PREMIER INTERMEDIATE HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 1-16 Blackrock 1-16. Our Premier Intermediate hurlers remain joint top of the Championship table heading into the summer break, after earning a draw against Blackrock in Kilmallock in what was an entertaining contest. It is one which we felt we could have won, having led for large portions of the game, but the men from Kilfinane/Ardpatrick fought to the bitter end to earn the draw. The opening stages were very lively and we moved into an early lead. Kyle Hayes opened our account with a nice point from play, before turning provider for his midfield partner, Barry O’Connell, who split the posts from out on the left wing. Adam Butler then got on in the act, as he sent over a glorious point from way out on the left also and this gave us an early 0-3 to 0-2 lead. John Chawke was then called into action to make a smart save as the Blackrock forward came in along the endline, John was confident and assured between the sticks all evening.

When Kyle broke past his opposite number in midfield, a bit of space opened up in front of him and he was able to fire over his second point of the evening. It was already a more free-flowing encounter than the week before and when Conor Staff used his pace and power to burst through the centre, he was able to pop the ball over the bar to give us a three-point lead. Blackrock were also creating chances, and moving lots of ball into their full-forward line but our full-back line were standing firm. Tony McCarthy, in particular, was a tower of strength at full-back and Kevin O’Connell was tested early on by the pace of the Blackrock corner-forward but grew dominant as the half progressed, winning a number of fifty-fifty balls.

Blackrock did hit a free to reduce the gap to just two points again, but when Kevin O’Connell did brilliantly to dispossess his man, and came out of defence, he was fouled. John Chawke punished the misdemeanour by landing a monster free from deep inside his own half. Throughout this game, momentum was huge, and both sides had purple patches at different stages. Blackrock would have their first real purple patch in response to our three-point lead, and would rattle off four points without reply, including two from placed balls. Blackrock are a fine side and at their best, move the ball very quickly between the lines. But despite this, we responded brilliantly to this run of scores to find our own purple patch before the break, hitting four points in a row ourselves.

Our work rate all over the bark rose another couple of notches in this period and we started to win more turnovers from the Blackrock backline. A powerful run from Kyle Hayes saw him being fouled and John Chawke levelled the game with his second long-range free. Some brilliant work by our forwards saw them dislodge the ball, Cathal Downes burst onto it and used his considerable pace and power to break free of his marker and flick the ball over the bar to give us the lead, the man who is still minor making a huge impact. Keel Moloney put in a big shift throughout, and when he powered out of defence on one of his typical barnstorming runs, he found Barry O’Connell in space with a clever handpass and the captain made no mistake with a lovely measured shot from distance. We moved back to three points in front when excellent work from Conor Staff saw him feed Jack O’Keeffe in space, who guided the ball expertly inside the upright for his first score of the game.

This was a fine run of scores, but despite this, Blackrock hit us with a body blow just before half-time as a scrappy ball broke kindly for Blackrock around the edge of the square and their forward was able to poke home for the game’s opening goal. Importantly, we were able to hit back before the half-time whistle blew as Kyle Hayes won the ball and fired over the bar for his third point of the game. It meant that we did take in a narrow lead at the half-time break, having played quite well, on a scoreline of Kildimo/Pallaskenry 0-11 Blackrock 1-7.

The first half had been quite open, the second half was a real battle, full of intensity, which did make it every entertaining for any neutrals in attendance. Our backs were dominant throughout, keeping Blackrock scoreless from open play for the first 15 minutes of the second half. Tony McCarthy and Cían Hayes down the spine of the defence had huge games, offering real leadership also, but all our backs had the better of their men. But Blackrock swarmed in numbers around their own half-back line and midfield, and it was from there that they would build a platform through work rate.

But we certainly had the better of the opening stages of the second half and moved to extend our advantage early on, and we soon had raised a green flag of our own to cancel out that late first-half goal for Blackrock. The Blackrock goalkeeper emerged with the ball, but was dispossessed by Barry O’Connell, who did brilliantly to sidestep away from the Blackrock backs and then buried the ball into the bottom corner. Adam Butler then converted his first free of the game early in the second half, and Darren O’Connell also became more prominent in attack. He beat his marker to the ball and turned provider for Jack O’Keeffe, who showed lovely, quick hands to pop the ball over the bar before he could be closed down. Another free for Adam Butler after Darren O’Connell had been fouled, as he burst through on goal, saw us move into a 7-point lead about halfway through the first half.

