PREMIER INTERMEDIATE HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 2-16 Mungret 0-19. In the second of two Championship matches against Mungret in the space of a week, this time we came out on top in the small ball! It was very tight throughout but, having trailed by a point at half-time, we delivered a strong second-half performance to take a three-point victory in the end! The win puts us two points clear on top of the table with three games to play, but there is still a lot of hurling to be played.

This was an excellent win after the long summer break, and we hit the ground running, despite Mungret hitting the first point of the game, almost straight from throw-in. Kyle Hayes then floated a ball into the full-forward line and Darren O’Connell, straight off a plane, won it behind his marker and was dragged down inside the square. Up came John Chawke, who rifled the ball into the corner of the net for an early goal! Mungret responded with another point, before Kyle Hayes got our first point: he won a puckout, ran through the middle and popped the ball over the bar.

Mungret would get the next two scores, one a free and then a point from distance to level matters. We had a hint of a goal chance when Liam Griffin was given a pass and took on his marker, but his shot was well-blocked behind for a ’65. Liam picked up a slight knock in the process, and Adam Butler pointed the ’65 in the meantime. Another free had Mungret level again before Darren O’Connell really marked his return with a lovely point from play; he showed fantastic anticipation to win a break from Kyle Hayes and flicked it over the bar. We led by one at this stage but Mungret would then go through their first purple patch and rattled over three points without reply. Two of these three were from frees and it gave Mungret into a two-point lead.

We did feel that we were playing well, and would score four of the next five points to re-take the lead. Kyle did brilliantly to claim a booming John Chawke puckout cleanly (these were a constant weapon in the first half) and bore down on goal menacingly, before firing it over the crossbar. We began to exert a bit of dominance on the Mungret puckout, with Cían Hayes and Lorcan O’Leary on the wings breaking a lot of ball and well-supported by the likes of Peter Nash, Conor Staff and Kyle Hayes. Cathal Downes had been unlucky to see an effort for a point go wide following a great run but he didn’t let the head drop and had his first score on the board shortly after, his direct running a real threat. Shaun Barry was the next to get in on the act, breaking a puckout and winning the dirty ball before following suit and powering at goal before taking his point.

Adam Butler was unlucky to see a goal chance saved after he had been picked out by Darren O’Connell, and Mungret would then level the game once more with another free. Cathal Downes really had a superb first half and he picked off his second point of the evening with a lovely strike from way out the field. Luckily, the rain held off for most of the game but it was very wet underfoot and conditions were difficult to play in. Our backs were more than holding their own, however; as mentioned previously, the half-back line were strong under the puckouts while the full-back line of Kevin O’Connell, Tony McCarthy and Luke O’Keeffe were very sticky. Barry O’Connell held the defence together and we kept Mungret to just four points from play in the first half. However, they converted two more frees before half-time to give them a narrow advantage at the break: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 1-7 Mungret 0-11.

We were disappointed to go in behind at half-time, but it had been a decent first-half performance all the same and knew that there was another level in us with the game there for the taking. And we started the second half like a train and took a lead that we would never relinquish. Darren O’Connell was fouled inside in the full-forward line, and Liam Griffin pointed our first free of the game early in the second half. This was followed up by an excellent score from Shaun Barry, arrowing the ball low over the crossbar for us to re-take the lead. Darren then showed his elusiveness to escape his marker and pop the ball over the bar for his second point of the game.

In the second half, we continued to exert our dominance at puckout time, winning a lot of breaks with the likes of Peter Nash and Barry O’Connell sweeping up a lot of dirty ball; while the likes of Lorcan O’Leary and Cían Hayes were attacking every ball with purpose and aggression. They were then delivering good ball into the forward line and while Adam Butler didn’t score from play, he won a lot of ball inside and set up a number of scores; himself, Shaun and Darren were constantly out in front of their men. Shaun laid off one ball to Kyle Hayes to create a goal chance but the goalkeeper did well to make the save on the angle. Adam soon followed suit, popping a quick handpass to Kyle running off the shoulder and Kyle fired this effort over the crossbar.

That was after Mungret’s first score of the second half, and they did respond well to that point as a sideline was beautifully cut over the bar. It meant that there was just a point between the teams and although we felt that we were playing well, we weren’t able to open up a significant lead as Mungret kept plugging away. When the excellent Kevin O’Connell won a free in his own half as he emerged with the ball, John Chawke flighted the ball towards goal. It looked as if it may be dropping wide, but Cathal Downes did absolutely brilliantly to keep the ball in play and divert back towards Shaun Barry, who was waiting and let fly to whip the ball first time into the back of the net for our second goal! It brought Shaun’s personal tally to 1-2 but he also continued to win a lot of primary possession.

