County Junior ‘B’ Hurling Final Replay
Kilmacthomas brought a great of achievement to the perfect end on Saturday afternoon last at Fraher Field when they added the Junior B Hurling title to the County Intermediate Football Final and two Eastern titles already on their sideboard. Were it not for Ballygunner’s long-awaited Munster Senior Hurling title, on top of a fifth successive County crown, the mid-Waterford men would surely be considered the Déise’s club of 2018.
When the two sides met at the same venue two weeks previous it looked as if Benji Whelan’s side were set to seal a rare double but Dungarvan put in a strong closing few minutes, doing enough to earn a second bite of the cherry. However, this time around there was no doubting the outcome, with Kilmacthomas ran out as victors as five points to spare.
Having won the toss, Whelan’s charges opted to play against the strong wind and despite doing so they did enough in the opening 30 minutes to turn around after the break leading by1-05 to 0-05, the game’s first goal coming six minutes from the break after some brilliant work by corner-forward Darragh Power.
Dungarvan that had the first attack of the game and in the first minute of this game it looked as if they would open the scoring with a three-pointer but Niall Cronin in the Kilmacthomas goal did well to keep Luke O’Callaghan’s effort out.
Dungarvan, with the wind at their backs, were four points to the good after 16 minutes. After O’Callaghan’s early miss, Sean Ryan opened the scoring from play in the second minute and then went from score getter to score provider, setting up Brendan Cullinan in the third minute. The Old Boro outfit landed two more scores, both off the stick of Sean Ryan one coming from a placed ball before Jack Dee opened the mid-county side’s account on 18 minutes. Top scorer for Kilmacthomas David Hallahan pointed in the 22nd minute and it was followed by a brilliant solo effort by Darragh Power two minutes later, resulting in the first green flag of the afternoon to pull the side in sky blue closer to their opponents.
Sean Ryan pointed for Dungarvan with three minutes of the half remaining but Kilmacthomas finished the stronger of the two sides as David Hallahan, Darragh Power and Eoin Walsh (from a free) all split the posts to give their side a three-point lead at the interval. With the wind at their backs in the second half the flurry of scores expected to come their way never really happened but they did hit the first two scores of the second half, both from David Hallahan to open up a five-point lead with 41 minutes played. Kilmacthomas mounted some pressure on Dungarvan in the minutes that followed but they were denied good goal scoring opportunities in the 44th minute, first when Gary Donnelly put in an excellent block and then Craig Barry made an excellent save.
Kilmac extended their lead with minor scores from David Hallahan and Jack Dee before Dungarvan had their numbers cut by one when Sean Hyslop was sent to the line on a straight red card, at which point Kilmacthomas were seven points up. Both sides landed one more score each late on in the game, Jack Dee hitting his third point of the game for Kilmacthomas while Liam Ryan struck a late consolation goal for Dungarvan, their only score of the second half in this game. A great year for Kilmac had ended on the perfect note.