Burgess 1-16, Kilruane 0-17
North Senior Hurling Semi-final 24th August 2014
With the aid of a strong breeze Kilruane took the lead with a point inside the opening minute of the first half from the stick of Thomas Cleary. Three minutes later Peter Gill opened Burgess’s account with a well taken point after some sustained Burgess pressure. A little more than a minute later, Kilruanes Brian O’Meara slotted over a fantastic side-line cut to restore his teams lead. A needless foul on Bill O’Flaherty gave Stephen Murray the opportunity to bring Burgess level once again in the 7th minute of the half. Seconds later Burgess took the lead when Tossy Hogan got inside the Kilruane defence and rifled an unstoppable shot passed Thomas Williams in the Kilruane goal. Burgess now led 1-2 to 0-2
The Burgess dominance, built on solid defensive work, was rewarded a minute later when Murray fired over his second free of the day. Kilruanes county star, Niall O’Meara opened his account in the tenth minute with an excellent point from play to make the score 1-3 to 0-3. Justin Cahill was next on the score sheet for Kilruane as they began to come back into the game. Thomas Cleary tagged on his second point of the game a minute later to leave the bare minimum between the sides. Shane Quinlan then finished off a well worked move to bring Kilruane level in the 14th minute leaving the score, Burgess 1-3 Kilruane 0-6. A minute later the impressive Brian O’Meara made himself available to take a great pass from his brother Niall which he duly slotted over for the lead point for Kilruane. Mark O’Leary was next to get his name on the scoresheet with a well taken point thereby extending Kilruanes lead to two points
The rot was stopped for Burgess on the 18th minute when their towering corner forward Bill O’Flaherty broke down an intelligent ball into the path of the onrushing Damien O’Brien who reduced the Kilruane lead to just one point. A minute later Damien was on hand again to win a free which Stephen Murray had no problem converting and the sides were level once again. Great interplay out of the Burgess defence resulted in a fantastic point by Noel Gleeson on the 23rd minute to regain the lead for Burgess. Buggy O’Meara caught the resulting puckout and from way out on the wing, with barely a glance at the goals, fired the ball over his shoulder and straight over the black spot to level the game once again. Not to be outdone Burgess captain Damien O’Brien caught Niall McGraths puckout which was laid off to centre forward Brian Hogan and Burgess had the lead once more.
The full blooded commitment of both sides was perhaps best exemplified by Liam Gibson’s kamikaze tackle on the on-rushing Donagh Maher. The resulting collision, which shook McDonagh Park, lead to a five minute delay as Liam was carried injured on a stretcher from the field to a round of applause from all present. Stephen Murray pointed the resulting free to edge Burgess further in front, 1-8 to 0-9. Five minutes of frenetic, thrilling, end to end hurling and two Buggy O’Meara pointed frees later and the sides were level going in at half time 1-8 to 0-11.
The second half saw Kilruane first on the score board with Brian O’Meara converting a close in free in the second minute. Burgess responded immediately from the puckout with a wonderful catch and point from the side-line by centre forward Brian Hogan. Moments later Burgess regained the lead through a Stephen Murray free after Peter Gill was fouled in the middle of the park. Almost immediately Burgess stretched their lead again by way of an absolute monster of a pointed free by corner back John O’Dwyer. Two points in under a minute from Kilruanes Justin Cahill and Shane Quinlan had the team’s level yet again in this thrilling encounter with the score locked at 1-11 to 0-14 and 18 minutes remaining.
Brian Buggy O’Meara and Stephen Murray exchanged points in rapid succession until Burgess regained the lead by way of second half sub Eoin Leahy Hogan’s first touch of the ball. Four minutes later a Stephen Murray free had Burgess holding onto a slender 2 point lead with the Kilruane onslaught sure to come. Brian O’Meara and Danny Ryan exchanges points as both sides fought fiercely over every ball. A cynical trip on the rampaging Donagh Maher by Kilruane centre back Kieran Cahill resulted in another pointed free for Stephen Murray and Burgess led by that most dangerous of margins, a goal, with less than one minute of normal time remaining.
In a nail biting final two and a half minutes of injury time Kilruane hunted for that elusive goal but the Burgess defence, as they had been all day, were defiant and unyielding and all Kilruane could muster was another pointed side-line by the impressive Brian O’Meara.
When the final whistle blew Burgess were deserved two point victors with the final score reading Burgess 1-16, Kilruane 0-17.
We now face Nenagh in the North senior Hurling final on Sunday 14th of September, in McDonagh Park Nenagh.
The Burgess Team: Niall McGrath, Jack O’Flaherty, Jonathon Mulqueen, John O’Dwyer, Shane Maher, Donagh Maher, Michael OFlaherty, Daniel Ryan, Peter Gill, Damien O’Brien (capt), Brian Hogan, Noel Gleeson, Bill O’Flaherty, Eoin Tossy Hogan, Stephen Murray. Subs used: Eoin Leahy Hogan.