AIB All-Ireland Club Senior Hurling Championship Semi-Final – Kilmallock (Limerick) 2-19 Portaferry (Down) 0-12

Kilmallock (Limerick) defeated Portaferry (Down) by 2-19 to 0-12 in the AIB All-Ireland Club Senior Hurling Championship Semi-Final on Saturday February 7th at Mullingar.


Dominant Kilmallock overpower Portaferry

ALL-IRELAND SENIOR CLUB HURLING SEMI-FINAL: KILMALLOCK 2-19 PORTAFERRY 0-12

Report from GAA.ie

A six year drought for Munster clubs at the semi-final stage of the All Ireland club championship was broken on Saturday afternoon when Kilmallock of Limerick eased to a 2-19 to 0-12 win over Portaferry of Down at Cusack Park in Mullingar.

This was a pillar to post win for Kilmallock who got off to a great start thanks to a Paddy O’Loughlin goal and never led by less than four points at any stage in the tie. Some excellent freetaking from Paul Braniff kept Portaferry in touch but the Ards men had no answer for Kilmallock’s greater power and pace in the middle third of the field and that platform of dominance helped set up a string of scoring chances at the Town end of the Westmeath venue.

Five different Kilmallock players, including all three members of their half forward line, posted scores from play in the first ten minutes as they wasted no time in finding their range. Desperation defending prevented them from posting a second goal, while at the other end Portaferry were finding it almost impossible to make any meaningful incisions through the Kilmallock defence.

Just over twenty minutes were on the clock when Kevin McGarry struck the Ulster champions’ first score from play, a neat flicked strike after Braniff picked him out with a deft handpass in heavy traffic. Braniff soon followed that score up with a ’65 to reduce the gap to four points as the half drew to a close, but a couple of sloppy defensive errors cost Portaferry dearly.

Kilmallock picked off two scores, including one capitalising on an underhit clearance by Karol Keating, to stem the tide of Portaferry resistance while two disappointing wides from Braniff also broke the hearts of the northern club and their supporters.
A harsh overcarrying call allowed Braniff to pick off a handy free and reduce the gap to five, 1-8 to 0-6, at the interval. They needed to build on that after the restart however and instead any lingering hopes they may have held of pulling off a famous upset were blown out of the water after the restart when Kilmallock stepped up the intensity and duly sent a string of scores raining over Karol Keating’s crossbar.

Paudie O’Brien and Braniff exchanged points at the start of the second half but from then on Kilmallock took complete control, picking off six scores in a row. Two of the points came from Limerick county man Graeme Mulcahy, who had been held scoreless in the opening half, but he finally found room to show his class with two stunning scores from out on the left wing, before making the result well and truly safe after twenty minutes when blasting the ball to the net after collecting a quick handpass from Eoin Ryan in behind the Portaferry full back line.

The Ulster side continued to press and both Eoghan Sands and Conor Mageean added their names to the list of scorers in the closing stages, but by now the party was in full swing amidst the Kilmallock supporters in the Cusack Park seats.

Their shouts of joy raised in volume even further when veteran forward Andrew O’Shaughnessy made an appearance off the bench in the closing stages and while the former county player failed to make his mark on the scoreboard, he’s one more weapon for Ger O’Loughlin to think about as they prepare to take on the might of five-time All Ireland champions Ballyhale Shamrocks next month.

***
Scorers for Kilmallock: E Ryan 0-7 (5f), G Mulcahy 1-2, B O’Sullivan 0-4, Paddy O’Loughlin 1-0, K O’Donnell 0-2 (1f), J Mulcahy 0-1, R Egan 0-1, P O’Brien 0-1, C Barry 0-1.
Scorers for Portaferry: P Braniff 0-9 (6f, 0-1 ’65), K McGarry 0-1, C Mageean 0-1, E Sands 0-1.

KILMALLOCK: B Hennessy, L Hurley, M O’Loughlin, A Costello; L Walsh, Philip O’Loughlin, K O’Donnell; P O’Brien, B O’Sullivan; J Mulcahy, Paddy O’Loughlin, R Egan; E Ryan, K Kennelly, G Mulcahy. Subs: R Hanley for Kennelly (45), C Barry for J Mulcahy (54), A O’Shaughnessy for Paddy O’Loughlin (56), J Meade for M O’Loughlin (57), D Joy for Walsh (59).

PORTAFERRY: K Keating; C Taggart, C O’Neill, C O’Prey; C Coulter, J Convery, M Conlan; A Savage, C Mageean; A O’Prey, P Braniff, K McGarry; S Mageean, E Sands, R Magee. Subs: S Murray for Magee (37), N White for Taggart (50), B Trainor for McGarry (54), B Coleman for S Mageean (57)

Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow)
***
Report: Kevin Egan



Fixture Details

Saturday February 7th
AIB GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Club Championship 14/15 Semi Final
Venue: Cusack Park Mullingar
Kilmallock V Portaferry 14:00
Ref: John Keenan



Venue Change

Saturday’s AIB All-Ireland hurling club semi-finals have been switched from Thurles because the pitch at Semple Stadium is frozen and the forecast is for the adverse weather to continue. The two games were due to take place as a double header at the venue, but the pitch failed an inspection today.

The game between Portaferry (Down) and Kilmallock (Limerick) has been switched to Cusack Park, Mullingar but will still have a 2pm throw-in. The second game, featuring Gort (Galway) and Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny), has been moved to O’Connor Park, Tullamore and will now throw-in at 2pm.

The new arrangements are as follows:
Saturday, February 7
AIB All-Ireland Senior Hurling Club Championship Semi-Finals
Portaferry (Down) v Kilmallock (Limerick), Cusack Park, Mullingar, 2pm
Gort (Galway) v Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny), O’Connor Park, Tullamore, 2pm