Croagh-Kilfinny Rathkeale celebrate Limerick U21 ‘B’ hurling final success:

By Colm Kinsella Limerick Leader Sport

TWO first half goals proved crucial as Croagh/Kilfinny-Rathkeale claimed the Limerick U21 B hurling title thanks to a deserved 2-13 to 1-10 victory over Knockainey at Kilmallock on Sunday afternoon.

Those two fist half goals, both scored from ground shots, by full-forward Jack Shiels off Ryan Stapleton’s centre in the sixth minute and from corner forward Declan Walsh 10 minutes later, propelled the winners into a significant 2-6 to 0-5 half-time advantage.

To their credit, Knockainey upped their performance levels in the second half and a 52nd minute goal from Eoin Cleary, courtesy of a terrific finish low into the corner of the net after he seized on Ethan Dorney’s long range free, helped them draw within three points of their opponents at 2-10 to 1-10.

However, amalgamated side Croagh/Kilfinny-Rathkeale regained the upperhand over the remaining minutes of an entertaining contest, firing over three unanswered points from top scorer Cian O’Carroll, from a free, followed by excellent points from play from Kevin Dee and finally substitute Evan Barrett to seal victory.

SCORERS: Croagh/Kilfinny-Rathkeale: Cian O’Carroll 0-7 (0-5 frees), Declan Walsh 1-1, Jack Shiels 1-0, Conor Lenihan 0-2, Kevin Dee, David Clancy, Evan Barrett 0-1 each. Knockainey: Rory Reale 0-3 (all frees), Eoin Cleary 1-0, Patrick Reale, Colin Buckley 0-2 each, Ethan Dorney (free), Josh Hartnett, Michael Leo 0-1 each.

CROAGH/KILFINNY-RATHKEALE: Cian Sheehy; Kevin Dee, Aidan O’Shea, Maurice Leinhan, Niall Sheehan, Seamie Lenihan (Capt), Michael Sheehan; Paudi Mulcair, Conor Lenihan; Nessan leahy, Cian O’Carroll, David Clancy; Declan Walsh, Jack Shiels, Ryan Stapleton. SUBS: Owen Dee for Nessan Leahy (45 mins), Evan Barrett for Shiels (57 mins), Gearoid Lowry for Stapleton (59 mins).

KNOCKAINEY: David Cooke; Liam Burke, Steven O’Donnell (Joint-Captain), Daniel Buckley; Brian Blackwell, Ethan Dorney, Fionnan Leahy; Aidan O’Riordan, Patrick Reale (Joint-Captain); Colin Buckley, Kevin Lynch, Eoin Cleary; Josh Hartnett, Michael Leo, Rory Reale.

SUBS: David O’Donovan for Hartnett (44 mins), Padraig McNamara for Buckley (48 mins), Daniel Finn for O’Riordan (56 mins), Jesse Dorney for Lynch (58 mins).

REFEREE: Michael Browne (Dromcollogher-Broadford).