Coolderry 2-17 Kilcormac-Killoughey 0-17

Coolderry are Offaly senior hurling champions for the 31st time after they upset Kilcormac-Killoughey this afternoon with goals from Kevin Connolly and Eoghan Parlon proving the difference.

A wonderful defensive performance laid the foundations for the win, particularly after half time when Kilcormac-Killoughey were held to just nine points, despite playing with the aid of a very strong wind in otherwise ideal conditions at Bord na Móna O’Connor Park.

Up to half-time, the game was finely poised and for the majority of the opening period, it was the reigning champions who would have been the happier side.

They played with their half-forward line very deep and kept the scoring low, aided and abetted by some ill-judged shot selection from Coolderry, which resulted in a number of long-range wides for the outsiders.

Brian Carroll’s accuracy from frees and 65s kept Coolderry in the game at a time when Ciarán Slevin, Dylan Murray and Conor Mahon shot excellent points from play for K-K, and it was only when Coolderry fired in their opening goal after 26 minutes that there was a little daylight between the sides.

Kevin Connolly fired past Conor Slevin from close range, having earlier been denied by a stunning save in a similar one-on-one situation up against the K-K custodian, and when Brian Carroll showed great tenacity to add a point to make it 1-9 to 0-8 at half-time, it looked as if Coolderry’s lead was roughly what the breeze was worth.

Martin Corcoran of Coolderry (top) battles Peter Geraghty for possession

The early stages of the second half were always likely to set the tone for the remainder of the game and Coolderry carried on where they left off, with Carroll adding a free and another excellent score from play to push the lead out to six points – it also meant that in the space of ten minutes either side of half time, Coolderry had outscored K-K by 1-5 to a point.

Kilcormac-Killoughey slowly worked their way back into the game but they struggled to make inroads against a dominant Coolderry back line, with Stephen Burke, Kevin Brady and Barry Teehan particularly impressive for the winners.

A run of scores from Conor Mahon, Dylan Murray and Ciarán Slevin halved the gap, but Stephen Byrne’s men failed to build on that momentum and the sides went point for point until the closing minutes, when the prospect of a draw and replay started to loom into view.

A Ciarán Slevin free and a close range point from Cillian Kiely cut the gap to a single point, but a needless foul allowed Brian Carroll to tack on another free, and the contest was settled when Eoghan Parlon flicked in the game’s second goal in the 60th minute, batting the ball past Conor Slevin from eight metres out.

A late free from Carroll wrapped up the scoring for Coolderry, who now have a four-week wait before they take on either Mount Leinster Rangers or St. Mullin’s of Carlow in the Leinster club championship.

Coolderry: Stephen Corcoran (0-01, free); Stephen Connolly, Trevor Corcoran, Stephen Burke; Barry Teehan, Kevin Brady (0-01), Brian Kelly; David King (0-01), Mark Bergin; Conor Molloy (0-01), Brian Carroll (0-10, 0-06 frees, 0-02 ‘65’s), Eoghan Parlon (1-00); Declan Parlon, Martin Corcoran (0-01), Kevin Connolly (1-02).   

Subs: Cathal Parlon for Kelly (HT), Daniel Miller for D Parlon (41), Joe Brady for M Corcoran (52), William Malone for Molloy (52).

Kilcormac-Killoughey: Conor Slevin; Enda Grogan, Ger Healion, Oisín Mahon; Kevin Grogan, Damien Kilmartin, Killian Leonard; Stephen Leonard, Dylan Murray (0-02); Conor Mahon (0-03), Ciarán Slevin (0-06, 0-04 frees), Peter Geraghty; Cillian Kiely (0-02), Dan Currams (0-01), Tommy Geraghty (0-02). 

Subs: James Gorman (0-01) for S Leonard (45), Conor Lowry for Currams (49).

Referee: Shane Guinan