conor Mahon 0-2, Brian Leonard 0-1 (sl), James Gorman 0-1
Birr: Simon Whelahan 1-2 (0-2f), Dylan Hayden 0-4, Paddy Mullins 0-4, Michael Dwane 0-2 (f), Paul Cleary 0-2 (f)
. Kilcormac/Killoughey: C Slevin; C Guinan, G Healion, Con Mahon; K Grogan,P Healion, B Leonard; K Leonard, D Kilmartin; C Slevin, C Mahon, P Geraghty; T Fletcher, D Currams, T Geraghty. Subs: J Gorman for T Fletcher (47 mins), J Geraghty for Leonard (58 mins), K Coyne for Kilmartin (59 mins).
Birr: B Mullins; B Harding, P Cleary, C Egan; S Ryan, R Hanniffy, B Watkins; B Whelahan, B Murphy; C Mulrooney, E Nolan, S Lonergan; D Hayden, P Mullins, M Dwane. Subs: M Verney (capt.) for Nolan (HT), T Bolger for Murphy (37 mins), S Whelahan for Dwane (43 mins), C O’Callaghan for Egan (55 mins). Referee: T Carroll (Kinnitty).