Down memory lane.......
KINVARA PULL OFF ANOTHER MAJOR UPSET
TURLOUGHMORE CRASH OUT OF TITLE RACE AFTER LAST COLLAPSE TO CHAMPIONSHIP SURPRISE PACKETS
THE opening leg of Sunday evening’s hurling championship double bill at Pearse Stadium saw Kinvara preserve their unbeaten Group D record at the expense of an unlucky Turloughmore side which led for much of the game, only to cruelly lose out in the final moments.
Turlough seemed about to secure a vital win that would have prolonged their season when they held a slender 1-9 to 1-8 advantage with two minutes remaining but, in a hectic finale, Kinvara goalkeeper Colm Callanan converted a monster of a free from his own half of the field before Cathal Curtin snatched a dramatic winner in time added on for stoppages.
It was a devastating and crushing blow to a Turloughmore team that has battled bravely in recent weeks as their season was defined more by events off the field than on it. Defeat in this match coupled with Craughwell’s win over Castlegar means that they finish bottom of the table, level with St. Thomas’, but as Turlough have a far superior scoring difference, they avoid the relegation scrap.
For Kinvara, of course, the picture is much brighter. Four wins from four games sees them perched proudly at the top of the table and Gerry McInerney’s charges now await the winner of the pre-liminary quarter-final between Mullagh and Kiltormer.
This was hardly their best performance of the campaign, but they worked hard when things were not going their way. Gerry Mac, who again went on to lend a touch of experience and guile when those attributes were needed, has instilled a great work ethic and sense of belief in the side. As well as the four wins this year, they also finished their 2006 championship with three victories in succession.
Kinvara got an ideal start to this game when a point from David Huban's 60-metre free was quickly followed by a goal when Niall Curtin pulled first time on a Paul Keane delivery.
With ten minutes gone they led 1-2 to 0-2 with Huban grabbing a nice effort from play and Gary Burke keeping Turlough’ in touch with a brace of top class scores.
Two frees by the lively Francis Forde cut the gap before David Huban replied from a free but Turlough edged ahead when Walter Gill netted in a goal-mouth scramble and Brian Holland made it 1-5 to 1-3 in their favour with 20minutes gone. Conor Kavanagh reduce the deficit but Gary Hurney shot over when he might well have goaled for the Hoops.
When Kinvara lost Jonathan Kavanagh, struggling with his knee injury, it signalled the arrival of Gerry McInerney but Cian Burke lifted Turloughmore with a marvellous score from the middle of the field. That gave them a 1-7 to 1-4 lead as the interval approached, but Conor Kavanagh immediately pulled one back at the other end.
When Dara Smith, now returned after a spell in England where he represented London with considerable success, cut the lead on the restart it looked as if Kinvara would press on. To Turloughmore’s credit, however, they prevented Kinvara from scoring during the following quarter of an hour.
Some of the explanation for that could also be attributed to a number of costly wides struck from long distance by Kinvara but Turlough’were unable to take full advantage as they could only manage two points from frees by the ever reliable Francis Forde. Nevertheless they were still ahead, 1-9 to 1-6, entering the final quarter.
In the space of three minutes the gap was cut to the minimum after a David Huban score from play was followed by a superb free that young county player Ger Mahon drove over from far out. Play had been scrappy and of a negative variety early in the second half, but the quality improved as the game wore on.
Turloughmore were grimly hanging on to a one-point lead as time ran out and though it looked that they might hang on, Kinvara are not easily beaten nowadays and they kept going flat out until the final whistle.
They drew level when goalkeeper Colm Callanan, now a member of the Galway senior panel, drove over a tremendous long distance free as the half hour ticked over but they were not content to settle for a draw.
They got their reward when Cathal Curtin grabbed the winner from a tight angle and the quarter-finals now beckon.
For Turloughmore, a troubled championship season ends but at least they do not have to face up to a relegation struggle. In a game where both teams had to line out without a number of key players Kinvara had real stars in goalkeeper Colm Callanan, Ger Mahon, the tigerish Colm Burke, Shane Kavanagh, David Huban, Dara Smith, the Curtins and Conor Kavanagh.
Paul Dullaghan, Diarmuid Moore, Padraic Walsh, Darren O’Shaughnessy, Brian Holland, Cian Burke, Gary Hurney, Gary Burke and Walter Gill tried hard for Turloughmore.
Kinvara: C. Callanan (0-1, free); S. Corcoran, G. Mahon (0-1, free), C. Burke; J. Kavanagh, S. Kavanagh, G. Wynne; S. Moylan, A. Leech; P. Keane, D. Huban (0-4, two frees), N. Curtin (1-0); C. Kavanagh (0-2), D. Smith (0-1), C. Curtin (0-1).Subs: G. McInerney for J. Kavanagh inj., A. Byrne for C. Curtin, C. Curtin for Smith inj., G. Huban for Keane.
Turloughmore: P. Dullaghan; D. Moore, P. Walsh, R. O’Shaughnessy; B. Cullinane, D. O’Shaughnessy, D. Forde; B. Holland (0-1), C. Burke (0-1); F. Forde (0-4, all frees), G. Burke (0-2), G. Hurney (0-1); J. Hession, W. Gill (1-0), M. Holland.Subs: S. Greaney for D. Forde, T. Caulfield for R. O’Shaughnessy, F. Moore for Hurney.
Referee: Michael Bindon (Clarinbridge).
Connacht Tribune , Friday, June 22, 2007