PREMIER INTERMEDIATE HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 0-18 Blackrock 0-18. A serious battle in the Premier Intermediate Hurling Final in the Gaelic Grounds ended all square, and it means that ourselves and Blackrock must do it all again in three weeks time! The game ebbed and flowed, the intensity was huge and both sides certainly had chances to win it but we have to go again!

We had a bright start, took control of the opening stages and raced into an early lead! The ever-dangerous Darren O’Connell got our first score after being fed by Peter Nash. He broke the tackle and struck straight off the hurley to open the scoring inside the opening minute. Blackrock were quick to respond with a point of their own, but we would then get three of the next four scores. When Lorcan O’Leary broke a ball for Peter Nash to get onto, he was then fouled and John Chawke drove the free over the bar from deep inside in his own half. Our next score was also a score from distance: a Blackrock clearance was well-read by Cían Hayes, he burst forward and drove the ball between the uprights from the ’65! Blackrock reduced the deficit to just a point with the next score before Shaun Barry scored his first free of the afternoon, after Darren O’Connell had been dragged as he attempted to rise the ball.

This gave us a two-point advantage but over the next 15 minutes, Blackrock would hit a real purple patch and would reel off a number of scores without reply. We had opportunities during this period, but hit a couple of wides, while Blackrock were hitting some great scores from all angles. This meant they were able to turn our two-point lead into a four-point advantage for them. We needed a score and again it came from the stick of Shaun Barry, after Darren O’Connell was fouled once again. But Blackrock came back strong once more and managed to hit two points in the space of a minute which gave them a five-point advantage. During this period, they were getting a huge amount of bodies in the middle third and were winning a lot of dirty ball.

A clever steal of possession by Darren O’Connell saw him race in behind the Blackrock half-back line and tap the ball over the bar for his second point of the afternoon. We did really up the intensity in the final minutes of the first half and began to dominate that middle third sector where Blackrock had had the upper hand. Good work rate from our forwards forced Blackrock to concede a sideline on the right wing, and Shaun Barry cut the ball straight over the bar with the minimum amount of fuss, a wonderful piece of skill from the young Pallaskenry man. Conor Staff then did brilliantly to turn over a Blackrock half-back who received a short puck-out, then linked up with Kyle Hayes who played a lovely crossfield pass straight into the hand of Adam Butler. Adam showed deadly accuracy to strike the ball over his shoulder and straight over the bar. It was a run of three scores in a row which closed the gap to two points but Blackrock struck two more quick scores before the break which was a blow, leaving the half-time score: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 0-8 Blackrock 0-12.

We knew that we had only shown flashes of what we were capable of in the first half: we had got a couple of nice scores and our full-back line were defending admirably but there were some elementary skill errors at times which were punished clinically by Blackrock. Players on both sides were slipping and sliding throughout which was unfortunate; the heavy rain during the days previous making conditions treacherous even though the weather on the day was perfect for hurling. We started the second half well, with the likes of Peter Nash winning a couple of vital balls in the early stages before good work from Conor Staff and Cathal Downes saw them turn over a Blackrock back, with Conor then being fouled. Shaun fired the

resulting free straight over the bar once more. Our supporters were then given risen to get to their feet when Cían Hayes met a Blackrock forward with an absolute bonecruncher of a shoulder, knocking the forward back; Barry O’Connell followed up with another excellent hit and Peter Nash completed the turnover and then won a free. The free was then brought forward to the Blackrock ’65 following dissent and Shaun Barry drove the ball straight over the bar once again!

Blackrock responded with a very well-taken snapshot but immediately after, Adam Butler did brilliantly to break the ball when surrounded by three Blackrock defenders and linked up with Liam Griffin but was fouled as he did so and once more Shaun Barry converted the free! Some brilliant defending then saw us win the ball in our backline, with the likes of Barry O’Connell and Peter Nash heavily involved before Shaun Barry did brilliantly to retrieve possession and deliver a perfect pass in front of Darren O’Connell. Darren escaped his marker and fired over the bar on the turn off his left side, an absolutely excellent score which cut the gap to just one point. However, Blackrock again responded instantly and although we were starting to get on top of a lot of the exchanges, they were determined not to allow us level the game.

John Chawke then did brilliantly to prevent a point as he put his hurley up and brought the sliotar down before it went over the crossbar. He then launched the ball into attack and although Blackrock won the primary possession, Shaun Barry did very well to intercept and popped a quick pass to Darren O’Connell, who flashed it straight over the bar. That was Darren’s fourth point from play on the day, again our top scorer from open play, not to mention having won three scoreable frees also. The gap was again one point, but again Blackrock struck back immediately and won a free just outside the ’45, which was converted with consummate ease. But straight from the puckout, Kyle Hayes brought the ball down deep in the Blackrock half and was immediately fouled. Again, Shaun made no mistake with the free to cut the gap to just one point again!