The goal gave us a cushion for the first time in the game, but Mungret were quick to wipe out. Our four-point advantage was turned into a one-point advantage within minutes, first through two more frees and then a first Mungret point from play in almost a quarter of an hour. But we showed real character today, every time we were faced with adversity, we stepped up another gear. Mungret had cut our lead to the minimum following the goal but we would then strike four points in a row. Liam Griffin struck a free to give us a little breathing space, before Adam Butler did likewise to give us a comforting three-point advantage again. We drove on from that and Kyle Hayes struck his fourth point from play, another towering performance from the man from the old road. Jack O’Keeffe made a big impact from the bench also, linking up well with the likes of Adam Butler and Conor Staff, before he got a score of his own, popping it over the bar with a lovely wristy strike.

Mungret were not going to lie down, however, and they drove at us in the final ten minutes as they looked to close the gap once again. A point from play reduced the gap to four before a monster free from deep inside their own half reduced it to just three points again. They won a free about 25 metres from goal on the angle but the shot was saved and Barry O’Connell got it to safety. The likes of Barry, Kevin O’Connell and Luke O’Keeffe emerged with the ball at vital times in those closing moments. Mungret did cut the gap to two with a point from play before we extended it again, Adam Butler calmly slotting another free, his fourth point of the evening.

Mungret dropped a late free in around the square in the hope of getting a late goal but it dropped wide. Kyle Hayes then did brilliantly to win the following puckout and he picked out Adam Butler in space with a clever pass. Adam was free of all markers and was one-on-one with the goalkeeper but the referee blew the whistle before he could take on a shot, and the two points were sealed!

This was a great win, we had lost to Mungret in the group stage of the 2018 Championship on a day where we felt we had underperformed. It was good to get the win this year, and still feel that there is improvement to come from this team. The work rate all over the pitch was exemplary and considering the conditions, the team did play with style. It puts us one step closer to making a semi-final yet again; we remain unbeaten and now preparations turn to next Saturday’s match against Bruff in Claughaun at 6pm! Well done to all involved, and thanks to our supporters for coming out in force again! Thanks also to our sponsors Champion Hurleys/Sliotars for their constant support of this team!

Team: John Chawke (1-0, penalty); Kevin O’Connell, Tony McCarthy, Luke O’Keeffe; Cían Hayes, Barry O’Connell, Lorcan O’Leary; Conor Staff, Peter Nash; Liam Griffin (0-2, frees), Kyle Hayes (0-4), Cathal Downes (0-2); Adam Butler (0-3, 0-2 frees, 0-1 ’65), Darren O’Connell (0-2), Shaun Barry (1-2)

Subs: Jack O’Keeffe (0-1) for Liam Griffin (47 mins)

INTERMEDIATE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 2-8 Mungret 1-18. Sadly, in our first ever year at the intermediate grade in football, we will not be making the knockout stages as we fell to a very strong Mungret side in Ballybrown on Monday night. They remain unbeaten but we battled to the very end, and it is a learning experience for this group too. We started excellently and Tony McCarthy fed Darragh Deegan, who drove straight at the heart of the Mungret defence and popped a ball over the bar for our opening score. Mungret then kicked two points without reply, before we raised the first green flag of the game. Tony McCarthy, who was everywhere, was fouled and Cathal Downes stepped over it. He struck the free well from the ground but it dropped just under the crossbar. However, this caused problems for the Mungret goalkeeper who, although he caught the ball cleanly, was pressurised and fell backwards over his line for a goal! This gave us a big boost and Cathal followed this up with a monster point, after being set up by Lorcan O’Leary.

This was just after a Mungret score but although we led by two, our opponents would have the better of the next quarter of an hour as they begin to exert dominance on their own kickout. They kicked the next point to reduce the gap to just a point, before hitting us with a goal of their own! This gave Mungret the lead and it was one that they would not relinquish for the rest of the game. Mungret were very patient in possession, happy to move the ball from side to side until an opportunity presented itself and this meant they were able to work scoring chances. Slowly but surely, they began to kick scores and extend their advantage and led by five at the next massive juncture. Mungret used their pace to break through our defensive cover and a shot was brilliantly saved by John Chawke, when it looked a goal was absolutely certain! However, the referee had deemed that there had been a foul on the player coming through and had been awarding advantage. He pulled it back and awarded the penalty, which gave Mungret the chance to extend their lead to eight points. But for the second time in the space of a minute, John Chawke proved to be the hero, diving to his right to palm the ball to safety.

Although Mungret would, in fact, get the next score; this did rouse us and we would kick three points without reply before the half-time break. We began to put more pressure on their kickout; Tony McCarthy was all over the pitch, with Conor Staff and Lorcan O’Leary getting on plenty of ball in the middle of the field, and Peter Nash also getting his hand on more ball. Peter would kick our next point, a brilliant individual score. Conor Staff had been very unfortunate to see a shot go wide after a brilliant run of his own down the left wing. He made amends shortly after as he powered past 3 or 4 opponents down the left-hand side before weaving in and kicking the ball between the uprights. Just before the break, Peter Nash found Dylan Corrigan inside in the full-forward line; there was a hint of a goal opportunity for a moment but Dylan was fouled, and Peter then popped the close-range free over the bar. This left the half-time score at Kildimo/Pallaskenry 1-5 Mungret 1-8.

