St Rynagh's 1-19 Kilcormack-Killoughey 1-13
Nearly ten months after their clash in the 2020 Offaly senior hurling final was postponed, St Rynagh’s overcame Kilcormac-Killoughey by six points in a game where the Banagher-based club handled the wet conditions far better than their opponents.
The heavy rain that fell on Bord na Móna O’Connor Park looked as if it might discommode St Rynagh’s shorter, more running-based game that bit more than their more powerful opposition in the early stages.
Instead Ken Hogan’s side did a fine job of retaining possession and working the ball up the field into good scoring areas, while Kilcormac-Killoughey found it tough to get a clean win of possession in the forward line.
The Kilcormack-Killoughey half-forward line was completely out of the game while a series of missed frees hammered their confidence even further, despite 18-year-old Lochlann Kavanagh hitting the net in the tenth minute from close range to put them 1-01 to 0-2 in front.
What followed was a superb run of scores from St Rynagh’s, who seemed to win turnover ball after turnover ball in their own back line.
Aidan Treacy’s accuracy from long-range frees, and from one sideline ball, contrasted sharply with a string of misses from the men in green, while Seán Dolan, Luke O’Connor and in particular Ronan Hughes were on target with some excellent scores.
Kavanagh continued to be Kilcormac-Killoughey’s best outlet up front and he chipped in with a couple of points either side of half-time, while the introduction of veteran Ger Healion at full-forward gave them a more productive outlet for long balls forward than they had in the opening half-hour.
A quick brace of scores from Conor Mahon and Dylan Murray cut the gap to just two points coming up to the second-half water break, but a crucial break went St Rynagh’s way when Luke O’Connor drove at the Kilcormack-Killoughey defence and flicked a handpass in the direction of Aaron Kenny.
Kenny’s attempt to volley the ball into the net was a fresh air shot but he got a subtle touch on the sliothar at the second attempt and that was enough to send it dribbling across the Kilcormac-Killoughey goal line.
O’Connor and Kenny added the next two points as well to push the gap out to seven, and while there was a rally from Kilcormac-Killoughey, who had enjoyed the upper hand in most of the head-to-head fixtures between these clubs in recent years, the closest they got was within four points.
A string of late scores from man of the match Aidan Treacy meant St Rynagh’s powered across the finish line to secure their third championship win out of the last five attempts.
St. Rynagh’s: Conor Clancy; Stephen Wynne, Pat Camon, Conor Hernon; Matthew Maloney, Ben Conneely (0-01), Dermot Shortt; Ronan Hughes (0-02), Joseph O’Connor; Gary Conneely (0-01), Aidan Treacy (0-07, 0-05 frees, 0-01 sideline), Stephen Quirke; Luke O’Connor (0-03), Seán Dolan (0-01), Aaron Kenny (1-04, 0-04 frees).
Subs: Simon Óg Lyons for Maloney (49), Diarmuid Horan for Quirke (51), Niall Wynne for Kenny (53), Ciarán Flannery for Dolan (60+1), Paul Quirke for Hughes (60+3).
Kilcormac-Killoughey: Conor Slevin; Tom Spain, Jordan Quinn, Stephen Leonard; Oisín Mahon, Damien Kilmartin, Enda Grogan; Cillian Kiely, Dylan Murray (0-02); Jack Screeney, Conor Mahon (0-01), Peter Geraghty; Thomas Geraghty (0-01), James Gorman, Lochlann Kavanagh (1-03).
Subs: Ciarán Slevin (0-06, frees) for Grogan (24), Ger Healion for Gorman (half-time), Alan McConville for Leonard (47), Cathal Kiely for T Geraghty (47), Conor Quinn for Murray (57).
Referee: Adam Kinahan