Offaly Senior Hurling CHampionship Final
St Rynagh’s 2-12
Captain Fantastic Ciaran Slevin led brilliant Kilcormac/Killoughey to the promised land at O’Connor Park, Tullamore on Sunday as his 1-9 haul helped the Double K’s to an historic first ever Offaly senior hurling championship title triumph.
Watched by 7,573 enthusiastic fans, Danny Owens managed K/K trailed at the interval by 1-7 to 2-8 and they were still a goal adrift, 1-9 to 2-9, when they cut absolutely loose between the 37th and 50th minutes, hitting 1-6 without reply to power 2-15 to 2-9 clear.
The catalyst for this superb scoring blitz was Slevin’s magnificent pointed free from over 100 metres and he added four more points during this blistering spell. Trevor Fletcher contributed a point and when super sub Kevin Grogan slammed in the goal in the 45th minute it was clear that the K/K juggernaut wasn’t going to be stopped.
Man of the Match Slevin poignantly dedicated the victory to the memory of his late grandfather Mick Spain and Willie Gorman, and just as All-Ireland winning captains Michael Murphy and Eoin Larkin did, the captain broke into song and gave us a bar of ‘Danny’s winning matches’.
K/K, who won the minor title earlier in the day, were superb once they found their stride. It may well have taken them 21 minutes to register a score from play but they refused to panic and they returned to the pitch for the second half like men possessed.
Besides Slevin, they had mighty defensive performances from twin towers Ger and Peter Healion, while Damien Kilmartin was peerless at mid-field.
St Rynagh’s managed to score just four second half points, with Ciaran Flannery’s brace being their only scores from play. Rynagh’s might have felt that Gary Kelly’s goal on the stroke of half time was the cushion that would have seen them through but K/K weren’t reading that script and they simply blew the 16-times champions out of the water.
Dinny Cahill’s wind assisted St Rynagh’s began promisingly and were
0-3 to nil ahead by the 8th minute. Right half-back Stephen Wynne was accurate with a ’65 and long-range free while Sean Dolan was on target from play. Wynne was soon deployed to full back in a swap with Pat Camon to try to put the shackles on the lively Daniel Currams.
K/K began nervously and their shooting was jittery as they struck four unsightly wides, while Conor Mahon should have lifted the twine but was denied by vigilant Conor Clancy goalkeeping. Their score search ended in the 11th minute when Currams flicked a shot to the net however referee Tony Carroll had blown his whistle for a penalty as St Rynagh’s defender Fergus Shortt was deemed to have fouled. Shortt picked up a yellow card and Ciaran Slevin blasted his strike to the roof of the net.
Slevin added two pointed frees and when he landed his side’s opening score of the final from play in the 21st minute it gave K/K a 1-3 to
0-5 cushion. Dinny Cahill’s St Rynagh’s enjoyed a very productive closing spell to the half, notching 2-3 to K/K’s 0-4.
Diarmuid Horan dispatched their first goal after Conor Slevin saved his initial attempt and in injury time K/K’s defence failed to deal with a high Nigel White delivery and the sliotar broke sweetly into the path of the marauding Gary Kelly for a clinical goal right on the call of half time, 2-8 to 1-7.
Kilcormac/Killoughey: Ciaran Slevin 1-9 (1-0 penalty, 0-7 frees), K Grogan 1-0, T Fletcher 0-2 (0-1 free), P Geraghty, D Currams, J Gorman, C Mahon, M Leonard 0-1 each.
St Rynagh’s: D Horan 1-0, G Kelly 1-0, C Flannery 0-3, S Wynne 0-3 (0-1 ’65 & 0-2 frees), G Scales 0-2 (frees), S Dolan 0-2, S Quirke, P Camon 0-1 each.
Kilcormac/Killoughey: Conor Slevin; Chris Guinan, Ger Healion, Alan McConville; James Geraghty, Peter Healion, Brian Leonard; Damien Kilmartin, Kevin Coyne; Ciaran Slevin (capt.), Conor Mahon, Peter Geraghty; James Gorman, Daniel Currams, Trevor Fletcher.
Sub.: Killian Leonard for J Geraghty (28 mins), Kevin Grogan for K Coyne (35 mins), Tomas Geraghty for J Gorman (42 mins), John Grogan for C Guinan (48 mins), Mark Leonard for T Fletcher (57 mins)
St Rynagh’s: Conor Clancy; Conor Hernon (capt.), Pat Camon, Fergus Shortt; Stephen Wynne, Dermot Shortt, Simon Og Lyons; Gary Conneely, Nigel White; Sean Dolan, Ciaran Flannery, Gary Kelly; Stephen Quirke, Diarmuid Horan, Ger Scales.
Sub.: Niall Wynne for F Shortt (32 mins), Stephen Clancy for S Dolan (50 mins), Gary Healy for S Quirke (57 mins)
Referee: Tony Carroll, Kinnitty.