Kilmallock had to dig deep before being crowned Limerick Senior Hurling champions for the 10th time with victory over gallant Adare at the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday.

While it was not a classic and never came near reaching the dizzy standards of the Kilmallock and Na Piarsaigh semi-final, the game was entertaining, full blooded, exciting and proved good entertainment for the 4,800 attendance.

Kilmallock came into the game bearing the mantle of hot favourites but Adare were not in the least fazed by their opponents rating as they took the game to Tony Considine’s men right from the start and were in the hunt until Kieran Kenneally put the seal on victory with an excellent point in the third minute of injury time.

Kilmallock suffered a blow minutes before the throw in when full back Philip O’Loughlin who had been nursing an injury was unable to start and the reshuffle saw his younger brother Mark move in from the corner to the fringe of the square with the experienced Liam Hurley coming into the right corner back position. Having conceded four goals against Na Piarsaigh in the semi-final, it was the line of the team most under the spotlight but on this occasion there never was slightest hint of a repeat over the 60 odd minutes of any such prolificacy. The full back line was superb and only once did Adare get a point blank shot at Barry Hennessy and when they did the Kilmallock custodian dealt with it.

Adare had the better of the opening half when all their big names stood and provided leadership. Declan Hannon was outstanding throughout while Wayne McNamara in a surprise move before the throw in was moved from his customary half back position to midfield in a bid to negate the likely impact of Kilmallock captain Paudie O’Brien. It worked for the first half as Adare ticked many of the boxes in that period. The defence was coping ably with the Kilmallock attack though Paudie O’Dwyer at centre half forward was making headway and did so throughout the match. The room available to Graeme Mulcahy was minimal, he would have more room in a telephone kiosk thanks to the close marking of Stephen Lavin and the Adare defence.

Adare maintained the pace into the early stages of the second half until Kil-mallock brought Graeme Mulcahy out around the middle and sent Eoin Ryan in tfront of goal and both moves worked with drastic consequences for the Adare challenge. Mulcahy, relishing the space in middle, was central to much of Kilmallock’s improved play and greater intensity, while Eoin Ryan was causing all sorts of problems around goal and he crowned his per-formance by neatly laying off for Jake Mulcahy to fire home the game’s only goal. In the second period, Kilmallock’s big names stood up as apart from Mulcahy, Gavin O’Ma-hony, Bryan O’Sullivan who was outstanding throughout and Paudie O’Brien all played huge roles in wresting the initiative from Adare and ensuring that the Daly Cup would return to the Baalbec later that evening.

Adare played with the advantage of the breeze in the opening half and very little separated the sides by the end of the first quarter at which point, Adare had their noses just in front, 0-4 to 0-3. Three points from Declan Hannon, two from frees, and a Willie Griffin free accounted for Adare’s quartet with Eoin Ryan and Paudie O’Dwyer (2)replying for Kilmallock.

Declan Hannon doubled the lead only for Paudie O’Brien and Shane O’Donnell to reply and level matters 0-5 apiece for the third with 20 minutes on the clock. A fine effort by Robert Egan which put Kilmallock in the front for the first time brought a prompt response from Adare in the shape of three white flags from Hannon (2) and John Fitzgibbon and a half time lead of 0-8 to 0-6.

Kilmallock got the best possible start to the second half with a point from a line ball from Jake Mulcahy inside a minute. Conor Fitzgerald and Paudie O’Brien exchanged minors before Barry Hennessy brought off a splendid save from Diarmuid Sexton to prevent Adare going four in front. The lead was however stretched to three courtesy of a pair of quick fire points from Declan Hannon and Wayne McNamara.

Kilmallock hit a purple patch and after points from Eoin Ryan, Kevin O’Donnell and Paudie O’Dwyer, Eoin Ryan turned provider when he sublimely played the ball into the path of Jake Mulcahy who fired an unstoppable ground shot to the net. Eoin Ryan added a point and suddenly daylight was beginning to appear. Declan Hannon had not read that script and his two quick points from play ensured an exciting finish 1-12 to 0-13 with five minutes remaining.

In a nail biting finish, Paudie O’Brien restored a three point cushion for Kilmallock, Declan Hannon brought it back to two, Robert Egan made it three again before Declan Hannon cancelled it out to ensure that the game went right down to the wire. Kilmallock introduced Kieran Kenneally on the hour and in his only slice of the action he won a very good ball and in a flash bisected the uprights for a clinching score in the third minute of time added on.

After the game Liam Lenihan, Chairman of Limerick County Board presented the Daly Cup to Kilmallock’s winning captain Paudie O’Brien. In a poignant moment, the Kilmallock captain in his address dedicated the Kilmallock win to James Long, the young Kil-mallock hurler who died unexpectedly during the year.

Scorers: Kilmallock: Jake Mulcahy 1-1, 1s, Eoin Ryan 1f, Paudie O’Dwyer and Paudie O’Brien 0-3 each, Robert Egan 0-2, Shane O’Donnell, Kevin O’Donnell and Kieran Kenneally 0-1 each.

Adare: Declan Hannon 0-11, 5f, 2-65, Willie Griffin free, John Fitzgibbon, Conor Fitz-gerald and Wayne McNamara 0-1 each.

Kilmallock: Barry Hennessy; Liam Hurley, Mark O’Loughlin, Kevin O’Mahony; Liam Walsh, Gavin O’Mahony, Bryan O’Sullivan; Robert Egan, Paudie O’Brien (capt); Jake Mulcahy, Paudie O’Dwyer, Eoin Ryan, Graeme Mulcahy, Kevin O’Donnell and Shane O’Donnell.

Subs: Kieran Kenneally for K. O’Donnell (60).

Adare: Stephen O’Don-oghue; Jeff Lohan, Michael Clifford, Stephen Lavin; Paul Keane (captain), Ross Kennedy, David Dillon: Wayne McNamara, Jody Hannon; Conor Fitzgerald, Declan Hannon, Aidan O’Rahilly; Donncha Sheehan, John Fitzgibbon and Willie Griffin.

Subs: Diarmuid Sexton for O’Rahilly (24), Andrew O’Connell for Sheehan (30) and Donncha Sheehan for Fitzgerald (60).

Referee: Declan O’Dris-coll, Ballinacurra Gaels.