It was less than convincing, but Borris-Kilcotton will hardly mind as they have booked themselves a place in the IHC final with a three point victory over Mountrath in O’ Moore Park.
On the form of this year’s intermediate championship, they definitely did deserve to be part of the 2012 final, but there were some very hairy moments for Borris-Kilcotton on Saturday. To their credit, at the start of last weekend they were one of very few Laois hurling clubs still involved in the senior, intermediate and junior A championship. Their Junior A’s lost out to Timahoe just an hour before this intermediate tie, while the Borris-Kilcotton seniors were awfully unlucky to lose out in their semi-final clash with Clough-Ballacolla.
They started poorly, hitting four early wides and letting Mountrath build up a three point lead. Colm Lanham was central to Mountrath’s early endeavour. A long free was sent inside the Borris 21 yard line by captain James Hyland, somehow the defence allowed it to bounce and centre forward Lanham gained possession before firing over a close range point. Lanham drifted from his central position and took another score in the 11th minute from wide on the right to give his side a two point lead.
Mountrath claimed what was easily the score of the game on 17 minutes when Paul Rice soloed from his half back position to within 30 yards of goal before taking his score off of the hurley on his left hand side.
It took 22 minutes for Borris-Kilcotton to finally get their first score of the game, as the Mountrath backs had looked very solid up until this mark. Daire Quinlan won and pointed a free from just inside the 45, and in the two minutes that followed, Kilcotton Borris inflicted a great deal of damage. It started with John Walls neat pass to release John Tracey through on a clean route for goal, but the full forward was bottled up and lost control of possession. Corner forward Emmet Jones was first to react to the spilt ball, and with a ground stroke gave Borris-Kilcotton an unlikely one point lead.
Moments later and John Treacy was involved in a quick-fire double for Borris-Kilcotton. He blocked James O Keefe’s clearance and gave the sliotar to Naill Jones. Jones was able to find John Wall out to his right hand side, and Wall spun brilliantly out of a tough tackle before firing the ball into the top left hand corner of the net.
In the early stages of the first half Steven Finan struck a lot of ball out of the Kilcotton Borris defence, despite giving away a great deal of height and strength to marker Colm Linehan. Gary Brophy was switched over onto Finan to try and stem that flow, and Brophy even managed to get a score for himself in the 26th minute, the last of the half making it 2-1 to 0-4 in favour of Borris-Kilcotton.
Within four minutes of the restart, Mountrath had made it just a one point game and were starting to look somewhat comfortable once again. Dan Russell got his first point of the game on 31 minutes with a well struck free, with Kevin O Keffe drawing the gap to the minimum a short while later. Mountrath nearly took the lead in the 35th minute, when Dan Russell sent in a high ball toward the edge of the square with corner forward Matt Rice looking the most likely to get on the end of it. Borris-Kilcotton goalkeeper Eoin Fleming showed great strength to climb above Rice, catch and clear.
It took Kilcotton-Borris till the 40th minute to get their opening score of the score of the second half, but just like in the first half, it was damaging. Emmet Jones went on a looping long run after being brought back on after being blood subbed for quite a long time, and dragged the Mountrath corner back out to meet him. He popped a hand pass over the defenders head to Borris-Kilcotton’s standout player in this year’s minor championship, Daire Quinlan, and Quinalan made no mistake in dispatching the sliotar into the corner of the goal.
Quinlan knocked over two more frees, and substitute Bill Meade got Borris-Kilcotton fourth and final point of the game in the 57th minute, but Mountrath pushed very hard for a goal in the closing stages after points from Paul Meade and Colm Lanhan made it a three point game. Eoin Fleming was equal to both Dan Russell’s penalty effort and James Hyland’s 21 yard free, ensuring their path to the final was secure.
SCORERS - Borris-Kilcotton: Daire Quinlan 1-3 (0-3 frees), John Wall and Emmet Jones 1-0 each, Bill Meade 0-1; Mountrath: Colm Lanham, Dan Russell (frees) 0-3 each, Kevin O’Keefe, Gary Brophy, Paul Meade and Paul Rice 0-1 each.
BORRIS-KICOTTON: Eoin Fleming; Ronan Kelly (cpt), Paul Drennan, Owen Drennan; Cathal Moynan, Colm Comerford, Steven Finan; Alan Drennan, Rory Moore; John Tracey, Frankie Cullinan, Daire Quinlan; Emmet Jones, Niall Jones, John Wall. Subs Chris Jones for Emmet Jones (30mins blood sub), Chris Jones for John Wall 39mins, Bill Meade for Frankie Cullinan (49mins)
MOUNTRATH: Paddy Carroll; James O’Keefe, Michael O’Brien, Tommy Hill; Mick Meade, James Hyland (cpt), Paul Rice; Gavin Sydes, Paul Meade; Gary Brophy, Colm Lanham, Colm Linehan; Dan Russell, Kevin O’Keefe, Matthew Rice.