Kilcormac-Killoughey blast their way into Leinster SHC final
Offaly champions thrash outgunned Mount Leinster Rangers to set up Cuala clash
Daniel Currams bursts through to score for Kilcormac-Killoughey. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Kilcormac-Killoughey (Offaly) 2-21 Mount Leinster Rangers (Carlow) 0-10
While Cuala have been hot favourites for the Leinster club hurling title from an early stage, Kilcorma-Killoughey set out a serious statement of intent with a real demolition job on Mount Leinster Rangers in Bord na Mona O’Connor Park.
It was a seriously impressive display by the Offaly champions. No matter what the standard of opposition, a 2-21 to 0-10 win is a very significant one at this time of year. While Mount Leinster Rangers were extremely poor on the day, they won this competition just four years ago in 2013 and are certainly no novices.
On the day, however, they came up against a ravenously hungry Kilcormac-Killoughey team, who never let up once they got into the driving seat and were tackling and working with the same ferocity and intensity at the end as they were when the Carlow champions were competitive during the first half.
The Offaly champion’s win did come at a dear price as they lost influential midfielder Cillian Kiely to a straight red card before the interval - Kiely had received injury treatment for a blow to his hand just moments earlier and he walked after his hurl came into contact with Diarmuid Byrne. Kiely has had his share of discipline problems in the past and it was the one blemish on an other wise perfect afternoon for Kilcorma-Killoughey.
The quality of their hurling was breath taking at times and it was close to a complete team performance while there were several brilliant individual displays with Killian Leonard, Ger Healion, James Gorman, Conor Mahon and Daniel Currams all worthy of special mention.
The opening exchanges were ferociously tough and Mount Leinster Rangers held their own early on. They led by 0-3 to 0-2 after ten minutes and were just 0-5 to 0-4 behind after 20 minutes. Ironically, it all began to unravel for them after Kilcorma-Killoughey were sent down to 14-men. James Gorman quickly struck for a goal and by half time Kilcorma-Killoughey were 1-8 to 0-4 clear.
That late scoring burst seemed to deflate Mount Leinster’s confidence and within minutes of the restart, they had been well and truly blown out of the water. Kilcorma-Killoughey came out for the second half with all guns blazing and were 1-15 to 0-6 ahead when Daniel Currams netted a brilliant goal. After this Mount Leinster, who also finished with 14 after David Phelan was red carded in the 43rd minute, were solely in the hunt for consolation scores - but match was over as a contest.
KILCORMAC/KILLOUGHEY: Conor Slevin; K Leonard, G Healion, K Grogan; E Grogan, D Kilmartin, J Quinn; C Kiely (0-1), Ciaran Slevin (0-5, 5f); J Gorman (1-5), C Mahon (0-3), P Geraghty (0-2); T Geraghty (0-1), P Healion, D Currams (1-3). Subs: S Leonard (0-1) for P Healion (17m), A McConville for Leonard (49m), J Geraghty for K Grogan (51m), S Lowry for Kilmartin (54m), S Guinan for Currams (56m).
MOUNT LEINSTER RANGERS: F Foley; W Hickey, R Kelly, M Doyle; E Coady, D Phelan, G Kelly; D Byrne (0-2, 1f), R Coady; P Coady (0-1), J Murphy, E Byrne; D Murphy (0-1), C Nolan (0-4, 2f), T Joyce (0-1). Subs: M Malone for Hickey (18m), K McDonald for R Coady (25m), J Nolan (0-1) for Murphy (31m), G Lawlor for E Coady (31m).
Referee: J O’Brien (Laois)