Ó Murchús 1-23, Kinsale 2-17 AET
What a brilliant enthralling game of hurling and its a pity there had to be a winner. This D2 final went all the way to the 80th minute; while there were a few yellow cards on both sides, there was no dirty strokes or pulls whatsoever and credit goes to both sets of players for producing what is best about Irelands National Sport.
Two very even teams started off slowly on the scoring front with the first score not arriving until the 7th minute with a Kinsale point. Cian Lynch got Ó Murchús into their stride with a ridiculously skillful point from way out the wing. The teams traded points for the next 10 minutes until Ó Murchús struck for the opening goal through Eoghan O’Sullivan who batted in a loose ball from the edge of the square after the Kinsale kepper had made a save. Further points mainly from Lynch and Ruairc Sisk stretched out the Ó Murchús lead to 1-11 to 0-8 at halftime and they looked good at that stage.
Ó Murchús went a point further ahead 5 minutes into the second half but Kinsale then hit a purple patch. Their midfielder, who was brilliant all through, gathered a ball at halfway and soloed all the way right down the centre of the field and slammed the ball past David Herlihy to reignite the Kinsale team. He really should have been tackled at the very least. Kinsale had their tales up at this point and soon after added another point and it was 1-12 to 1-9 with 15 minutes to go. Kinsale continued to battle hard and put the Ó Murchús defense under severe pressure; their effort paid off with 10 minutes to go with another goal which was followed by a quick point and suddenly, the Ó Murchús lads found themselves chasing the game. Cian Lynch frees kept Ó Murchús in it and he leveled the game from a free with almost the last poc of normal time; the score at the end of that was Ó Murchús 1-18, Kinsale 2-15. Extra time
Once again, it was nip and tuck for most of this and it was obvious that a goal or a burst of scoring from one of the two teams was going to win it. Donal Herlihy, who made a difference when introduced, scored a wonderful point from way out the wing just before HT in ET and the sides were level again.
The last 10 minutes proved to be decisive and avoided any need for penalties which was looming. Ó Murchús just found that extra gear and some nice scores from Josh Bartlett (who finished powerfully) and 2 important frees from Lynch gave them the all important 3 point lead with a minute to go in ET. Kinsale had one final opportunity when they dropped a free in a round the house in search of a goal but the Ó Muchús backs stood tall, the ball was cleard and the game was over.
A very satisfactory outcome for the Ó Murchús lads. They had lost the same final on the same field with virtually the same team (bar one player) 13 months previous so this win banished all that in a way. Credit goes to them for bounching back and to the coaching team of Hugh Sisk, Ronan Cogan, Conor Mansfield and Shamrocks own John Herlihy. They have put in torjan work with this team not just this year but since January 2022 – they finally get what they deserve.
After the game, the (excellent and fair) referee from Rebel Óg presented the up to the winning captain Ruaric Sisk (Crosshaven). It was commented by him how high the standard was for a D2 final, and he was right.
Ó Murchús now go into the County Championship wher they play teh winners of the D2 East championship, Lisgoold. This will be a county semi final.
Team: David Herlihy, Nigel Karney O’Sullivan, Kieran May, Sam Glossop, Shay Murphy, Barry O’Mahony (0-1), Cathal O’Donovan, Ruairc Sisk (Capt, 0-3), Senan Buckley, Sam Foy, Josh Bartlett 0-1), Fionn Mansfield (0-1), Eoghan O’Sullivan (1-2), Cian Lynch (0-12 frees, 0-2 play), Joey Middleton. Subs Donal Herlihy (0-1), Liam Dorney