County Junior A Hurling Semi-Final
Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams 3-11
A replay will be required to separate Knockshegowna and Knockavilla following a highly-entertaining Clean Ireland Recycling county junior A hurling semi-final played at Templemore on Saturday afternoon.
Despite the heroics of the 41-year-old Declan Costello, who scored a whopping 1-11, Knockshegowna had to rescue a two-point deficit late on to deny Knockavilla a place in the county final. For the majority of this contest Knockshegowna had the edge, but the men from the North had issues in their full-back line with Knockavilla plundering 3-8 from play.
Three Declan Costello points (all frees) and an effort from Scott Hodgins helped Knockshegowna into a 0-4 to 0-2 lead inside the opening twelve minutes with Killian Loughman and John O’Brien responding for Knockavilla.
A classy three-minute spell, featuring points from Dan Breen and the impressive Brendan Ryan (two), saw Knockavilla scoot into a 0-5 to 0-4 lead by the 15th minute.
Knockshegowna took a grip on proceedings thereafter and out-scored Knockavilla 1-4 to 0-1 to lead 1-8 to 0-6 by the 29th minute. The points arrived courtesy of Declan Costello (three) and Graham Gohery while Costello notched the three-pointer in the 22nd minute - Costello broke down Graham Gohery’s long-range free and although Thomas Ryan saved initially Costello was on hand to scramble home the rebound.
Killian Loughman and Declan Costello then traded points before that man Brendan Ryan cracked in a superb right-handed goal - half-time: Knockshegowna 1-9 Knockavilla 1-7.
Once more Knockshegowna set the pace during the opening minutes of the second half with points from Declan Costello (three frees), Denis Cahill and Scott Hodgins helping their side into 1-14 to 1-8 lead by the 39th minute.
With twenty minutes to play Knockavilla’s Killian Loughman fired home his side’s second goal to cut the deficit significantly and when Loughman added a point in the 41st minute Knockshegown’a lead was down to two (1-14 to 2-9).
A Declan Costello free settled Knockshegowna somewhat, that is until a ball broke inside their full-back line and Brendan Ryan helped himself to his second goal of the afternoon to tie the game in the 52nd minute (1-15 to 3-9).
A traumatised Knockshegowna then proceeded to concede two further points - Brendan Ryan and Peter Comerford (free) - and with a mere five minutes to play Knockavilla led 3-11 to 1-15.
Considering the drama it was hard to see Knockshegowna recover, but recover they did in a storming finish. Outstanding wing-back Colin Browne fired over a smashing long-range point to leave one in it before a Declan Costello free from a tight angle right on the hour mark levelled matters.
Knockavilla did fire two late wides, but a draw was probably a reasonable result.
Knockavilla Kickhams: T Ryan, D Horgan, R O’Dwyer, D Shanahan, P Morrissey, T Comerford (0-1, 0-1 ’65), B Farrell, S Morrissey, C Horan, G Farrell, D Breen (0-1), P Comerford (0-1, 0-1 free), B Ryan (2-4), J O’Brien (0-1), K Loughman (1-3). Subs: (26th) S Griffey for B Farrell, (44th) A Butler for J O’Brien.
Knockshegowna: R King, A Browne, D King, P King, M O’Brien, S Kennedy, C Browne (0-1), G Gohery (0-1), B Bond, S Hodgins (0-2), E Murphy (0-1), D Browne, D Cahill (0-1), J Cleary, D Costello (1-11, 0-8 frees, 0-1 ’65) . Subs: (42nd) D Downey for J Cleary, (51st) F Bond for S Kennedy.
Referee: M Ryan (Moyne-Templetuohy).