Celebration time for Kilmallock. PIC: Sportsfile
KILMALLOCK are Limerick senior hurling champions for a 12th time.
The Balbec won the 2021 Bon Secours Limerick SHC final with a 1-24 to 0-19 in the TUS Gaelic Grounds.
It's their first title since 2014.
They had seven points from play for Graeme Mulcahy and a return of 0-11 (9frees) from Michael Houlihan to secure the title for the Tony Considine managed side.
Kilmallock were 0-11 to 0-9 ahead at half time after an opening half in which the sides were level on eight occasions and evenly shared 10 wides.
The sides swapped early scores and it was 0-3 each after four minutes with Graeme Mulcahy (2) and Aaron Gillane both on the mark for their respective sides.
Gillane brothers either side of Patrick Kirby had a run of scores to move 0-5 to 0-3 ahead on nine minutes.
But then momentum swung back to The Balbec and they had the next three scores - Micheal Houlihan and Aaron Costello on the mark - for a 0-6 to 0-5 lead.
Just on the whistle for the first half water break, a Gillane free levelled it at 0-6 each.
On the restart Barry Hennessy kept Patrickswell at bay when swiftly off his line to deny Aaron Gillane a goal.
A Diarmaid Byrnes '65 did bring The Well back in front though.
Kevin O'Donnell replied but another placed ball from Byrnes ensured Patrickswell remained ahead.
Houlihan from play and from a free then regained the lead for the men in green.
He was to hit the final four points of the half for the south Limerick side as they led 0-11 to 0-9.
On the change of ends Patrickswell upped the ante with six of the first seven scores to lead 0-15 to 0-12.
Jason Gillane, Jack Kelleher, Patrick Kirby and Thomas O'Brien among the scores and they gained an upperhand.
In a flash, Kilmallock hit back with Kevin O'Donnell and Houlihan scores to level for an 11th time - 0-15 each.
A Gillane free left The Well 0-16 to 0-15 ahead at the second half water break.
Kilmallock finished strongly in most games this season and again did so.
Mulcahy and Houlihan had points to move two clear.
But still it was 0-19 to 0-18 with seven minutes to play.
Then came the vital goal from Oisin O'Reilly.
Gillane (free) replied but Kilmallock raced over the line with the final five points.
* See the print edition of the Limerick Leader for a full match report.
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