PREMIER INTERMEDIATE HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 1-24 Dromin/Athlacca 3-13. Our Champion Hurleys-sponsored Premier Intermediate hurlers made a little bit of history in Ballingarry this weekend by becoming the first ever team to go through the group stages of the Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship without losing a single game! It’s not a trophy, it’s only a minor milestone but it’s always nice to create a bit of history. This was a tough contest against a Dromin/Athlacca side who needed a result to make a semi-final, and they made life very difficult for us throughout.

Dromin/Athlacca started the better team and picked off some early scores, with a free from Shaun Barry our first score. An excellent puckout from John Chawke to the run of Kyle Hayes saw the intercounty man continue his fine scoring form with another point. Dromin/Athlacca struck another point before Darren O’Connell scored his first point of the afternoon. It would be a game to remember for Darren, who delivered a man-of-the-match display from full-forward, tormenting the Dromin/Athlacca backline. But our opponents were on top in the early exchanges and following that point, they would strike another point from play before a goal to give them a four-point lead! Our backline had been rock solid throughout the previous three games, not having conceded any goals but a breach was bound to occur eventually.

We did, however, respond very well to that setback and their four-point lead was wiped out within a matter of moments. Firstly, Darren O’Connell won a free from the puckout after the goal and Shaun Barry nailed another free. Then, we would strike with a goal of our own. Cían Hayes did really well to break the ball from the Dromin/Athlacca puckout, Shaun Barry was there to pick up the break and delivered a lovely ball inside to Darren. He took on the defence, was fouled on two occasions on the way through by separate defenders but referee Jonathan Hayes played an excellent advantage as Darren powered through and rifled the ball to the back of the net. That was Darren’s third goal of this Championship campaign and brought us back on level terms!

From there, we took control of the game and would never fall behind again. An excellent pass from captain Barry O’Connell picked out Cathal Downes in space, which allowed him to travel forward and fire the ball over the bar for an excellent score. John Chawke would then claim a ball in the goalmouth and burst out of defence but was fouled as he did so. The free was brought forward 13 metres and he himself would land a monster free that travelled the length of the Ballingarry pitch. Clever play from Jack O’Keeffe then saw him feed Kyle Hayes, who fired over his second point of the game. Our next score saw us reach 1-5 without reply to the Dromin/Athlacca goal and it was probably the score of the game. Conor Staff did well to link up with Cathal Downes and the minor star powered forward from his wing-back position, leaving defenders in his wake before throwing over a lovely point from the left wing off his left-hand side. It was an inspirational score from the youngster which gave us a four-point lead.

Dromin/Athlacca did reduce the gap to three points before we extended it once again. Jack O’Keeffe did well to win the ball under pressure, he popped the ball back to Cathal Downes who popped it inside and Cían Hayes opened his shoulders and let fly from the middle of the field to restore our four-point advantage. We had been totally dominant since the goal but Dromin/Athlacca would have another purple patch and hit a goal and a point without reply to level matters up again. It was a setback but again, we responded excellently: Dromin/Athlacca would not score for the remainder of the half and we would score four points without reply.

Adrian Garvey, making a first start in his 26th Championship season, did well to pick up a break and fired over a nice score to restore our advantage. Lorcan O’Leary then delivered a lovely ball into the full-forward line, Darren O’Connell rose to catch cleanly over pressure and then showed excellent wrists to get a shot away while being fouled by a swarm of Dromin/Athlacca players. When Kyle Hayes was fouled around the middle of the field, Shaun Barry converted yet another free and he repeated the feat a couple of minutes later after Jack O’Keeffe won a free. It was an excellent response to the goal, we had taken back control of the game and led at half-time: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 1-13 Dromin/Athlacca 2-6.

We opened the scoring in the second half after good work from our two midfielders, Peter Nash and Adrian Garvey, linking up together and finding Cían Hayes in space and again the former Limerick senior hurler split the uprights with his shot from distance for his second point of the game. Dromin/Athlacca got their first score of the second half through a free before Adam Butler delivered a ball inside for Darren O’Connell, who again slipped away from his marker before firing over the bar on the turn. Another point for Dromin/Athlacca was responded to well by a brilliant score from way out on the left wing from the stick of Kyle Hayes.

We had maintained our four-point lead at the beginning of the second half but again, Dromin/Athlacca threw everything at us and hit us with another sucker punch in the form of a third goal, followed up with a point to level matters once again. Every time we looked to be opening up a gap, they hit back and credit must go to the South side for that, as they were fighting for their lives. Importantly, they never got their noses in front. Once Darren struck his goal in the first half, we would never fall behind for the entire game. Our response to those Dromin/Athlacca scores was to take on their defence again, and Darren was once more the man who was fouled, with Shaun Barry nailing the free. Dromin/Athlacca levelled things with a free of their own before we really started to kick for home, landing four scores in a row again.

Shaun Barry restored our lead after, again, Darren O’Connell had been fouled. We then had a big goal chance as substitute Dylan Corrigan did brilliantly to wriggle his past one defender then showed his pace by driving straight at the heart of the Dromin/Athlacca defence. Just as he was about to enter the large pallelogram, he was hauled to ground with Liam Griffin in space outside him. It was a cynical foul with a real goal opportunity on and the referee had no choice but to show the Dromin/Athlacca man a second yellow card. Shaun tapped the close-range over the bar to give us a two-point lead. John Chawke then landed another monster free from to give us a three-point cushion before Dylan Corrigan, who made a big impact from the bench, won another free which was converted by Shaun Barry.

