Kilcormac/Killoughey make history with first Leinster title
Oulart-the Ballagh (Wexford) 0-11 Kilcormac/Killoughey (Offaly) 1-12
Kilcormac/Killoughey upset the formbook at Nowlan Park this afternoon as they secured their first ever AIB Leinster Club SHC title.
The Offaly champions, who were given a 5/2 chance by bookmakers, took the spoils against an Oulart-the Ballagh side tasting their third straight provincial final defeat.
Daniel Currams’ goal after barely a minute put Kilcormac/Killoughey on their way to a stunning success, with the club only having won their first county crown in October.
The initial signs were good for Oulart, the conquerors of Ballyhale Shamrocks. Rory Jacob knocked over the opening point to put them ahead.
However, Keith Rossiter took too long in possession and was promptly blocked by Peter Geraghty who fed Currams to blast to the net.
Oulart recovered from the concession of the goal to tie things up at 0-3 to 1-0 thanks to points from Conor O’Leary and Jacob.
But a spell of high quality hurling from Danny Owens’ men had them firing on all cylinders.
Some neat approach work set up points for James Gorman (0-2), inspirational captain Ciaran Slevin, Geraghty and Damien Kilmartin.
Nicky Kirwan got on the scoresheet to close the gap for Oulart who were 1-7 to 0-7 at the interval in Kilkenny.
Kilcormac/Killoughey’s razor sharp goalkeeper Conor Slevin pulled off a couple of fine saves as Oulart hunted for a goal.
The Offaly outfit opened up a five-point buffer, 1-10 to 0-8, as Brian Leonard drove over a rousing score from long range and Ciaran Slevin converted a free.
With both defences standing tall, Kirwan managed to squeeze over two more points to keep Oulart’s hopes alive that it might be a case of third time lucky for them.
David Redmond made it a two-point game as the pressure increased on Kilcormac/Killoughey, but goal scorer Currams pointed twice late on to seal a thrilling win for the underdogs.
Speaking to Midlands 103 afterwards, victorious full-back Ger Healion said: “We’re like a galvanised army. This means everything, we always believed we could win and we weren’t going to leave it behind.
“The thoughts of still having the flags up around the parish at Christmas gives you a very warm feeling.”
Spare a thought for Wexford champions Oulart-the Ballagh though. They lost the previous two Leinster deciders to O’Loughlin Gaels and Coolderry, another Offaly side.
They were also Leinster runners-up in both 1995 and 1996, so this latest disappointment will leave a bitter taste, particularly after overcoming such a talented Ballyhale team last weekend.