Bruff reach the All-Ireland final after extra-time thrilling win:

John Keogh Limerick Leader Sport

BRUFF ARE into the All-Ireland junior b hurling final after a stunning 0-18 to 1-14 extra-time win over St Martin’s of Kilkenny at Raheenagh.

It looked like Bruff were down and out heading into injury time but two David Browne frees saw the south Limerick side force the extra 20 minutes.

Bruff then seemed to have the game sewn up with a three-point lead late in extra-time but a Russell Kealy goal stunned them and it looked at that stage that penalties were going to be next.

However, Browne nailed a free with virtually the last puck of the game and it was they that booked their spot in the final in two week’s time.

St Martin’s shaded the opening quarter with two smart Cormac Daly saves keeping them in the game early on. It was level at 0-2 apiece after 15 minutes but scores from Browne and Bradley McNamara saw Bruff on top.

However, the Kilkenny side were soon level at 0-5 each with Conor Dooley, Darragh Quinlan and Josh Dempsey replying to Browne’s second of the half. Dempsey then put St Martin’s 0-6 to 0-5 ahead at half time with a fine effort from play.

The same man added two points to start the second half as St Martin’s began to take control. Bruff fought back though to see the game level at 0-10 apiece heading into the final 10 minutes.

It looked like Bruff’s hopes of an All-Ireland spot were dashed after points from Dooley and Ross Dowling but Browne’s excellence forced extra time.

Bruff were the better side in the two extra periods with Ross O’Brien and Browne seeing them to a one-point lead at the end of the first half.

Browne then put Bruff two clear but a response from Ronan Shore kept St Martin’s in with a chance. A classy Browne strike from play after excellent work from Cian Maddan, and O’Brien’s second point had Bruff 0-17 to 0-14 clear with two minutes remaining.

Then came a stunning equaliser from the Kilkenny outfit. A Dooley shot was flicked back across the square by Martin Shortall and Kealy’s first time pull went flying into the top corner.

However, Bruff still had Browne in their armory and the tricky corner forward showed nerves of steel once more with a 60 metre free that sees them into the All-Ireland final.

Scorers – Bruff: David Browne 0-11 (10 frees), Bradley McNamara and Ross O’Brien 0-2 each, Gavin Bracken, Patrick Dempsey and Gregory Dempsey 0-1 each.

Scorers – St Martin’s: Josh Dempsey 0-4, Darragh Quinlan 0-4 (4 frees), Russell Kealy 1-0, Conor Dooley 0-3, Ross Dowling Martin Shortall and Ronan Shore 0-1 each.

BRUFF: Cormac Daly; Niall Brosnan, David Mulqueen, James Callinan; Cian Madden, Tony Burke, Oisin Mulqueen; Tim O’Sullivan, Gregory Dempsey; Gavin Bracken, Diarmuid Dennehy, Patrick Dempsey; Bradley McNamara, Ian Gardiner, David Browne.

Subs: John Bulfin for O’Sullivan (34 mins), Ross O’Brien for P Dempsey (50 mins), Mike Weeks for Dennehy (57 mins), Killian Bennett for Gardiner (71 mins), Dennehy for Weeks (78 mins).

ST MARTIN’S: Oisin Kelly; Donal Coughlan, Noel D’Arcy, Joe Reid; Tadgh Gill, James Dowling, Bill Dowling; Conor Dooley, Darragh Quinlan; Colum Kealey, Shane O’Neill, Jack Ferrell; Josh Dempsey, Martin Shortall, Ross Dowling.

Subs: Russell Kealy for Kealey (22 mins, inj), Ronan Shore for O’Neill (47 mins).

Referee: Rory McGann (Clare)