Cappamore 0-9. Our Champion Sliotars-sponsored Premier Intermediate hurlers travelled to Claughaun to take on Cappamore in what was a must-win game in this condensed Championship format. A loss would have seen an early end to our Championship hopes but the lads responded in superb fashion to last week’s heartbreaking defeat to secure acomprehensive win. It wasn’t always the prettiest match to watch, it was tough, attritional stuff against a Cappamore side who have never made things easy for us. In the end, however, we managed to outmanoeuvre their sweeper and at the other end, restricted Cappamore to just a single point from open play!
Cappamore had the better of the early exchanges but were not able to make it count on the scoreboard as they hit a number of wides in a row, thanks to good pressure from our players; backs, forwards and midfielders alike and it would be us who opened the scoring. Darren O’Connell was pushed in the back as he went to rise the ball, and Liam Griffin nailed the free to raise the first white flag of the afternoon. A green flag was soon to follow: Barry O’Connell flighted a lovely, quick sideline down the line where he found the run of Kyle
Hayes. Kyle was faced by three defenders but this didn’t faze him; he weaved inside and out, bounced the ball off the surface to gain another two catches before the team captain stepped outside and sent a rasping shot past the Cappamore goalkeeper. With a sweeper employed, goal chances were not likely to be in plentiful supply so this was a huge, early boost.
However, Cappamore were next on the board with a free before a puckout from John Chawke, into what breeze there was, was brilliantly caught by Darren O’Connell; he played a little pass over the head of the defender into the hand of Conor Staff who flicked the ball over the bar for our first point from play. Our full-back line were heroic throughout and one of their number, full-back Cían Hayes, was the architect of our next score as he won the turnover, burst out of defence to find Barry O’Connell. Barry’s superb ball down the line again found Darren O’Connell who was again fouled, with Liam striking the free over the bar. However, Cappamore again responded well, this time with two frees in a row to close the gap to just a goal. Our next score was a lovely slick move as the ball was moved from John Chawke to Lorcan O’Leary to Cathal Downes who flighted a lovely, angled crossfield ball which took out all the Cappamore backs and found Kyle Hayes. Kyle claimed the ball, stepped back outside and popped the ball over the bar to give us a four-point lead heading into the water break, now a feature of all GAA games in the Covid-era.
We also got the first score after the water break. There was a lengthy break as the Cappamore centre-back received medical attention and the game restarted with a sideline for us.
Everyone expected Liam Griffin to cut the ball in around the goal or maybe even take a shot but he showed some brilliant quick thinking to pull the ball back to Luke O’Keeffe who had
snuck into space. Luke opened his shoulders to unleash a shot which sailed right between the uprights, his first ever point in Championship hurling! Luke got through an amount of work all over the park and the point was just reward for his efforts. Again, Cappamore responded with a pointed free before we had another goal chance. Kyle Hayes did brilliantly to intercept a short pass in the Cappamore backline; he raced through on goal and popped a handpass to the hardworking Conor Staff but his initial shot was blocked and eventually Cappamore won a free out. This was a boost for the men from the East, who had drawn with us in 2019 and another free for them saw the half-time score: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 1-5 Cappamore 0-5.
We had probably had the better of the exchanges and were deserving of their lead but frees were keeping Cappamore in the game and it was a disappointment to concede another right at the start of the second half which saw the gap cut to just two points. However, our discipline greatly improved from that point onwards and this coincided with a run of five scores in a row for us which put a little bit of daylight between the sides. Liam Griffin took a lot of punishment throughout, winning four frees and the first of these was in a scoreable position, which he converted himself. Then a brilliant sideline from Kevin O’Connell deep inside his own half found his brother, Darren out on the right wing; Darren escaped his marker and fired over a superb point from way out on the touchline. Kevin was another who battled superbly throughout and Darren, although he hadn’t scored in the first half, had won three frees and set up a couple of chances and would burst to life in a scoring sense in the second half.
