Strong finish powers Kildimo-Pallaskenry to the title and promotion to Senior Hurling

The Kildimo-Pallaskenry team who defeated Mungret St. Paul’s in the Limerick Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship final at LIT Gaelic Grounds on Sunday evening.

MUNGRET ST PAUL’S……………………………………………..……1-13
A powerful finish powered Kildimo-Pallaskenry to a first ever Limerick Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship final success following victory over Mungret St. Paul’s at LIT Gaelic Grounds on Saturday evening.
For the second time in the current competition, the near neighbours and keen rivals served up an enthralling contest during which the sides were level on eight occasions including the first water break, half time and the second half water break.
It was Kildimo-Pallaskenry’s third year at this level and their record in the competition is one of incremental progress, beaten semi-finalists in 2018, beaten finalists last year and now champions. They now take another giant step up the hurling ladder for the second time in four years and what they showed in this year’s competition, senior clubs will underestimate Natal O’Grady’s fine-tuned talented charges at their peril in their new found exalted environment in 2021.
In so many ways, this latest episode between the sides mirrored the first round meeting when it was nip and tuck throughout before Mungret St. Paul’s grabbed an injury time winner.
The game was very much in the melting pot as the game entered the home straight before Kildimo-Pallaskenry rediscovered the scintillating overpowering form that saw them breeze past Bruff in the semi-final. In the run in, the new champions outscored their opponents seven points to two to close in on a historic victory.
Apart from picking up the silverware and the title, the victory sees Kildimo-Pallaskenry promoted to senior ranks for 2021, the first time the parish will be represnted in Limerick hurling’s top echelon since the 1940s.
Big games are about big players and they do not come much bigger than Kildimo-Pallaskenry captain Kyle Hayes and his 2018 All-Ireland winning team mate Barry O’Connell. The duo provided inspired leadership for the team mates and they responded in the face of what was a very stern and gritty challenge laid down by Mungret St. Paul’s. Hayes and O’Connell returned 0-8 from play them.
The game was on a knife edge when two minutes into the second half, the towering figure of Pat Begley grabbed a long delivery and buried it past John Chawke. It was then when the challenge was laid down that Kildimo-Pallaskenry’s composure and confidence came to the fore as they refused to panic and patiently restored parity and stayed in touch before making the final spurt to claim the laurels.
Liam Griffin from a free had the first score of the game for Kildimo-Pallaskenry in the second minute. Mungret St. Paul’s responded with points from Niall Mulcahy and a Paul O’Brien free. Liam Griffin’s second from a free levelled matter but his effort was trumped by a brace from Paul O’Brien from placed balls to reclaim the lead.
Kyle Hayes narrowed the gap but his effort was negated by another O’Brien free before minors from Shaun Barry and Barry O’Connell tied up the score 0-5 apiece at the first water break.
After a 12 minute scoring drought points by Liam Griffin and Kyle Hayes eased Kildimo-Pallaskenry two points clear but there was no separating of the sides as Pat Begley and Paul O’Brien restored parity.
A late exchange of points between Barry O’Connell and Cian O’Brien completed the first half scoring with the sides deadlocked at 0-8 apiece.
Liam Griffin from a free nosed Kildimo-Pallaskenry back in front soon after the restart before one of the game’s big moments. A long delivery into the Kildimo-Pallaskenry danger area was fielded by Pat Begley who turned and steered the ball past John Chawke.
It was level again soon afterwards courtesy of points from Paudi Hartigan and Liam Griffin. Pat Begley put Mungret St. Paul’s back in front but his effort was met by a brace from Barry O’Connell as the lead changed hands.
Two Mungret substitutes Conor Linehan and Brendan Giltenane made an instant impact with a point apiece to put Seánie Barry’s men back in front only for Kyle Hayes to level 0-14 to 1-11 at the second half water break.
Shaun Barry’s free put Kildimo-Pallaskenry in front and Barry O’Connell doubled the margin. Paul O’Brien from a free ensured Mungret St. Paul’s stayed in touch before four in a row from Conor Staff, a Ruairi Maher double and a Shaun Barry free and Natal O’Grady’s men had one foot in senior hurling, 0-20 to 1-12 and the clock reaching the hour mark.
Brendan Giltenane’s second point ignited some late hope but it was the victors who put the icing on the cake with late points from Darren O’Connell and substitute Jack O’Keeffe to complete a memorable victory for Kildimo-Pallaskenry.
Scorers: Kildimo-Pallaskenry: Liam Griffin 5fs, Barry O’Connell 0-5 each; Kyle Hayes, Shaun Barry 2fs, 0-3 each; Ruairi Maher 0-2; Paudi Hartigan, Conor Staff, Darren O’Connell, Jack O’Keeffe 0-1 each.
Mungret St. Paul’s: Paul O’Brien 0-6, 6fs; Pat Begley 1-2; Brendan Giltenane 0-2; Niall Mulcahy, Cian O’Brien, Conor Linehan 0-1 each.
Kildimo-Pallaskenry: John Chawke; Luke O’Keefe, Cian Hayes, Kevin O’Connell; Lorcan O’Leary, Barry O’Connell, Cathal Downes; Tony McCarthy, Peter Nash; Shaun Barry, Liam Griffin, Conor Staff; Darren O’Connell, Paudi Hartigan, Kyle Hayes (Captain).
Sub; Ruairi Maher for Liam Griffin (41), Jack O’Keeffe for Paudi Hartigan (60).
Mungret St. Paul’s: Conor O’Brien; Conor Flahive, Rona Kirby, Barry O’Grady; Conor Hellewell, Brian Barry, Liam Harrington; Rory Duff, Eoin O’Doherty; Michael Mullins, Cian O’Brien (Captain), Eoghan Mulcahy; Paul O’Brien, Patrick Begley, Niall Mulcahy.
Subs: Brendan Giltenane for Eoghan Mulcahy (38), Conor Linehan for Cian O’Brien (43), Brian O’Meara for Brian Barry (52).
Referee: John O’Halloran, Bruree.