KNOCKAINEY 1-19 AHANE 1-17 (AET, KNOCKAINEY 0-14 AHANE 1-11 after 60 minutes)
The 2018 domestic senior hurling season drew to a close before a modest attendance in Caherdavin when Pádraig Barron’s goal, in added time at the end of extra time, snatched the senior County Cup for Knockainey from the grasp of holders Ahane.
It brought a dramatic end to a contest which was close but never spectacular as both sides tried to rediscover the sharpness that carried them through the championship proper.
Although they dominated possession for most of the game, the winners didn’t hit the front until ten minutes to go during regular time as a red card caught up with their opponents. However, they struggled throughout to piece their passes together and relied heavily on Barron to get the scores.
With All-Ireland heroes Dan and Tom Morrissey away in Boston at the Fenway Classic, Ahane lacked their usual punch in the middle third to build on an early goal but they showed their mettle in the game’s final period when they clinically overcame a three point deficit to regain their lead with three minutes to go.
Dan Minihan got Ahane off the mark but they failed to make the most of their early possession as Dermot Walsh replied as did Ciarán Cleary to Collum Carroll’s free. However, they were finally rewarded for their early pressure when Knockainey failed to clear from their square and Ciarán O’Mara flicked to the net.
Two Knockainey goal chances were called back for frees which Barron sent over before they were answered by William Brennan and Tom Doheny. After Barron was answered by Carroll’s free, he struck from play and from a free to cut Ahane’s lead to 1-5 to 0-7 at the break.
Carroll’s free and Paul O’Halloran had the Castleconnell side in a lead of three and, despite losing Mark Foley to a straight red, they regained it as Minihan and Carroll’s free responded to Barron’s free and Walsh. At that point, the Lough Gur team brought on veteran Pat Kirby, reorganised their lineup to take advantage of the extra man and took command as Kirby with his first possession, Barron from a free and from play, Donal Madden and Jason Lonergan gave them five scores without reply. But they failed to press home and allowed Conor Morrissey and O’Halloran bring the game to extra time.
Although Ahane were back in front off Carroll’s free, Kirby, Madden and Barron’s free replied before Carroll and Brian O’Shea swapped frees to end the first period with the All-Blacks 0-18 to 1-13 ahead. Carroll stretched it on the change of ends but Morrissey, Brennan, Doheny and Carroll’s free looked to have delivered victory for Ahane entering added time before Barron raced wide, skinned his marker and cut back in from the right corner to blast low past Adam O’Brien.
SCORERS, KNOCKAINEY: Pádraig Barron 1-9 (0-6 frees), Dermot Walsh, Ciarán Cleary, Pat Kirby, Donal Madden 0-2 each, Jason Lonergan, Brian O’Shea 0-1each; AHANE: Colum Carroll 0-7 (6 frees), Ciarán O’Mara 1-0, Dan Minihan, William Brennan, Tom Doheny, Paul O’Halloran, Conor Morrissey 0-2 each.
KNOCKAINEY: Kieran Madden; Cathal Madden, Nigel Finch, Alan Buckley; Patrick Lloyd, Shane Walsh, Dermot Walsh; Jason Lonergan, Mike O’Grady; Kevin Moloney, Pádraig Barron, Donal Madden; Ciarán Cleary, Brian O’Shea, Eddie Winters. SUBS: Pat Kirby for Brian O’Shea (41 minutes), Gavin Lonergan for Eddie Winters (41 minutes), Brian O’Shea for Gavin Lonergan (extra time).
AHANE: Adam O’Brien; Aaron Hackett, Séamus Harnett, Mike Fox; Evan Enright, Ciarán Barry, Mark Foley; Paddy Morrissey, Paul O’Halloran; Dan Minihan, Collum Carroll, Mark O’Halloran; William Brennan, Ciarán O’Meara, Tom Doheny. SUBS: Luke O’Sullivan for Evan Enright (injured, 4 minutes), Pat Minihan for Tom Doheny (39 minutes), Shane Hackett for Aaron Hackett (47 minutes), Conor Morrissey for William Brennan (49 minutes), Séamus Richardson for Dan Minihan (51 minutes), William Brennan for red card (extra time), Aaron Hackett for Mike Fox (half-time extra time), Tom Doheny for Pat Minihan (half-time extra time)
REFEREE: John Paul Kiely (Fedamore).