Reports of the demise of Camross may have been a little premature as they advanced to the quarter finals of this year’s championship with an impressive display at O’Moore Park on Sunday evening that leaves new kids on the block Borris in Ossory Kilcotton in the relegation zone at the first attempt.
In what was the only real knockout game of the third round it was Camross with their backs to the wall and manager Brian Whelehan under the severest of pressure that produced their best display of the year to keep them in the championship race.
For a team fighting for their survival in their opening championship campaign Borris Kilcotton were a disappointment and it was only in the closing minutes of the game that they came to life and took the game to Camross and came within a puck of the ball of causing an upset.
They were lacklustre for much of the game and never looked like winning with just a late spurt at the end of either half keeping them in contention. It is going to take a couple of years for the young talent in the new club to come through and the supporters and official will have to be patient.
After winning three minor finals in succession the talent is certainly there but how it is harnessed is going to be vital if they are to be a real hurling force overt the coming years.
They would certainly have had a chance of pulling off a victory in this knockout game if Zane Keenan had still been sidelined but unfortunately for them he was back and in mean mood.
Zane finished the game with 1-10 with all but a point coming from placed balls and there is no doubt that hurling indiscipline cost Borris Kilcotton dearly with many of the frees conceded unnecessary as time and again they gave away silly frees for awkward pulls, chops and challenges.
Time and again they were punished to the full by a bang in form Zane but the reality was that they had only themselves to blame for their indiscretions.
It was a typical battling performance from Camross as with their backs to the wall they made six changes from the team that lost to Ballinakill last day out and they certainly looked a determined outfit from the start.
Zane had put his stamp on the game from the very start and hit 1-2 in opening seven minutes to signal his return after suspension.
When Camross won a 20m free in the second minute his long steps backwards from the ball signalled his intent to go for goal and he didn’t disappoint as he blasted the ball inside the left post and as Borris Kilcotton continued to give away frees he front of their posts he had three scores from the 20m line in as many minutes.
Kevin Finlay eventually opened his sides account and Neil Foyle added a free but Zane then hit one of the scores of the game as he soloed down the terrace side and off the hurl split the posts and added two more frees for a 1-5 to 0-2 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Camross deployed an extra man in defence in this opening half and it took Borris Kilcotton some time to react as Paul Drennan and young Aaron Moore traded fine scores.
In the final six minutes of the half Borris Kilcotton came to life and produced their best hurling of the game and hit a succession of fine scores with Ciaran Comerford, Matthew Whelan and Owen Bergin all on target from long range and Neil Foyle finished the half with a pointed free to leave just two points between the sides 1-6 to 0-7.
That should have given Borris Kilcotton some heart on the restart but it was Camross that re-emerged the more determined side and again Zane punished the opposition with first a short free and then showed his range of skills with sideline cut that split the posts and after Damien Keenan fired over a massive score Zane added two more for a seven point lead by the 18th minute of the half with Borris Kilcotton held scoreless.
Neil Foyle and Dean Delaney traded scores and the game seemed to be petering out when with three minutes remaining substitute Colm Delaney got on the end of a long Owen Bergin delivery and tapped it to the net and a minute later a Neil Foyle special screamed over the bar and suddenly there were just three points between the teams as the game entered injury time.
A goal and a draw would have been sufficient to put Borris Kilcotton through and Camross out but when Damien Culleton won a penalty as he was dragged down on the goal line upped stepped Zane and he drove the ball into the cloud for a four point advantage and a place in the quarter finals.
Scorers: Camross; Zane Keenan 1-10 (1-8f. 1 sideline), Aaron Moore 0-1, Damien Keenan 0-1, Dean Delaney 0-1. Borris Kilcotton: Neil Foyle 0-4 (3f), Colm Delaney 1-0, Kevin Finlay, Ciaran Comerford, Paul Drennan, Owen Bergin, Matthew Whelan 0-1 each
Camross: Tadgh Doran; Gearoid Burke, Peter Guilfoyle, Malvin Maloney; Damien Keenan, Tomas Burke, Fran Hogan; Matthew Collier, Andrew Collier; Dean Delaney, Zane Keenan, Dan Lalor; Damien Culleton, Darryl Dooley, Aaron Moore.
Borris Kilcotton: Trevor Moore; Ronan Kelly, Darren Abraham, Brian Stapleton; Robert Jones, Matthew Whelan, Owen Bergin; Danny Fitzpatrick, Noel Delaney; Ciaran Comerford, Paul Drennan, Kevin Finlay, Martin Coss, Neil Foyle, PJ Scully. Subs: Enda Kelly for Fitzpatrick (26 mins), John Wall for Coss (Ht), Owen Drennan for Jones (44 mins), Colm Delaney for Scully (57 mins).
Referee: Anthony Stapleton Rathdowney