PREMIER INTERMEDIATE HURLING FINAL REPLAY: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 0-16 Blackrock 1-18. This is a difficult one to take as, after a long year, we were defeated at the final hurdle by Blackrock. I am finding it difficult to put into words the tangible feeling of disappointment which is now lingering, as only a defeat in a final can make you feel. For long portions of this replayed final, we had our noses in front but were never able to kill off our opponents and the game’s only goal came at a crucial juncture in deciding the game.

Blackrock got on the board first with a point from play but we hit back almost immediately. Adam Butler won a good turnover in the Blackrock backline with a hefty shoulder, Liam Griffin did well to get onto the break and he found Adam in space again who slotted over the bar from out the field. Blackrock re-took the lead with a pointed free but we hit back with a ’65 from Shaun Barry, after his own sideline cut was deflected out of play by a Blackrock hurley. From that puckout, Kyle Hayes did brilliantly to dispossess the Blackrock half-back, step inside and pop the ball over the bar to give us the lead for the first time. Again, Blackrock levelled with another free but the lead was back in our hands almost instantly. John Chawke interchanged passes with Tony McCarthy from the puckout and landed the ball down on top of the 20-metre line. Darren O’Connell rose highest to claim brilliantly over his marker, spun away and hit a lovely point.

Darren was fouled shortly after following good work in defence from Barry O’Connell and strong running from Cathal Downes, and Shaun Barry made no mistake to convert the free. Another Blackrock free reduced the deficit to a single point, and they then levelled matters quickly with a nice score from play from the right touchline. Shaun put us back into the lead with a free from a difficult angle, after Cían Hayes was fouled after he had played the ball down the wing, with referee Donnacha O’Callaghan awarding the free from where the ball landed. It was a tightly-contested first half, and Blackrock again levelled matters with a pointed free.

But we finished the half strongly and re-took the lead when Cían Hayes did well on a couple of occasions to prevent a Blackrock player winning possession before centre-forward Shaun Barry broke onto the loose ball, drove through the middle and popped over the bar. Our half-back line of Cían Hayes, Barry O’Connell and Lorcan O’Leary were attacking the ball brilliantly and giving us a strong platform while our forwards were working very hard in congested space. Blackrock did level matters again with another free but we would then score two points in a row as we approached the break. An angled ball by Kyle Hayes towards the edge of the large parellologram saw Darren O’Connell go up and compete; he was dragged to ground but Kyle had also been fouled, but Shaun made no mistake with the free.

A great team move then saw us win draw another free to get our next score. Lorcan O’Leary did very well to break a high ball and fed Conor Staff in space, he linked up with Kyle Hayes who then found Liam Griffin. Liam was fouled as he went through on goal, with a hurley around the neck and once more, Shaun nailed the free. Another free for Blackrock saw them reduce the gap but straight from that puckout, Darren O’Connell was blatantly fouled as he tried to get on the end of John Chawke’s monster puckout. Shaun Barry fired the free straight over the bar to leave the half-time score: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 0-10 Blackrock 0-8.

We had played with the wind during the first half an hour and conditions on the day were dry and clear, but bitterly cold. We had worked hard all over the pitch but perhaps could have

been a couple of points further ahead on the scoreboard. Early in the second half, Barry O’Connell again broke onto a ball in defence, he linked up with Peter Nash who drove a ball into space for Darren O’Connell, who was again impeded as he made his run, this time drawing a yellow card for his marker for persistent fouling. Shaun converted the free to give us a three-point lead. We then had a sniff of a goal opportunity when Kyle Hayes did brilliantly to win a puckout, then evade three players before popping to Cathal Downes in space. Cathal’s attempt at a shot dropped short in around the goalmouth, the goalkeeper didn’t secure it first time but the referee blew for a free out against Liam Griffin.

Our forwards continued to work themselves into the ground, pressuring Blackrock backs on every occasion, the likes of Adam Butler, Cathal Downes and Kyle Hayes among those winning a series of turnovers early in the second half but the work rate from all the forwards was superb. Blackrock did get the next score but some great work from Lorcan O’Leary on the left wing saw him win dirty ball and then pop the handpass to Kyle Hayes. Kyle set off on a run, burst through a couple of tackles and fired over the bar off his right side while being fouled. Blackrock rallied to hit two scores on the trot, but this called for a big response instantly from our team once again. Kyle Hayes again won a puckout brilliantly, before playing a very clever ball across the field to Liam Griffin in space, who stepped inside and fired straight over the bar for his first score of the afternoon.

Cían Hayes then did brilliantly to burst onto the ball on the right wing, was fouled but managed to slip a handpass to his brother, and Kyle slotted his third point from play in some style to give us a three-point lead! But Blackrock would have the better of the next ten minutes and would again get a couple of points without reply before getting the game’s crucial score with just over ten minutes left. A ball broke in around the square, and a quick handpass was slipped to their substitute forward who stuck the ball in the back of the net. However, we did respond excellently to the score when Darren O’Connell was again fouled, wrapped up by his marker and Adam Butler slotted the free from out on the right.