We had had all the momentum up to that point in the second half, and had utilised it well but Blackrock would then have their best period of the game in the closing stages. They slowly began to peg away at our lead, mainly through long-range frees but they were now starting to punish any discretion and our efforts up to that point perhaps saw us tire a little. But again, our backs defended superbly and didn’t give away anything easily. However, slowly but surely, Blackrock started to hit points to narrow the gap. When Darren O’Connell won a free out on the left touchline, it gave us a chance to move more than a score clear again, and Adam Butler duly slotted over to give us a four-point lead. We backed this up with another score; Blackrock looked to be moving the ball clear but Dylan Corrigan and Conor Staff did brilliantly to keep the ball there, it was moved out to Adam Butler who picked out Jack O’Keeffe in space, who fired his third point of the game!

It looked like those two points would halt Blackrock’s momentum but credit to them, they never panicked. Another long-range free closed the gap again, and they dug deep, crowding out our half-forwards and midfield, and began to work the opportunities to claw the gap back. Time was running out but they hit a point from play and then another free to bring them back to within two points as we entered injury time. On the stroke of sixty minutes, they landed a free to leave just one point between the teams to give the spectators a dramatic finale. We did have chances of our own to open up a two-point lead but were unfortunate to see one go wide, another to drop short and even a goal chance in a schemozzle around the edge of the square, but the ball just wouldn’t go in!

A last-gasp attack for Blackrock saw a diagonal ball hit towards their full-forward into the corner. He was brilliantly shadowed all the way by Tony McCarthy, who didn’t dive in, didn’t give away a handy free and forced the Blackrock player to hit the ball with Tony in front and it flew across the goal and wide. However, the referee adjudged that we were taking too long with the puckout and opted to throw the ball in as we entered the 64th minute. From the throw-in, the ball broke loose to a Blackrock man who fired over the bar on the turn to

level the game. It was hugely disappointing for our lads to drop a point in that manner, but we remain ahead of the pack, level on five points with Bruff after three games. We are two points better off than at the same stage last year, but have four tough games to come following the summer break. We’d like to wish the very best of luck to the considerable number of Kildimo/Pallaskenry players involved with various county setups and also to a number of injured players, that they will be back in fighting fitness by the time Championship resumes!

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

Subs: Dylan Corrigan for Adam Butler (blood sub); Dylan Corrigan for Shaun Barry (42 mins)

JUNIOR A HURLING LEAGUE: Our junior hurlers are entering the Junior A Hurling League this year and their first match is against our neighbours Ballybrown! The match is currently fixed for Tuesday April 30 at 7pm in Ballybrown. This will be our juniors’ first match of the year and we’d like to wish them the very best of luck for the season ahead!

U-14 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 5-6 Oola 3-5. On the back of qualifying for the Féile finals in the summer, our U-14 footballers opened their Championship campaign at the weekend and defeated Oola by seven points; again the side’s goalscoring instinct proving crucial.

LIMERICK MINOR FOOTBALLERS: Clubman Mícheál Cuddihy was part of the matchday panel as the Limerick minor footballers drew with Clare, with the final score at 0-10 apiece.

CLUB LOTTO: The lotto numbers on 23 April 2019 in De Bucket were 1, 10, 24, 30. There was no winner of the overall draw but as it was the bank holiday weekend, there was a ‘Second Chance’ draw to win €1,000 for which the numbers were 6, 20, 22, 25.

The lucky dip winners for the main draw were P O’Shaughnessy, M Carmody, D Mullane and Tom O’Connor while the lucky dip winners for the bonus draw were C O’Brien, E Sheehy, E & K Quinn and C Enright. There was also a bonus holiday draw for annual ticket holders for which the winners were A Harte and E O’Connell!

The jackpot continues to rise, now reaching €16,300 for next week’s draw in the Seven Sisters. Please continue to support the club lotto, which is the most vital source of funds to fund all our teams from U-6 up to adult grade! An annual subscription is just €100 (€50 for 6 months, €25 per quarter or €8.50 per month) and a subscription form can be requested from any lotto seller or committee member.

REGISTRATION: The deadline for registration has now passed; anybody who has not registered or paid, please do so as soon as possible as unregistered players are ineligible to take the field or to train with the club.

CLUB LIMERICK DRAW: Sadly, there was no club winner this month in the first Club Limerick draw of the year! However, there is no better way to support both and show our players you’re right behind 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