JOHN MURPHY REPORTS
A FINAL quarter scoring bonanza, during which they kept their opponent’s scoreless while tacking on four points themselves, smoothened Kilbrittain’s path to the final of this year’s Clona Milk U21B hurling championship decider following this recent round two clash at Ahiohill.
The late scoring spree – with points from Eoin O’Neill, Conor Hogan and a Mark Hickey brace – finally helped Kilbrittain to break free from the shackles of a young but tenacious Dohenys.
‘It was a real battle for both teams, not overly free-flowing but we are happy that we got the second win and are through to the final,’ Kilbrittain manager Jamie Wall said.
‘We have a young group, but a talented one. Mark Hickey was excellent tonight, while our goalkeeper brought off a great save from Darragh Collins there towards the end. These are two important positions also. Look, we took most of our chances, we will work to improve again over the next couple of weeks.’
Kilbrittain certainly had reason to be pleased but more than anything it was scoring power or, more importantly, the lack of it that hastened Dohenys’ demise. In defence they were well served by Gavin Farr, Keith Forbes and the excellent Jerry Collins, who had an outstanding hour accumulating the entire Dohenys, total of 0-6, all from frees. Darragh Collins battled hard around the middle third while Kieran Forbes, Luke Hurley and the pacey Paudie Crowley showed positive hurling potential, but as a unit the lack of penetration in attack was their bugbear.
Kilbrittain’s shot-stopper Eoin McCarthy earned his spurs with that great save, while in addition to the classy Mark Hickey who accumulated a magnificent 0-10, including three beauties from play, Eoin O’Neill, Colm Sheehan, Mark O’Shea and the speedy Conor Hogan were others to shine for the winners.
Jerry Collins and Mark Hickey signalled their intentions with early scores as Colm Sheehan, Conor Ustionoskwi, Keith Hunt all chipped in as the Black and Amber extended the winner’s advantage to 0-6 to 0-1 at the close of the opening quarter. It failed to credit Dohenys’ hard grafting, who stopped the rot with four frees on the bounce from the tireless Jerry Collins to cut the deficit to the bare minimum, 0-6 to 0-5, by the 27th minute.
But Kilbrittain’s ability to break at pace had Dohenys pressurised. A brace from Hickey and a magnificent long-distance effort by Conor Hogan saw the winners in control at the break, leading 0-9 to 0-5.
Even though Dohenys resumed with purpose, the scores were slow to materialise. While Jerry Collins and Mark Hickey exchanged white flags it was Hickey that did further damage with a brace of frees as the third quarter concluded. The remainder of the action has been chronicled at the outset, as Kilbrittain reeled off four in a row and ended up deserving winners.
Scorers - Kilbrittain: Mark Hickey 0-10 (7f); Conor Hogan 0-2; Conor Ustionowski, Colm Sheehan, Keith Hunt, Eoin O’Neill 0-1 each. Dohenys: Jerry Collins 0-6 (6f).
Kilbrittain: Eoin McCarthy; Charlie Kenny, Darragh Considine, Fionn Ustionowski; Mikolaji Kalitka, Colm Sheehan, Seamus O’Sullivan; Eoin O’Neill, Gavin Kenny; Mark Hickey, Keith Hunt, Mark O’Shea; Conor Hogan, Conor Ustionowski, Dylan Rutherford. Sub: Ronan Crowley for Conor Ustionowski (51).
Dohenys: Stephen Daly; Michael O’Donovan, Gavin Farr, Ellis Farrell; Sean Kearney, Jerry Collins, Keith Forbes; Darragh Collins, Ben Quigley; Shane Barry, Kieran Forbes, Luke Hurley; Gavin Dullea, Paudie Crowley, Jack McCarthy.
Referee: Stephen Murphy (Bandon).