Coolderry crowned Offaly hurling champions
Molloy Environmental Systems Offaly SHC Final
COOLDERRY 2-17 KILCORMAC-KILLOUGHEY 0-17
By Kevin Egan at Bord na Móna O'Connor Park
Offaly’s most successful hurling club added a 31st senior crown to their list of triumphs this afternoon as goals at the end of each half from Kevin Connolly and Eoghan Parlon helped Coolderry to dethrone Kilcormac-Killoughey by 2-17 to 0-17 in the Offaly county final.
Though it’s just been three years since Coolderry last lifted the Seán Robbins Cup, the age profile of their squad and a lack of recent underage success meant that most neutral observers suspected that they were more likely to contest a relegation final than a championship decider at the end of this year.
However they hit the ground running under All Star manager Joachim Kelly, and never lost momentum, going unbeaten through nine games in total.
As had been the case all year, the bulk of their scoring came from veteran Brian Carroll and club captain Kevin Connolly this afternoon, and it was a sign of the threat posed by Connolly that Kilcormac-Killoughey manager Stephen Byrne chose to remove county player Enda Grogan from midfield and deploy him in a man marking role from the first whistle. Despite this, Connolly still struck a psychological blow by getting on the end of the first attack and firing the ball over the bar with just 15 seconds gone.
Coolderry needed to build up a half time lead with the wind behind them but they struggled to do so, and with 25 minutes gone, 0-6 each on the scoreboard suggested that Kilcormac-Killoughey were very well poised for success. The county champions played with Cillian Kiely and Dan Currams isolated up front, but the two county players worked hard to at least keep the ball in the top third of the field for as long as possible, relieving the pressure on their defence. Coolderry for their part were guilty of a lot of misjudged wides from long distance, and the game was going away from them when Connolly threw them a lifeline with a close-range goal shortly before half time.
The two five-minute periods either side of the break proved crucial, as they took a 1-9 to 0-8 lead into the dressing room, then Brian Carroll picked off two points immediately after half time to further extend that lead.
That gave Coolderry a reasonable amount of breathing room and crucially, they kept scoring intermittently throughout the remainder of the second half, ensuring that Kilcormac-Killoughey never built up any significant momentum.
Three fine points in succession, one each from Conor Mahon, Dylan Murray and Ciarán Slevin, cut the gap back to a goal but that was to be as close as Kilcormac-Killoughey got for most of the second half. The sides went point for point until the pressure started to tell in the closing minutes, when Kilcormac-Killoughey picked off a couple of scores in a row to get within one, but there was to be a final push in Coolderry as two frees from Carroll, either side of a batted goal from Eoghan Parlon, closed out their win.
Scorers for Coolderry: Brian Carroll 0-10 (0-6f, 0-2 65’s), Kevin Connolly 1-2, Eoghan Parlon 1-0, Martin Corcoran, Conor Molloy, Stephen Corcoran (f), David King, Kevin Brady 0-1.
Scorers for Kilcormac-Killoughey: Ciarán Slevin 0-6 (0-4f), Conor Mahon 0-3, Dylan Murray, Cillian Kiely, Thomas Geraghty 0-2 each, Dan Currams and James Gorman 0-1 each.
COOLDERRY: Stephen Corcoran; Stephen Connolly, Trevor Corcoran, Stephen Burke; Barry Teehan, Kevin Brady, Brian Kelly; David King, Mark Bergin; Conor Molloy, Brian Carroll, Eoghan PArlon; Declan Parlon, Martin Corcoran, Kevin Connolly. Subs: Cathal Parlon for Kelly (HT), Daniel Miller for D Parlon (41), Joe Brady for M Corcoran (52), William Malone for Molloy (52).
KILCORMAC-KILLOUGHEY: Conor Slevin; Enda Grogan, Ger Healion, Oisín Mahon; Kevin Grogan, Damien Kilmartin, Killian Leonard; Stephen Leonard, Dylan Murray; Conor Mahon, Ciarán Slevin, Peter Geraghty; Cillian Kiely, Dan Currams, Tommy Geraghty. Subs: James Gorman for S Leonard (45), Conor Lowry for Currams (49).
Referee: Shane Guinan