Considering that we had not played to the best of our ability in the first half, we were still in touch and the five minutes before half-time showed what we could do if we really went at Mungret. However, it was Mungret who started the second half better in that they kicked the first two scores of the half. But we continued to work, and again, Cathal Downes stood over the free on the right wing. His attempt dropped in around the square, and Liam O’Sullivan was quickest to react, making a clever run across the goalkeeper and flicking the ball to the back of the net!

This reduced the gap to just two points and we were well in contention. Mungret were able to get that next score which was vital, it meant that we never closed the gap to just a single point. But Liam O’Sullivan did well to set up Conor Staff who then landed his second point of the evening. With two points between the teams, the game was in the melting pot, but Mungret showed their experience and composure throughout the second half. They were very good at holding onto possession and rarely forced matters even though our backs, particularly the likes of Barry Walsh and Kevin O’Connell, tackled hard and won some turnovers.

Mungret had hit two points in response to Conor’s strike before good work from Paudie Walsh forced the Mungret back to touch the ball on the ground and Cathal Downes’ resulting effort sailed between the uprights, reducing the gap to three point again. We followed this score up quickly as a brilliant catch from the kickout from Cathal saw us work the ball into Peter Nash, who kicked a lovely score off his right foot. This meant that the gap was just two points again but sadly, we were not able to add to this tally and Mungret rattled off the final few scores of the game. John Chawke made another spectacular save, tipping a rocket of a shot from the Mungret wing-back onto the crossbar but in the final few minutes, we had to chase goals to pull the game back while Mungret kicked a couple of points on the counter.

Perhaps we tired slightly in the closing stages but Mungret were the superior outfit on the day and well-deserving of their victory even if the margin of victory only extended in the closing stages. We had excellent work rate all over the pitch, this was something that could not be faulted but we didn’t create as many scoring chances as we had in previous matches. It means that the knockout stages are just out of reach this year but we need to finish strongly in our last group match against Mountcollins in three weeks’ time!

Team: John Chawke; Barry Walsh, Shaun Barry, Kevin O’Connell; Brian Howard, Bob McKeogh, James Pomeroy; Tony McCarthy, Conor Staff (0-2), Lorcan O’Leary; Cathal Downes (1-2, 1-1 frees), Darragh Deegan (0-1), Dylan Corrigan; Peter Nash (0-3, 0-1 free), Liam O’Sullivan (1-0)

Subs: Paudie Walsh for Barry Walsh (41 mins); Jack Mullane for Brian Howard (58 mins)

JUNIOR B HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 2-16 Ballybrown 2-6. Our junior B hurlers had a good win in a local derby against Ballybrown on Sunday, which means that next week’s encounter against Crecora/Manister will decide who tops the group. It wasn’t always the most fluent game but it was a comfortable victory in the end for our Junior Bs, who have been waiting quite a while for competitive action. A late goal from Kieran O’Brien secured the win as we aim to return to another City Final.

Team: James Mason; Jack Mullane, Evan Considine, Darragh O’Brien; James Pomeroy, Mikey Dillon, Jai Chaudri; Brian Howard, Kieran O’Brien; Naoise McGarrigle, Ryan Kelly, Brendan O’Shea; Paudi Hartigan, Brendan Meskell, Matthew Lucey

Subs: Evan McCarthy, Chris McMahon, Martin Neville, Cathal O’Shaughnessy

U-16 HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL: Our U-16 hurlers face Granagh/Ballingarry in the County Final on Thursday August 15 in Croom, with throw-in time to be confirmed. Please come and support the lads as they attempt to claim county honours!

U-16 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL: Our U-16s are also in a football county final, as they face Ballylanders on Sunday August 18 at 10.30am in Fedamore. Again, please come out and support this great bunch of players.

CLUB LOTTO: The numbers for this week’s club lotto were 9, 10, 13 and 20. There was no winner of the overall draw, and the prize fund increases to €2,900 for next week’s draw in the Seven Sisters. The winners of the €25 lucky dips were: Joanne O’Mahony, Carol Chawke, Anne McMahon and John Egan.

CLUB LIMERICK DRAW: We had a winner in the July edition of the Club Limerick draw as M & A O’Sullivan took home €250! There is no better way to support both and show our players that you are supporting them all the way! Kildimo Pallaskenry GAA is very fortunate to have a number of players involved with county teams in both hurling and football across a number of grades. Join the CLUB Limerick Draw online or with any club committee member. Support your club and county teams!