Liam Griffin was again fouled, this time in his own half; John Chawke played a lovely diagonal ball into the full-forward line where Darren was then fouled and Liam popped the resulting free over the bar. Shortly after, a brilliant tackle by Luke O’Keeffe dislodged the ball, Ruairí Maher had come deep and played a ball up the wing to Conor Staff who then played it up the line for Kyle Hayes; Kyle fired a pass across the centre to Darren O’Connell, who swivelled and fired it over the bar for another score. At this point, we were exerting total
control all over the pitch with Peter Nash absolutely everywhere, winning a huge amount of dirty ball around his own half-back line and making tackle after tackle, while Barry O’Connell was also getting through a huge amount of work around the middle. And as Liam Griffin burst free of a defender, he was dragged back to win yet another free, which he again scored for his fifth of the day.
Cappamore did respond with another free before we had another goal chance; Barry O’Connell played a superb pass for the very-lively Paudi Hartigan, who made his Championship debut from the bench. Paudi showed great awareness to find Darren O’Connell but his shot on goal was bravely blocked by a Cappamore back. An excellent longpuckout from John Chawke then found the run of Conor Staff; he got the ball into his hand and fired over from the touchline to give us a seven-point lead before Cappamore hit another free.
Another substitute, Jack O’Keeffe, also played a big part and he showed brilliant vision to play a crossfield pass to Barry O’Connell in acres of space on the other side of the pitch. Inside his own half, Barry opened the shoulders to land an inspirational point. Kyle Hayes then caught brilliantly in defence and played a delightful ball into the right corner for Darren O’Connell. Darren kept defenders guessing before playing the ball back outside for Barry O’Connell, who had again drifted into space and Barry again nailed the score for his second in a matter of minutes. We were slowly exerting a chokehold on the game, Peter Nash again particularly influential, as we gradually extended our lead in the final moments. There was time for more as Cappamore hit their first point from play in the 60th minute but Darren O’Connell was able to finish with a quickfire hat-trick of points to bring his tally to 0-5 from play for the afternoon, all coming in the second half. The first came from a quick free in our own half from Barry O’Connell in the direction of Darren and Paudi who were, at this stage, running the backs ragged with their pace and energy in the dying moments. Darren won the ball, stepped back outside and fired over the bar. Then a sideline by Jack O’Keeffe in towards the full-forward line saw Darren ease the defender out of the way, pick, turn and race towards goal before firing over the bar. He rounded off his afternoon when Barry O’Connell again found Paudi Hartigan and Paudi again found Darren. This time, Darren spun and fired over off his right side even though there were Cappamore backs surrounding him to give us a ten-point lead. It gets our Championship back on track but we still need a result next weekend against Bruree, who we face at 4pm in Mick Neville Park on Saturday August 8. This Cappamore match can be viewed on YouTube for any of our supporters who were unable to attend. We hope that restrictions will ease later in the year to allow for more of our supporters to attend these fixtures, you are missed! However, in the meantime, safety is paramount and we hope that the video will do something to help. We know that all parishioners are still firmly behind our team as they attempt to make the Premier Intermediate knockout stages once again!
Thanks to all our sponsors, particularly DJ & Paudie Daly, for their continued support and well done to all players & mentors for their efforts! A special mention for Paudi Hartigan and
Aaron O’Donovan who both made their Championship debuts from the bench in this victory and we know we’ll see them in the blue and white of the parish for many years to come!
Team: John Chawke; Kevin O’Connell, Cían Hayes, Luke O’Keeffe (0-1); Lorcan O’Leary,Tony McCarthy, Peter Nash; Barry O’Connell (0-2), Cathal Downes; Shaun Barry, LiamGriffin (0-5, 0-5 frees), Conor Staff (0-2); Darren O’Connell (0-5), Ruairí Maher, Kyle Hayes (1-1)
Subs: Paudi Hartigan for Ruairí Maher (46 mins); Jack O’Keeffe for Shaun Barry (51 mins); Aaron O’Donovan for Cathal Downes (54 mins)

JUNIOR B HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP: Our Junior B hurlers are set to be out in Championship during the week, as they are fixed to play Crecora/Manister this Thursday,
August 6 at 7pm in Kildimo. Best of luck to all involved!

CLUB LOTTO: The winning numbers were 6, 15, 20, 25. There was no winner of the overall draw; the €25 lucky dip winners were 1. Willie Curtin; 2. Mark Guinane; 3. Eva
Lyons; 4. Pat Naughton. The jackpot rises to €5,600 for next week’s draw in Kildimo clubhouse. A huge thanks to
everyone who supports the club lotto, the main source of funds that keeps our club alive!