KILADANGAN HAVE DREAMED of landing a county senior hurling title in Tipperary but scarcely could have imagined it arriving in such dramatic fashion this afternoon.
On a sun-splashed afternoon, a riveting encounter unfolded under perfect blue skies in Thurles.
It looked as if Loughmore-Castleiney’s remarkable season would secure silverware when John McGrath pointed a ’65 in the 81st minute of a marathon encounter. But Barry Hogan then launched a long puck out from his Kiladangan goalmouth where it was fetched by Joe Gallagher.
He managed to offload to Bryan McLoughney, who started the game, was brought off and then came back on in extra-time. Rather than tapping over the levelling point, he went for broke and smashed a piledriver to the net. The final whistle sounded seconds later. Ecstasy for a delirious Kiladangan team, agony for a heartbroken Loughmore outfit.
The two final points before extra-time was confirmed captured the high standard on show and the level of drama served up. Paul Flynn launched over his sixth point of the game, Kiladangan’s third in a row in injury-time, for what appeared to place them on the cusp of a historic success.
But when Loughmore needed something inspirational, Noel McGrath provided it. Gathering under pressure on the left wing and striking from a standing position with one fluid swing a glorious levelling point.
Loughmore’s teamwork in the first half was a joy to watch as they prised apart Kiladangan’s reaguard for three goals. Six minutes in and Evan Sweeney fired home the first after Ciaran McGrath had done wonderfully to release possession.
Then 19 minutes gone and Tomás McGrath knocked in a strike after Noel McGrath turned over David Sweeney before splitting the defence apart.
And the pick of the bunch arrived three minutes later with Sweeney and Ciaran McGrath demonstrating the vision and team play to offload handpasses with John McGrath the beneficiary as he drilled home a strike.
But Kiladangan were still heartened at the break by the manner in which they closed out the half. They struck four of the last six points before the interval as they gained a foothold in defence. It was a productive spell that was required with Kiladangan shooting ten first-half wides, dropping another short and goalkeeper David Kennedy beat away a fierce drive as well from Billy Seymour.
More to follow…
Scorers for Kiladangan: Billy Seymour 0-8 (0-6f), Paul Flynn 0-7, Bryan McLoughney 1-2, Sean Hayes 0-4, Alan Flynn 0-3, Decky McGrath, Willie Connors (0-1 sideline cut), Dan O’Meara, Andy Loughnane 0-1 each.
of the team
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Scorers for Loughmore-Castleiney: John McGrath 1-10 (0-6f, 0-1 ’65), Noel McGrath 0-5, Evan Sweeney, Tomás McGrath 1-0 each, Joseph Nyland 0-2, Brian McGrath, Liam Treacy, Tommy Maher 0-1 each.
1. Barry Hogan
2. Darragh Flannery
3. James Quigley
4. Fergal Hayes
5. Declan McGrath
6. David Sweeney
7. Alan Flynn
8, Willie Connors
9. Tadhg Gallagher
10. Sean Hayes
11. Joe Gallagher
12. Billy Seymour
13. Dan O’Meara
14. Paul Flynn (captain)
15. Bryan McLoughney
18. Andy Loughnane for McLoughney (44)
21. Martin Minehan for O’Meara (56)
15. McLoughney for Connors (74)
24. Darren Moran for McGrath (75)
1. David Kennedy
2. Lorcan Egan
3. Joseph Hennessy
4. Willie Eviston
5. John Ryan
6. John Meagher
7. Aidan McGrath
8. Brian McGrath
9. Ciaran Connolly
10. Joseph Nyland
11. John McGrath
12. Noel McGrath
13. Tomás McGrath (captain)
14. Ciaran McGrath
15. Evan Sweeney
17. Conor McGrath for Tomás McGrath (45)
18. Liam Treacy for Connolly (53)
9. Connolly for Ciaran McGrath (70)
19. Tommy Maher for Aidan McGrath (74)
Referee: Michael Kennedy (Newcastle)
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