Padraig Pearses 0-11 Killimor 2-5. Report by John Fallon, Connacht Tribune. The exploits of these two teams in Sunday’s Intermediate Hurling Final at Loughrea did not merit such a thrilling finish, but Killimor snatched a draw with a goal four and a half minutes into injury time just seconds after Pearses had put three points between the sides. In the end a draw was probably the fairest result as neither of the sides did themselves justice on the day on a day when the occasion clearly got the better of them.
Killimor looked to be in the better position at half-time when they trailed by just two points after having played against a fairly strong breeze. But Killimor bidding for their first title since 1984 fell apart after the restart and did not score for over 22 minutes of the second half. They had done well in the first half with the half-back line of Martin Kelly, Kevin Muldoon and Niall O’Meara curtailing a Pearses attack where only Tom O’Brien and PJ Connell looked like making any headway. O’Brien’s accuracy from frees formed the bulk of Pearses first half tally, but they were rocked after 20 minutes when a Vincent Brien line ball was finished to the back of the net by John Malone. That score meant that Pearses led by two – 0-7 to 1-2 at the interval – but this lead did not appear to be enough, having played with the wind.
But the Gurteen/Ballymacward outfit were far from finished. County U21 star Francis O’Brien fired over a point for Pearses seven minutes after the restart after a fine run by Joe Fahy but we had to wait another 11 minutes for the next score when Tony O’Brien stretched Pearses lead from the left wing. Killimor were struggling to break down a Pearses defence where goalkeeper John O’Grady, corner back Emmet Lydon and centre back Seamus Lawless did little wrong. They did eventually find the target with less than eight minutes remaining of normal time remaining when Ollie Reilly reduced the deficit to a goal with a pointed free.
The introduction of Killimor substitute Thomas Brien added vitally to an otherwise dormant Killimor attack and two points in three minutes from the 19 year old left just a point between the sides with a minute left. Pearses substitute Mike O’Brien enhanced his sides position a minute later with a fine point while two minutes into injury time Killimor’s Thomas Brien had the ball in the net, but his joy was short lived as Referee Sean Moran has blown for a throw in. Pearses looked set to collect the trophy when PJ Connell put a goal between the sides four minutes into injury time with a point from the left wing. But Killimor’s survival instincts saved them. A long puckout from goalkeeper Tommy Callaghy broke inside the 21 and Martin Fahy raced in to drive the ball to the roof of the net and force a replay.
PEARSES: J. O’Grady, E. Lydon, G. McDonagh, F. McDonagh, J. Carr, S. Lawless, J. Jenkins, F. O’Brien (0-1), D. Roche, J. Fahy, D. Hillary, Tom O’Brien (0-6, 5 frees), PJ Connell (0-2), M. Carr, Tony O’Brien (0-1). Subs: M. O’Brien (0-1) for Hillary, T. O’Grady for Carr.
KILLIMOR: T. Callaghy, B. Lawless, G. Kirwan, D. Horan, M. Kelly, K. Muldoon, N. O’Meara, E. Hanney, N. Brody, G. Daly, J. Malone (0-1), M. Fahy (1-0), V. Brien, M. Donoghue, O. Reilly (0-3, All frees). Subs: M. Quinn for Malone, T. Brien (0-2) for Reilly.
Referee: S. Moran (Kilconieron)