County SHC: Last gasp O’Connor point keeps Kilmoyley title defence on track

Kilmoyley’s title defence remains on track thanks to a last gasp Maurice O’Connor point deep into injury time at the end of the second half of Saturday evening’s Garvey’s County Senior Hurling Championship semi-final at Austin Stack Park.

he Kilmoyley forward shot over from an acute angle 67 minutes into the action. The score was, perhaps, a little controversial with the Lixnaw partisans in attendance feeling that shot-stopper Martin Stackpoole was impeded illegally in the build up to the match-winning score. 

It was a fittingly tense and dramatic ending to what was a tight game all the way through, with neither side ever able to fashion a significant lead. Indeed, the biggest lead in the game was the three point advantage Lixnaw opened in in the opening quarter when they quite visibly hit the ground running much better than their rivals, who had a bye into the semi-finals.

Still, Lixnaw would have been slightly disappointed to only carry a two point lead at the first water break – 0-5 to 0-3 – especially as what looked like a dead-cert point for Michael Conway was waved wide just before referee Donncha O’Callaghan blew the whistle.

The second quarter saw Kilmoyley get much more into their stride, upping the intensity levels and forcing their way back level after 25 minutes and in front by the 28th, but for a pair of Shane Conway frees to give Lixnaw the lead at the break, 0-10 to 0-9.

The second half continued a similar pattern in a claustrophobic clash on the John Joe Sheehy Road as the sky opened and the night drew in, necessitating the flood lights for the remainder of the game. With Lixnaw missing a host of chances, Kilmoyley were in front at the second water break – 0-14 to 0-13 – and, with the time ticking into the six added on maintained, that lead.

A brilliant sideline cut for Shane Conway three minutes into the time added on, from the railway side into the Mitchel’s end, gave Lixnaw hope again, but O’Connor’s almost equally brilliant finish down the other end decided it. Kilmoyely running one point winners on a score line of 0-17 to 0-16.

The second semi-final takes place on Sunday afternoon, again in Austin Stack Park with a 2pm throw-in with Kilmoyley now awaiting the winners of that clash between Causeway and St Brendans.

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