AIB Club IHC Final: Tullaroan win thriller
AIB All-Ireland Club Intermediate Hurling Championship Final
TULLAROAN (KILKENNY) 3-19 FR O'NEILL'S (CORK) 5-12
By Paul Keane at Croke Park
A classic AIB All-Ireland intermediate club hurling final yielded eight goals and 31 points but ultimately came down to the very last puck of the game - Shane Walsh's winning point for Tullaroan.
With the game drifting into the fourth minute of stoppage time at Croke Park, the Tullaroan captain boomed over the winning point, his 10th of the game.
It was an incredible end to a brilliant game that will live long in the memory of the 5,498 that turned up on a freezing mid-January evening.
Tullaroan fell six points down after a slow start and trailed by five with 15 minutes to go only to surge five points clear themselves.
Yet instead of cruising to a comfortable win at that stage, they ended up being pegged back to parity by a determined Fr O'Neill's team led superbly by their full-forward Declan Dalton who hit 2-4.
But the Munster outfit just couldn't push on for the winner as Tullaroan held their nerve to make it a dream double of All-Irelands for Kilkenny on the day, Conahy Shamrocks winning the earlier junior final. Kilkenny can sweep the boards entirely if Ballyhale Shamrocks win the senior final tomorrow.
It was an emotional day for veteran Tommy Walsh who scored 0-2 and added the club medal to his long list of All-Irelands with Kilkenny.
Tullaroan will look back fondly on the encounter though initially fell 1-4 to 0-1 down after 20 minutes as Fr O'Neill's hit the ground running with 1-2 from Dalton in that period.
An All-Ireland U-20 finalist last year, Dalton was superb for the east Cork side and finished with 2-4 overall.
Back to back points from Shane Walsh finally got Tullaroan going after that slow start and they reeled off 1-4 without reply themselves to level it up at 1-5 apiece.
County senior Martin Keoghan grabbed their first goal and Peter Walsh hit a second in stoppage time to leave Tullaroan 2-5 to 1-6 clear at half-time.
Fr O'Neill's grabbed the initiative again in the third quarter and Dalton's second goal, after winning possession and spinning away from his man, helped them into that five-point lead, 4-8 to 2-9.
It wasn't looking good for Tullaroan but they responded with 1-7 to move five ahead themselves, the goal coming from Keoghan again.
Few in the 5,498 that looked on at GAA Headquarters could keep up with the pattern of an incredible game that came to a memorable climax in those closing minutes.
Scorers for Tullaroan: Shane Walsh 0-10 (4fs, 165), Martin Keoghan 2-1, Peter Walsh 1-2, John Walton 0-2, Tommy Walsh 0-2, Bill Gaffney 0-1, Padraig Walsh 0-1.
Scorers for Fr O'Neill's: Declan Dalton 2-4 (2fs. 165), Eoin Conway 1-1, Cillian Broderick 1-0, Jason Hankard 1-0, Paudie McMahon 0-2, Kevin O'Sullivan 0-2, Rob Cullinane 0-1, Sean O'Connor 0-1, Thomas Millerick 0-1.
TULLAROAN: Paul Buggy; Diarmuid Doheny, Tommy Walsh (Village), Stephen Maher; Jack Keoghan, Padraig Walsh, Martin Walsh; Tomas Dunne, Mark Walsh; Bill Gaffney, Martin Keoghan, John Walton; Shane Walsh, Tommy Walsh (Mountgale), Peter Walsh.
Subs: Ken Coogan for Dunne (40), Adam Tallis for Mark Walsh (44),
FR O'NEILL'S: Colin Sloane; Podge Butler, Ger Millerick, Mike Millerick; Thomas Millerick, Dan Harrington, John Barry; Joe Millerick, Kevin O'Sullivan; Rob Cullinane, Paudie McMahon, Eoin Conway; Liam O'Driscoll, Declan Dalton, Cillian Broderick.
Subs: Jason Hankard for Conway (50), Sean O'Connor for Barry (54), Eoin Motherway for Broderick (57).
REFEREE: Thomas Walsh (Waterford).