SPORTING MEMORIES

Sarsfields (Galway ) 1-17 Kilmallock (Limerick 2-7

Never in its 2000 years history has the tiny village of Bullaun, with its 260 households, witnessed such celebration and joy as they did last week when Sarsfields totally outclassed Munster club champions Kilmallock of Limerick to take the All Ireland Hurling Club title.

The pride of the little parish was clearly evident as every man in the New Inn-Bulllaun combination played for each other in the hopes of emulating Kiltormer's achievement last year.

Playing with the assistance of the strong breeze, Sarsfields' Peter Cooney and Michael McGrath (2 ) put their side three points up after four minutes. However, the Limerick side had Sarsfields' supporters worried when, on their first attack, Pat Barrett smashed a ground ball to the back of the Sarsfields' net to level the scores, and another point was added for a lead.

Points from Aidan Donoghue (2 ) and Peter Kelly put the Galway side back in command by the 20th minute. And, in a blistering six minute spell before the break, Sarsfields performed with excellence to score five points without reply.

McGrath set up Peter Kelly for the first. A subdued Padraic Kelly began to dominate and he set up Kelly to give McGrath the return point. Joe Cooney laid on a beautiful pass to brother Peter, who was fouled, Donoghue converting the free.

Then goalkeeper Tommy Kenny soloed to clear to Joe Cooney, who set up Peter for another, and Donoghue made a magnificent catch and short solo to set up Kelly for the final point before the break.

Warning signs

Those scores broke the heart of Kilmallock, and Sarsfields went into the interval with confidence and a lead of 0-11 to 1-1.

After Donoghue had pointed another Sarsfields' free, Paddy Kelly produced warning signs of a Limerick revival when he intercepted a Pakie Cooney pass from defence and smashed home a great goal in the fifth minute for Killmallock.

Michael Houlian and McGrath exchanged points, but with Padraic Kelly, who had a quiet first 20 minutes, and now totally dominating the defence, Kilmallock were never let back into the game.

Both teams exchanged points until the issue was put beyond doubt in the 55th minute when a Joe Cooney free from midfield ended up in the Kilmallock net after Peter Kelly's intimidation saw the Kilmallock keeper deflect the ball into the net himself.

Padraic Kelly and David Clark exchanged points as the game came to an end, producing a historic victory for the east Galway men.

Man of Match Kelly

This was a team effort with all 15 players making a significant contribution. Brendan Cooney stood out in the fullback line, while the majestic Padraic Kelly, Donal Keane, and the underrated Willie Earls continuously broke up Kilmallock attacks.

Noel Morrissey was a tower of strength at midfield, with Joe Cooney, despite the close attention of Michael Houlihan, providing the attack with plentiful supply.

Workhorse centre for­ward, young Joe McGrath, gave older brother Michael and Donoghue with plenty of room to torment the defence, but it was the younger Peter Cooney and man of the match Peter Kelly, who came of age in Croke Park. They made St Patrick's Day 1993 a day to remember in the life of hurling folk in Sarsfield's club.

Sarsfields: T Kenny, P Cooney (cpt ), B Cooney, M Cooney, P Kelly, D Keane, W Earls, N Morrissey, J Cooney, M McGrath, J McGrath, A Donoghue, P Kelly M Kenny, P Cooney.

 

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