Kilcormac-Killoughey (Offaly) 2-15 Castletown Geoghegan (Westmeath) 1-12

Kilcormac-Killoughey continued their record of winning at least one game in each of their four Leinster club hurling campaigns, as they overcame the setback of a red card at the start of the second half to record a 2-15 to 1-12 quarter-final win over Castletown Geoghegan of Westmeath at Bord na Móna O’Connor Park in Tullamore.

With their captain and talisman Aonghus Clarke out of the country, Castletown Geoghegan were heavily reliant on Niall O’Brien to lead their charge, and the Westmeath county forward certainly obliged with a strong individual performance, starting with a brilliant penalty after six minutes, awarded for a foul on Neil Kirby by Enda Grogan.

Kilcormac-Killoughey were able to reply in kind almost immediately when Castletown Geoghegan goalkeeper Paddy Maloney spilled the ball in the tackle, and Peter Healion was on hand to tap in as simple a goal as he’ll ever score.

However, with O’Brien in stunning form, firing over points from all angles, including a wonderful sideline cut from underneath the stand, Castletown Geoghegan quickly moved into a four-point lead.

In a contest where momentum ebbed and flowed throughout the game, the Westmeath club were unable to build on that lead however, and they were again rocked on their heels when Dan Currams fired in a low shot to the net seven minutes before half-time.

James Gorman had a wonderful chance to add a third goal for the Offaly side, but he blasted the ball over the bar from close range, one of three points from play for the rangy wing-forward.

With a strong wind set to favour them after the interval, the Offaly club looked to be in a strong position with a 2-06 to 1-08 interval lead, only to see Stephen Leonard sent off after just 30 seconds of the second half for a second bookable offence.

That left Liam Varley operating as a free man for most of the half hour, but without the option of firing over points from long range, Castletown Geoghegan started to run out of ideas up front.

Meanwhile K/K gradually built up a lead through the steady free taking of Ciarán Slevin.

His midfield partner Cillian Kiely chipped in with two points from play and while key forwards like Peter Healion, Currams and Conor Mahon all struggled to make an impact after half time, Kilcormac-Killoughey’s solid defensive work kept Castletown Geoghegan at bay. 

The win sets up a Leinster semi-final clash with Mount Leinster Rangers in a fortnight, with Tullamore once again set to play host to that fixture.

They will meet the Carlow side after they recorded a 0-19 to 0-13 win over Camross in O’Moore Park.

That margin, however, failed to tell the whole story as the Laois men only trailed by a single point in the closing stages.

The half-time score read 0-06 to 0-05 to the Carlow champions but Camross were reduced to 14 soon after the break when Darrell Dooley got his second yellow card.  

The game was still tight until the end when a two-minute spell yielded four Rangers points and saw them into the semi-finals.

Kilcormac-Killoughey: Conor Slevin; K Leonard, G Healion, E Grogan; K Grogan, D Kilmartin, J Quinn; C Kiely (0-02), Ciarán Slevin (0-08, 0-06 frees); T Geraghty (0-01), C Mahon, J Gorman (0-03); S Leonard, P Healion (1-00), D Currams (1-00).  

Subs: P Geraghty (0-01) for Gorman (47), S Guinan for P Healion (59)

Castletown Geoghegan: P Maloney; N McKenna, D McDermott, E Óg Clarke; C Kane, S Clavin (0-02), L Varley; D Lynch, J Bermingham; D McCormack, J Clarke (0-01), E Quinn; N Kirby, N O’Brien (1-08, 1-00 pen, 0-03 frees, 0-01 sideline), P Maxwell (0-01).

Subs: P Doody for Kirby (44), A Corbett for McCormack (44)

Referee: Justin Heffernan (Wexford)