The final fifteen minutes of this contest were absolutely enthralling, the intensity offered by both sides was huge. Both sets of players fought desperately for every ball, the hits were hard and it was really what you would expect from a county final. We had a chance to take the lead when Shaun Barry again delivered a lovely ball from out on the wing toward the full-forward position, Darren O’Connell rose and plucked it from the sky and turned away from his marker, Richie McCarthy. He was one-on-one with the goalkeeper and although he did almost everything right: struck it hard, kept it low and beat the goalkeeper; unfortunately it just whistled past the post, inches wide! The drama in these minutes was huge; we hit a wide just after that goal chance and then Blackrock were awarded a penalty!

Their forward had caught the ball and looked like he had been well held up as he went to throw the ball up for his shot, but referee Eamonn Stapleton spotted an infringement. However, before Blackrock could take the penalty, the referee’s attention was called by his umpires at the other end of the pitch for an off-the-ball incident. This resulted in the Blackrock goalkeeper receiving a straight red card, which then saw the Blackrock corner-forward slot back into goal. In what were a couple of drama-packed minutes, John Chawke then stood tall and saved the Blackrock penalty, and flicked the ball away to safety! We were unlucky not to level the game during the same passage of play but Darren O’Connell was dragged to ground shortly after and Shaun Barry did level matters!

This left the game at fifteen points apiece with seven minutes of ordinary time remaining. As is often the case, the side with fourteen men dug deep and found a reaction. They scored a free almost immediately and moments later, a quick free was claimed by their full-forward, who popped it over the bar. Suddenly, a level game was now a two-point lead for Blackrock with the clock ticking away. They then went three points up when they won a free inside the ’45 which was converted once again. With three minutes of ordinary time remaining, we were three points down but having weathered the Blackrock storm, we kicked on again.

Experienced substitute Adrian Garvey made a very clever run inside the Blackrock ’21 and was picked out by Darren O’Connell; he was fouled as he bore down on goal, which gave Shaun Barry the chance to strike yet another free! The likes of Tony McCarthy emerged with the ball on a number of occasions in the closing stages, while the likes of Adrian Garvey and Shaun Barry made some big interventions. Another huge tackle by Cían Hayes won a sideline in our own half-back line and Liam Griffin cut the ball up the line to Dylan Corrigan inside in the corner, who was fouled. Shaun again kept his cool to fire the free over the bar. After another enthralling passage of play, Barry O’Connell did well to flick the ball away from a Blackrock man which was picked up by Adrian Garvey and once more, he took on his marker and was fouled.

Our bench made a huge impact once again, Adrian winning two frees in those vital last moments and Dylan Corrigan also winning one while himself and Jack O’Keeffe also won a couple of vital balls in the forward line. But this free gave the opportunity to Shaun Barry to level the game under huge pressure. He had had an immense game to date, winning an amount of dirty ball, creating a couple of scoring opportunities as well as nailing nine frees and a sideline. In stoppage time in a county final, the 19-year-old showed unbelievable nerve to strike the sliotar straight over the black spot to level the game, his eleventh point of the afternoon! Both sides felt they had chances to minute in the dying embers but perhaps a draw was a fair result in what was a pulsating encounter.

It means that we have to do it all again in three weeks’ time, with the replay fixed for Saturday, October 26 at 6pm under lights in the Gaelic Grounds. Many thanks to our incredibly vocal support who drove the team on in the final few minutes, and we hope to see you all again in three weeks’ time! The atmosphere in what was a very exciting contest was huge, and although the tension may have unbearable in those dying minutes! Many thanks also to our team sponsors Champion Sliotars/Team Car Flag Ireland and to all our others sponsors who contributed ads in the matchday programme, as well as our list of patrons; your support is always appreciated!