But in the closing stages, things did not go our way. Blackrock hit a couple of scores to just open out their lead; perhaps a bit of cuteness and experience on their part proved crucial. As time ticked away and they defended their lead, they retreated bodies back and made it very difficult for us to win possession while creating space at the other end. Try as we might, we couldn’t create the necessary scoring chances while Blackrock landed some big scores from distance. There were a couple of goalmouth scrambles as we chased a goal, but with the amount of bodies back, we were unable to create anything clearcut. A powerful driving run by team captain Barry O’Connell saw him carry the ball 25 metres, evade a few tacklers before being hauled unceremoniously to ground inside the D. John Chawke came forward to take the free but his piledriver flew narrowly over the crossbar. John stayed forward for the last sixty seconds but unfortunately, no ball came his way. Darren O’Connell then had a shot blocked by four Blackrock defenders, all throwing themselves at the ball but that was the last half-chance and the referee then blew the final whistle.

It was a desperately disappointing end to proceedings; to have the game slip away in the closing minutes which was an area we had been so strong in all year. But we must congratulate Blackrock on their victory, they delivered at the right time. We have had three serious battles with them in Championship this year, twice ending in draws but they managed to edge us in the end.

The club would like to sincerely thank the players who have put in a huge shift this year, from pre-season training in the depths of winter all the way to the October bank holiday weekend. There are none more disappointed than them but they continue to drive this club on to new levels, act as role models for the younger generations and they will be back next year!

We would also like to thank the management team for all their efforts: this is Chris Sexton’s fourth year in charge of the team and the side have broken new ground in each year, and he continues to put in a monumental effort in preparing the team. Many thanks also to Peter Finn, who came in as coach this year and had the team playing some great hurling through nine intense Championship matches, and also to Liam Hurley who came in as physical trainer and had the players in superb condition. We must also thank Éanna McGarrigle as selector with responsibility for stats as well as Jim Maher, Sean Cuddihy and Dave O’Connor in the backroom team. The amount of work behind the scenes that these men put in is unreal, and played a huge part in the club reaching the final. Many thanks also to Dave O’Connor and Brendan O’Shea for providing first aid services, and Paudie Ivess as physical therapist.

Team: John Chawke (0-1, free); Kevin O’Connell, Tony McCarthy, Luke O’Keeffe; Cían Hayes, Barry O’Connell, Lorcan O’Leary; Conor Staff, Peter Nash; Kyle Hayes (0-3), Shaun Barry (0-8, 0-6 frees, 0-1 ‘65), Cathal Downes; Liam Griffin (0-1), Darren O’Connell (0-1), Adam Butler (0-2, 0-1 free)

Subs: Adrian Garvey for Barry O’Connell (blood sub, 44-45 mins); Adrian Garvey for Conor Staff (46 mins); Dylan Corrigan for Liam Griffin (50 mins); Jack O’Keeffe for Cathal Downes (55 mins)

U-21 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP: Our U-21 footballers begin their campaign this bank holiday Monday October 28 at 4pm away to Claughaun. Best of luck to all involved!

COIS SIONNA CREDIT UNION HURLING ACADEMY: The Cois Sionna Credit Union Hurling Academy began this week in Kilcornan, and will continue for the next number of weeks for U-10s, U-12s and U-14s (at 7pm, 8pm and 6pm respectively). All are welcome; for more information, please contact Rachel on 087 9331325 or

NATIONAL SCHOOL COLOURING COMPETITIONS: We recently held a colouring competition in both Kildimo and Pallaskenry national schools where we asked the pupils to colour in some of our star hurlers, Barry O’Connell and Kyle Hayes. We had some great entries and some very colourful Barry and Kyles! The winners were all presented with signed sliotars and many thanks to the school and teachers for their help and co-operation! Our winners were: Fionn Cregg, Nia Grogan, Maebh Sheehy, Mia Lenihan, Luke Fitzgerald, Ryan Guiney, Daniel Bradley, Eva McMahon, Reece Moore, Lorcan McNamara, Adam Nealon, Niamh Bourke, Niamh Moloney, Cillian Edwards and Clodagh Enright.

CLUB LOTTO: There was no winner of this week’s club lotto held in the Seven Sisters. The numbers drawn were 11, 24, 25 and 26. Congratulations to our lucky dip winners, who won €25 each: 1. Aiden O’Mahony; 2. Carol Chawke; 3. Mid-West Vet Clinic; 4. S. Warner. The jackpot rises to €2,900 ahead of next week’s draw in the Corner House. Please continue to support the club lotto as it is the main source of funds for our teams!

CLUB LIMERICK DRAW: Disappointingly, we had no winners in the Club Limerick draw for October, 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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