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Russell Rovers supporters pictured at today's AIB All-Ireland Club JHC semi-final against Micheal Breathnachs. 
Russell Rovers supporters pictured at today's AIB All-Ireland Club JHC semi-final against Micheal Breathnachs. 

Round-up: AIB All Ireland Club Junior and Intermediate Hurling action


By Kevin Egan

AIB All Ireland Club Junior Hurling Championship Semi-Final

Russell Rovers (Cork) 1-26 Micheál Breathnach (Galway) 1-15

On Sunday it was confirmed that the final clashes in both the intermediate and junior deciders on Saturday week will be Kilkenny vs Cork clashes as Russell Rovers produced a sensational extra time performance to overcome Micheál Breathnach in Kilmallock.

Brian Hartnett ended the day with 0-11 for the Imokilly club, including three-in-a-row before half time to give Russell Rovers an 0-9 to 0-7 interval lead. In a nip and tuck contest, they kept their noses in front and looked to have done enough when he pointed another free to make it 0-16 to 0-12 with five minutes remaining in normal time.

Micheál Breathnach came with a surge however, firing three points in a row then smashing in a goal from full forward Rónán Ó’Beoláin to take a two point lead. Two more Hartnett frees sent the game to extra time however, the latter in the 6th minute of injury time, and they carried that momentum on through to the additional periods. James Kennefick’s goal got them out to the best possible start, and they added on eight more points without reply. Kevin Moynihan (0-5), Kieran Walsh (0-3), Kennefick (1-3) and Luke Duggan Murray (0-2) all contributed to the scoreboard as they set up a final clash with Conahy Shamrocks.

Saturday's AIB All Ireland Club Intermediate Hurling Semi-Finals

TULLAROAN (KILKENNY) 3-20 NAOMH EANNA (ANTRIM) 0-14

FR O'NEILLS (CORK) 0-19 TOOREEN (MAYO) 1-12

AIB All Ireland Club Junior Hurling Championship Semi-Final

CONAHY SHAMROCKS (KILKENNY) 3-18 EOGHAN RUA (DERRY) 1-12

Cork and Kilkenny, the two counties that have had nine out of 15 winners in the All-Ireland Intermediate club hurling championship so far, will again be represented in the 2020 decider as Fr. O’Neill’s and Tullaroan picked up wins over Tooreen and Naomh Éanna respectively this afternoon.

The biggest drama was in Bord na Móna O’Connor Park in Tullamore, where three men were sent off in the second half, including two Fr. O’Neill’s attackers, Mark O’Keeffe and Billy Dunne.

The story of the first half was a simple one. The sides were evenly matched from general play, but Fr. O’Neill’s were far more efficient in front of the posts. Deccie Dalton led the way for the East Cork side with five points, half his overall total, though all three of his scores from play came in that opening period.

Mark O’Keeffe also chipped in with two sublime points as Fr. O’Neill’s moved 0-10 to 0-5 clear at the break, Tooreen’s solid display in the middle third undone by eight wides and another shot off the post that was cleared to safety.

Those early dismissals, both on straight red cards, meant that Tooreen had a two-man advantage by the 40th minute but they still struggled to find their range, with key men like Fergal Boland and Kenny Feeney having a tough afternoon.

Some glorious points from substitute Cillian Broderick and midfielder Kevin O’Sullivan kept Fr. O’Neill’s in the ascendancy, but Shane Boland’s frees kept Tooreen in the game and the tension in the stadium reached a new high when Feeney rattled in a goal with five minutes remaining.

Feeney became the third man to see red when he was dismissed for a challenge on goalkeeper Colin Sloane, but even then, Fr. O’Neill’s looked the more accomplished side late on, with Dalton adding his tenth score in injury time.

Tullaroan's Tommy Walsh celebrates following the AIB All Ireland Club Intermediate Hurling Championship Semi-Final at Parnell Park.
Tullaroan's Tommy Walsh celebrates following the AIB All Ireland Club Intermediate Hurling Championship Semi-Final at Parnell Park.

It was all much more straightforward at Parnell Park, where former All Star Tommy Walsh rolled back the years to fire in a goal after just two minutes, and his Tullaroan colleagues quickly built up an insurmountable lead against their Belfast opponents, Naomh Éanna.

Darrach Cooper and John McGoldrick had goal chances for the Ulster champions in the first half but they didn’t find the mark and that proved costly as Tullaroan built up a 1-11 to 0-6 interval lead. Goals from Martin Keoghan and Walsh wrapped up the win in the closing minutes, but were a harsh reflection of a tremendous effort from Naomh Éanna, who were attempting to reach an intermediate hurling decider just one year after getting to Croke Park in the football equivalent.

Kilkenny will be doubly represented in Croke Park on Saturday week, after three first half goals proved crucial in Conahy Shamrocks 3-18 to 1-12 win over Eoghan Rua of Derry at Inniskeenin the junior semi-final.

Shamrocks, who won this championship in 2008 and are bidding to become the first club to win it on two separate occasions, got out to a great start with a goal after 25 seconds and had two more green flags raised by half time, both from the stick of Kilkenny U-21 hurler James Bergin.

Seán Leo McGoldrick led the fightback for Eoghan Rua who were still in touch at the break, 3-6 to 0-8 adrift, but second half red cards for Niall Holly and Ciarán Lagan left them with just too much to do.

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