It was the ultimate never-say-die crescendo as Eamonn Breen’s injury-time goal snatched a famous title clinching victory for Sixmilebridge in Cusack Park.
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis
Trailing by as much as seven points at one stage, the ‘Bridge simply never gave up hope and after chipping away at the deficit, mainly through Cillian Murphy’s frees, to get to within two by the 58th minute, the script was written for a dramatic late twist as Breen gathered a throw-in on the 20 metre line to make space and bury the ball in the left corner of the net.
Having led throughout, it was a gut-wrenching sucker-punch for Inagh-Kilnamona to stomach, especially after suffering a similar heartbreaking reverse to the same opponents in last year’s Under 14A decider that went all the way to extra-time.
Another bout of extra-time would have been the fairest outcome this time around too and Inagh-Kilnamona did get that opportunity to finish on level terms, only for a last gasp free to drift wide of the right post.
Nothing but a Inagh-Kilnamona appeared on the cards after dominating the majority of the opening period to carve out a seven point cushion by the 23rd minute.
The attacking trio of Fred Hegarty (3), Jack Mescall (2) and the lively Gearoid Barry eased their side to a 0-7 to 0-3 first quarter advantage before an additional hat-trick from the former made it 0-11 to 0-04 nearing the break. Full-back Alex Leyden and captain James Hegarty were also very influential in a hugely encouraging start for Inagh-Kilnamona.
With only Matthew O’Halloran providing any major resistance, Cillian Murphy’s frees kept the ‘Bridge in touch while a goal opportunity for Breen would be bravely blocked by the body of Ruan Cummins.
Crucially however, Sixmilebridge did finish the half on the front foot with three of the last four points, two from Murphy, to lessen the half-time damage to five at 0-12 to 0-07.
With the wind picking up, Sixmilebridge rose with it as they re-emerged with the first four points including an inspirational brace from Calum Phelan to leave only the minimum between the sides by the 37th minute.
Indeed, they might have even nudged in front only for a Breen shot to be excellently repelled by goalkeeper Frank Roughan.
It was enough to wake Inagh-Kilnamona from their slumber as Fred Hegarty (3) and Gearoid Barry hit back with four of their own to provide some much-needed breathing space once more at 0-16 to 0-12 by the final water break.
The leaders would only add one more point to their tally in the final quarter however as a plethora of wides allied to a James Hegarty shot that hit the side-netting ensured that they couldn’t put the result to bed.
Never ones to pass up a golden opportunity, a brace of Murphy frees ramped up the tension at 0-17 to 0-15 entering injury-time before Breen became the hero once more for Sixmilebridge’s 14th Under 15A title and first since 2017.
Scorers for Sixmilebridge: Cillian Murphy (0-9f); Eamonn Breen (1-0); Calum Phelan, Ben O’Connell (0-2 each); Finn Murphy, Harry Chaplin (0-1 each)
Scorers for Inagh-Kilnamona: Fred Hegarty (0-11, 8f); James Hegarty (2f), Jack Mescall, Gearoid Barry (0-2 each)
1: Mark Sheedy
2: Will Gilligan
3: Jack Phelan
4: William Chaplin
5: Callum Toomey
6: Matthew O’Halloran
7: Harry Chaplin
8: Cillian Murphy
9: Jack O’Halloran
10: Calum Phelan
11: Niall Liddane (Captain)
12: Finn Murphy
13: Ben O’Connell
14: Eamonn Breen
15: Michael Morey
17: John Deasy for W. Chaplin (27)
18: Dylan Keogh for Morey (46)
15: Morey for O’Connell (59)
1: Frank Roughan
2: Rian Cummins
3: Alex Leyden
4: Luke McGuane
5: Neil Hegarty
6: Conor Rynne
7: Jack Cullinan
8: James Hegarty (Captain)
14: Michael Cotter
10: Ralph Whelehan
11: Jack Mescall
12: Fred Hegarty
9: Gearoid Barry
17: Thomas O’Halloran
15: John Barry
Referee: Joe Mullins (Clonlara)