THERE was a real feeling of Deja vu about Kilmallock’s exit from the Munster club championship last Sunday.
For the second time in three years, Kilmallock’s provincial journey was ended in their own ground by Thurles Sarsfields, 2-12 to 0-15.
The Limerick SHC winners were looking to atone for the 2010 loss to the Tipperary champions at the semi-final stage.
That defeat was 2-10 to 0-11 and again last Sunday it was two goals from the Thurles side that proved the difference - one in either half from their inter-county men Pa Bourke and Lar Corbett.
But Kilmallock will know that this was a game that they could have won, just like two years ago.
This time round it was a quarter-final tie and the attendance was treated to a fast, physical encounter. While never a rip-roaring end-to-end contest it was none the less enthralling for the big crowd in a Fitzgerald Park, that was a credit to the local club.
It was hoped that home advantage would stand to Kilmallock but for times in the opening half they looked nervous.
By half-time they trailed 1-7 to 0-5 but had played against the wind in the first 30-minutes.
The key score came in the 18th minute and after threatening to make in-roads towards Barry Hennessy’s goal the eventual green flag came from a 21-metre free when Pa Bourke crashed high to the net.
On the change of ends, Kilmallock finally came to life.
Three successive points from Eoin Ryan, Shane O’Donnell and Paudie O’Dwyer had the home crowd believing as the lead was down to two points.
A Lar Corbett lineball hit back but then Ryan (free) and O’Donnell again left the minimum between the sides.
Disaster then struck as up the field went Thurles and crushed the fight back when Corbett was left unmarked in front of goal after a sweeping move and he made no mistake.
Now it was 2-9 to 0-10 with 17-minutes to play.
Back came Kilmallock and with five to play it was 2-10 to 0-15 but they could never find the goal that was needed to snatch victory.
SCORERS – Thurles Sarsfields: Pa Bourke 1-5 (1-3frees), Lar Corbett 1-2 (0-1lineball), Johnny Enright 0-3 (all frees), Denis Maher, Michael O’Brien 0-1 each. Kilmallock: Eoin Ryan: 0-6 (4frees), Paudie O’Brien, Shane O’Donnell 0-3 each, Robbie Egan, Paudie O’Dwyer, Kevin O’Donnell 0-1 each.
THURLES SARSFIELDS – Patrick McCormack; Stephen Maher, Kevin O’Gorman, David Maher; David Kennedy, Padraic Maher, Michael Cahill; Michael Gleeson, Johnny Enright; Pa Bourke, Jim Corbett, Lar Corbett; Michael O’Brien, Denis Maher, Aidan McCormack. Subs: Barry O’Dwyer for Stephen Maher, inj (27mins), Gerard O’Grady for Jim Corbett (42mins), Richie Ruth for Aidan McCormack (57mins).
KILMALLOCK – Barry Hennessy; Liam Hurley, Philip O’Loughlin, Kevin O’Mahony; Liam Walsh, Gavin O’Mahony, Bryan O’Sullivan; Robbie Egan, Paudie O’Brien; Jake Mulcahy, Paudie O’Dwyer, Eoin Ryan; Graeme Mulcahy, Kevin O’Donnell, Shane O’Donnell. Sub: Kieran Kenneally for Jake Mulcahy (47mins).
REFEREE – Colm Lyons (Cork).
See the weekend print edition of the Limerick Leader for a full report and reaction.