Team: John Chawke (0-1, free); Kevin O’Connell, Tony McCarthy, Luke O’Keeffe; Cían Hayes (0-1), Barry O’Connell, Lorcan O’Leary; Conor Staff, Peter Nash; Shaun Barry (0-11, 0-10 frees, 0-1 sideline), Kyle Hayes, Cathal Downes; Liam Griffin, Darren O’Connell (0-4), Adam Butler (0-1)

Subs: Adrian Garvey for Cathal Downes (42 mins); Dylan Corrigan for Adam Butler (46 mins); Jack O’Keeffe for Conor Staff (51 mins)

Panel: James Mason, Danny O’Sullivan, Keel Moloney, Mikey Dillon, Jai Chaudri, Evan Considine, Naoise McGarrigle, Jack Mullane, Evan McCarthy, Darragh O’Brien, James Pomeroy, Brendan O’Shea, Darren O’Shea, Paudi Hartigan, Kieran O’Brien, Matthew Lucey, Mikey Hayes, Ruairi Maher, Ciarán Downes, Eoin O’Brien, Ryan Kelly

JUNIOR B HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP QUARTER-FINAL: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 0-12 Granagh/Ballingarry 0-5. A huge second half performance, in which we kept our opponents scoreless, saw our Junior B hurlers take victory in Adare and march onto the county semi-final! After heavy rain all morning, conditions underfoot were difficult but the sun did break out in the end! Given that, this was never likely to be a high-scoring, free-flowing game but our players showed excellent work rate and skill levels to get the victory!

The first half was a tight affair, but we had the better of the opening stages and actually put together some great team moves which finished with scores. When the all-action Jai Chaudri caught a ball brilliantly in his own backline, he powered out of defence, linking up with Evan Considine on the way. Jai’s ball into the forward line towards target man Danny O’Sullivan saw him win possession and feed Brendan Meskell, before the ball eventually went as far as Paudi Hartigan who scored while on his knees, a fine point. Granagh/Ballingarry responded with a point from play, before we re-took the lead: this time via a placed ball. Jason Daly was causing problems inside in the full-forward line and as he took on his man, he was pulled back with player/manager Danny O’Sullivan nailing the free!

Our next score was converted after a series of passes, working the space well. Paudi Hartigan played a stick pass inside to Ryan Kelly, and then received a return pass before playing the ball into space on the right wing to where Brendan O’Shea had made a great run. Brendan played a short pass inside to Chris McMahon who drilled it straight over the crossbar! Shortly after, we extended our lead to three points. After some great defending, James Pomeroy was fouled and James Mason played a free into the run of Danny O’Sullivan. Danny again won the ball before playing it to Paudi Hartigan, who floated over his second point of the afternoon!

Both sides hit some wides in the first half and although Granagh/Ballingarry would get a couple of scores, there were some huge performances in our backline. Mikey Dillon was showing a lot of composure and holding things together at centre-back while Evan Considine was reading the game very well from full-back, while Evan McCarthy was dominant on the wing! A couple of frees for Granagh/Ballingarry saw them close the gap to just a point, before we got our fifth point of the half. Firstly, there was a brilliant turnover from Mikey Dillon, a trick he would repeat on numerous occasions throughout the game: he then drove out with the ball, fed Ryan Kelly who was too elusive in the middle third and was fouled with Danny O’Sullivan again converting the free. Granagh/Ballingarry did manage to score a couple of points to level the game before half-time but on the balance of play, this was always going to be a game where a goal would be hugely decisive and only some brilliant covering defending from James Pomeroy prevented a Granagh/Ballingarry goal as they had a 3-on-1 overlap until James’ intervention! This meant that the scoreline at half-time remained: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 0-5 Granagh/Ballingarry 0-5.

We felt we had played well in the first half and were working very hard against a team who many people had tipped as favourites going into this contest. We thought that if we were able to cut soft frees out of our game that we would have a great chance, and so it proved! We didn’t concede a single point in the second half and that is credit to the dominance of our backline and the work rate of all our players. In the second half, our full-forward line continued to cause massive problems for the Granagh/Ballingarry defence: with Danny O’Sullivan breaking a lot of ball from full-forward for the lively duo of Paudi Hartigan and Ryan Kelly to run onto. As mentioned before, our backs began to get on top and the work rate

all over the pitch was huge. Brian Howard, recovered from injury, was introduced at half-time and made an immediate impact as he pinged a lovely ball towards Danny O’Sullivan: Danny was just unable to flick the ball past the goalkeeper and it went wide of the post!

But he was still deadly on the frees and again after Ryan Kelly was hauled to ground, he stepped up to put us into a one-point lead. Brian Howard was getting through a lot of work and he fed Paudi Hartigan down the right wing, who slipped it inside to Ryan Kelly who doubled on the ball first-time but was unlucky to see the goalkeeper make a good stop to deny us a first goal! Moments later, it was our other corner-forward who had a shot saved, Paudi Hartigan raced in towards goal but his shot was blocked by a defender and went out for a ’65. Again, Danny O’Sullivan converted the free which gave us a two-point lead!

