Mungret's Paul O'Brien, left, pictured playing against Effin, top scored for his side in their dramatic Premier IHC win over Kildimo-Pallaskenry on Friday night
A DRAMATIC injury time point from Rory Duff helped Mungret St Paul's secure a precious one-point victory over Kildimo-Pallaskenry in their Lyons of Limerick county premier intermediate hurling championship first round tie played at Clarina on Friday night.
The sides looked all set to play out an exciting draw, tied at 1-16 each, as the clock ticked into stoppage time.
However, in a game in which the teams were level no fewer than 10 times over an exciting hour's hurling the opportunist Duff popped up with the match winning score on a 1-17 to 1-16 scoreline.
The attendance inside the venue may have been limited to 200, including players, team managements and match officials because of Covid-19 restrictions, but it didn't deter some die-hard supporters taking up positions outside the perimeter boundary of the match venue to catch a glimpse of the action.
After the sides had been tied 0-7 each after 25 minutes, Kildimo-Pallaskenry looked to have gained an edge in the first round contest with a run of points from Liam Griffin, two, one a free, and Cathal Downes to ease into a three point lead, 0-10 to 0-7.
To their credit, Mungret St Paul's rallied, notching three points without reply from Eoin O'Doherty, top scorer Paul O'Brien, with a pointed free, and a smashing effort from Niall Mulcahy from close to the sideline.
Despite that run of scores, it was last year's beaten county finalists in the grade Kildimo-Pallaskenry who had their noses in front at the break, 0-11 to 0-10, thanks to a fine individual score from their Limerick senior star Kyle Hayes.
Mungret managed the opening four scores of the second half, all pointed frees from sharpshooter O'Brien to edge into a three point lead, 0-14 to 0-11.
The complexion of the game changed once again in the 38th minute, however, when Kildimo-Pallaskenry corner forward Darren O'Connell struck for a smashing individual goal.
The goal lifted his side and three unanswered points, including two from Kyle Hayes, had Kildimo-Pallaskenry 1-14 to 0-14 to the good after 44 minutes.
However, the see-saw nature of the scoring continued a minute later when a sideline cut from Paul O'Brien from close to 40 metres out ended up in the net to tie the scores at 1-14 each.
The teams managed two further points each, with Liam Harrington and O'Brien, from a '65, raising white flags for the winners. Kildimo-Pallaskenry replied with Hayes' adding his sixth point of the game from play and an equalising score from a Shaun Barry free.
However, Duff had the final say with his dramatic winning score late on.
* See the print edition of the Limerick Leader newspaper for a full match report.