Kilcormac Killoughey 2-13
A final surge and glorious point from Cillian Kiely 30 seconds from the end of extra-time gave Kilcormac Killoughey the narrowest of victories in this thrilling Leinster club hurling quarter-final clash at Wexford Park yesterday.
It was the Offaly champions who also got the bounce of the ball one minute into additional time of the normal 60 minutes when they trailed by three points. Looking dead and buried, they managed one final surge that produced a goal from James Gorman to tie the sides 0-15 to 2-9 bringing the game to extra-time.
The Wexford champions, who had lifted the county title for the first time seven days earlier, let the game slip from the grasp, but one had to appreciate the experience that the Offaly champions brought to this game. They never panicked, pushed forward at every opportunity, and it was this ability to maintain their composure at crucial stages that eventually got them over the line.
At the end of the opening quarter the sides were deadlocked at 0-3 each with Conor Maher edging the Offaly side in front with a point after 16 minutes. Eoin Doyle who was pulling the strings in midfield pointed followed by a Joe Kelly free, with the games opening goal arriving in the 20th minute when Conor Mahon fired across keeper Brian Murphy into the opposite corner of the net giving his side a 1-4 to 0-5 lead.
With Joe Kelly striking over five excellent points, four frees, it enable his side to lead 0-10 to 1-6 at the break.
The Offaly champions threw everything at the Shels on the resumption with James Gorman forcing an excellent save out of goalkeeper Murphy, before Killian Leonard brought the sides level after 90 seconds.
With Eoin Doyle and Joe Kelly finding the target it was the homeside who moved into a 0-15 to 1-9 lead with one minute remaining.
Kilcormac were awarded a free some 90 metres from goal which Ciarán Slevin floated to the edge of the square with the ball been finished to the net by Gorman forcing extra-time.
After Ciarán Shaughnessy and Slevin (free) had exchanged points in the opening extra-time period, the sides remained deadlock 2-12 to 0-18 at the break.
Neither side was able to create a score in the final period but with just 30 seconds remaining, and a draw looking likely, it was Kiely who sprinted clear under the stand before lofting over a 60-metre point from out on the sideline for what proved the winning score. Substitute Conor Byrne was presented with 70-metre free into the breeze to level, but chose to go short and with it the final chance of the game.
KILCORMAC KILLOUGHEY: Conor Slevin; C Mahon, G Healion, A McConville; K Grogan, P Healion, B Leonard; D Kilmartin (0-1), K Leonard (0-1); Ciarán Slevin (0-5, 0-4 frees), C Mahon (1-1), C Kiely (0-4); J Gorman (1-0), D Currams, P Gerathy (0-1). Subs: T Gerathy for McConville , E Grogan for Leonard, D Murray for Kilmartin, J Grogan for Mahon.
SHELMALIERS: B Murphy; S Donohoe, A Murphy, B Barron; C Walsh, C Lawler, A Cash; E Doyle (0-3), B Doyle (0-1); J Kelly (0-10, 0-8 frees), B Malone, C O'Shaughnessy (0-2); E Nolan, S Banville (0-1), J Cash. Subs: T Barron (0-1) for Nolan, C Byrne for J Cash, DC O'Brien for Banville, N Mythen for Malone, Banville for C Byrne, Malone for Mythen, C Byrne for Banville, N Mythen for B Barron, E Nolan for O'Shaughnessy.
Referee: S Cleere (Kilkenny).