At this point, we were actually on top all over the pitch but the lead remained at two points for a while. The likes of Jai Chaudri really thundered into the game, he powered out of defence with a lot of possession while lovely flicked turnovers were the order of the day for Mikey Dillon, while Brendan O’Shea and Brian Howard were working their socks off in midfield. For a time, we were unable to exert our dominance on the scoreboard but slowly but surely, we kicked for home in the final fifteen minutes. When Ryan Kelly was again pulled to ground, Danny’s free gave us a three-point advantage. Granagh/Ballingarry then had another goal chance but again, superb defending denied them! Mikey Dillon showed great bravery and tenaciousness to get a vital block in; Evan McCarthy did superbly to put his body in front of the rebound before Jai Chaudri cleared up and burst out of defence yet again. He played a lovely ball up the line which was plucked cleanly from the sky by substitute Darragh O’Brien. Darragh drove straight at goal, was again pulled to ground and Danny stroked the free over the bar!

It was a huge moment in the game: to deny them a goal at one end and to go straight down the other side and open up a four-point lead, it gave our players a huge lift! Darragh O’Brien won that free and made a big impact from the bench, he was unlucky to see his shot come back off the upright shortly after. The next score was arguably the score of the day and it was a brilliant individual effort from team captain, Brendan O’Shea. There was huge fight for possession on the right wing, Brendan won the dirty ball and then sped away down the right wing, leaving defenders in his wake. At a time of the match when the sun was beating down and the constant physical battles were exerting their toll, Brendan showed a fresh burst of energy. He linked up with Ryan Kelly, then picked the ball up and again and split the uprights from a narrow angle to give us a five-point lead.

Paudi Hartigan’s pace and movement had terrorised their backline all through and when he got a run on the Granagh/Ballingarry defence, there was no option but to foul and bring him down and again, Danny O’Sullivan fired the ball over the bar for his seventh point of the game! We topped it all off in stoppage time with a fine score: James Mason played the ball up the line to Naoise McGarrigle, who picked out Brian Howard in space in the middle of the field. Brian opened the shoulders and landed a monster score to crown the victory!

This was a huge win for the team: there has been an awfully long wait since their last Championship match and came in against a Granagh/Ballingarry side who had lost the West Final but had played a total of 6 Championship matches before this game! Our lads have been training hard all year, many of them pushing hard for a place on the Premier Intermediate team, and now have a County Semi-Final to prepare for! Well done to the management team, three of whom were key players in the match: Danny O’Sullivan as well as Mikey Dillon and

Brendan O’Shea. Many thanks to John Chawke and Éanna McGarrigle for stepping into the breach to help out on the line also!

Team: James Mason; Jack Mullane, Evan Considine, Jai Chaudri; Evan McCarthy, Mikey Dillon, James Pomeroy; Ryan Kelly, Brendan O’Shea (0-1); Chris McMahon (0-1), Brendan Meskell, Naoise McGarrigle; Jason Daly, Danny O’Sullivan (0-7, 0-6 frees, 0-1 ’65), Paudi Hartigan (0-2)

Subs: Brian Howard (0-1) for Jason Daly; Darragh O’Brien for Chris McMahon

Panel: Mikey Hayes, Eoin O’Brien, Darren O’Shea, Jack Ryan

U-12 COUNTY FINAL: Our weekend started on an extra bright note as our U-12 hurlers did brilliantly to win the county title on Friday night, as they defeated South Liberties in the Maguire’s Field in UL. This was a tight, tense affair which required extra-time but our U-12s showed the same bottle and nerve that our adult hurlers showed over the course of the weekend, and earned the victory in the end! Well done to all players and management on a great achievement!

U-8/U-10 CAMOGIE: It was great to see our U-8 and U-10 camogie teams have their first outing in Pallasgreen during the week. Both games were very competitive and there was some great skill on show. All the hard work and training paid off for the 20 girls involved, and it really is great to see such big numbers for these teams. The future is bright! Well done to all the players involved and a special thanks to the coaches David, Mary and Michelle as well as to all the parents who travelled!

JUNIOR B HURLING SEMI-FINAL: The Junior hurlers are back in action next weekend as they take on the runners-up from the South Division, Garryspillane, in the county semi-final. Keep an eye on social media for details of the date, time and venue for this semi-final.

HALF-TIME GAMES: A county final is always a special occasion, especially in the headquarters of Limerick hurling and it was fantastic to see our U-8 hurlers represent the club during the half-time games! It was great for these young players to line out in front of such a massive crowd, these are memories that they will cherish and hopefully inspire them as club players into the future!

CLUB LIMERICK DRAW: Disappointingly, we had no winners in the September version of the Club Limerick draw, after having a winner earlier in the year! However, there is no better way to support our club 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!

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