Dromin/Athlacca had one last mini-surge as they struck two points in a row but we wrestled back control and saw out the victory in relative comfort. The likes of Luke O’Keeffe, Tony McCarthy and Barry O’Connell picked up a lot of breaks in our half in the closing stages and our forwards were always a threat. Darren was elusive as ever when he was picked out by Kyle Hayes and he stepped inside to make a little space for himself before popping the ball over the bar. He then stopped a defender emerging from defence with an absolute massive shoulder, landing the Dromin/Athlacca on his back and then forcing the free which was converted yet again by Shaun. Darren would also get the last score of the game, finishing off a great team move. Cían Hayes, Adam Butler and Dylan Corrigan were all involved before Darren picked off the point. This would bring his tally for the day to 1-5, not to mention all the frees he won, which capped off an excellent display from the Shanpallas man. Coincidentally, two years ago, the last time we played Dromin/Athlacca in Championship,

the final score was 1-23 to 3-13 on a day where Barry O’Connell hit 1-5 from play. Today the scoreline was very similar, finishing 1-24 to 3-13.

1-24 is great scoring in sixty minutes of hurling but there is plenty of work to do also ahead of next week’s semi-final. But well done to all involved on today’s display and for making it through 7 group stage games without defeat and earning top spot. Congratulations to the management team of Chris Sexton, Peter Finn and Éanna McGarrigle for their efforts and best of luck from all involved with the club to the team for the semi-final!

Team: John Chawke (0-2, frees); Luke O’Keeffe, Tony McCarthy, Lorcan O’Leary; Cían Hayes (0-2), Barry O’Connell, Cathal Downes (0-2); Adrian Garvey (0-1), Peter Nash; Shaun Barry (0-9, frees), Kyle Hayes (0-3), Conor Staff; Jack O’Keeffe, Darren O’Connell (1-5), Adam Butler

Subs: Liam Griffin for Conor Staff (36 mins); Dylan Corrigan for Adrian Garvey (52 mins); Keel Moloney for Cathal Downes (58 mins)

PREMIER INTEMEDIATE HURLING SEMI-FINAL: Our Premier Intermediate hurlers are back in a county semi-final next weekend. They will face Bruff at 3.45pm next Saturday, September 21 in Kilmallock. We are just 60 minutes away from a county final, so please do come out and support the team!

U-16 FOOTBALL COUNTY CHAMPIONS: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 3-9 Athea 0-8. On Monday night, our U-16 footballers began what was a special week for the club by winning the 13-a-side Football Championship! It was a tight affair in Foynes, against a very strong Athea side, who had finished just ahead of us in the group stages. The game was tit-for-tat for large periods, with our young team holding a narrow lead heading into the closing stages. But they found an extra gear in the final few minutes and hit two late goals to seal the victory! This is a very talented group of players, who have been very strong in both cods, and it was a great privilege to see captain Cillian O’Farrell raise the county title! A huge congratulations must go to all players and management involved in what was a wonderful achievement!

U-14 FOOTBALL COUNTY CHAMPIONS: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 1-8 Fr. Casey’s 1-3. Our U-14 footballers made it an even better week on Tuesday evening in Mick Neville Park, as they also claimed a county title! This side have broken new ground for the club, in both codes, and already made history by winning the top tier of the Limerick Féile competition and represented Limerick in Mayo this summer. That was a superb achievement, but to back it up by winning the top tier of the U-14 Football Championship also, just shows what a special group of players this is.

Fr. Casey’s struck for an early goal but our lads responded brilliantly to that setback and got a goal of their own before the half-time break and had just about earned a narrow lead by half-time. As they have shown time and time again, this is a side who knows how to win and in the ‘Championship minutes’ of the second half, they were resolute, reeling off the scores necessary to get the win.

An absolutely unbelievable achievement for the club, these players and their families! Special mention must go to their mentors and coaches: Kieran McMahon, Billy O’Sullivan and Paul Browne have guided them through what has been a fantastic year, rounded off in some style. The best U-14 football team in Limerick has a nice ring to it! Well done to all concerned!

Team: James Ranahan; Seamus Stokes, Tiernan Meaney, Cian O’Sullivan; Ethan Browne, Shane O’Sullivan, Robert O’Farrell; Ciarán McMahon, Conor McMahon; Ben Higgins, Ross Allen, Patrick Kenny; Joey McCarthy, Niall Rushe, Cian Arthur; Seán Kavanagh, Rory McAuley, Sam Guerin, Daniel Hickey, Andrew O’Farrell, Cian Purcell, Jonathan McLoughlin, Calum Coughlan, Seán Hartigan

U-14 HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL: Next Saturday morning, Saturday September 21, at 11am in Claughaun, our U-14 hurlers face Bruff in yet another county final! They have serious momentum at the moment so let’s hope they can make it a double, taking home county titles in both codes! This is on Saturday morning, with our Premier Intermediates in semi-final action that afternoon, also against Bruff, so we would urge people to try and attend this game also to see what are an incredible young group of hurlers! Best of luck to all players and their superb management team!

CITY/EAST MINOR HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI-FINAL: Our U-14 hurlers face South Liberties in the semi-final of the City/East B Hurling Championship on Tuesday September 17 in Crecora. All support is welcome!

CLUB LOTTO: The numbers for this week’s club lotto draw in De Bucket were 8, 11, 19 and 26. There was no winner of the overall draw, and the prize fund increases to €3,400 for next week’s draw in the Seven Sisters. The winners of the €25 lucky dips were: Connie Downes, Mike O’Connell, Sarah Ann McAuley and Eoin Keane.

Please continue to support the club lotto, a vital source of income for the club!

CLUB LIMERICK DRAW: After a winner in the July edition of the Club Limerick draw, disappointingly we had no winners in the August draw! 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!