A second successive victory tightened Inagh-Kilnamona’s grip on the dreaded ‘Group of Death’ after finally holding off O’Callaghan’s Mills on Sunday afternoon.
O’Callaghan’s Mills 1-16
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis
Setting the pace throughout, Inagh-Kilnamona managed to clench the whip hand without ever pulling away as last year’s finalists kept on their heels.
Guided by Aidan McCarthy’s frees, Inagh-Kilnamona saw an early five point cushion wiped out by the water break while a six point lead was reduced to two by the turn of the final quarter, only to remain defiant and hold on for the points.
David Fitzgerald showed great leadership, particularly in a nervy second period while taking his scoring total to seven in two matches from wing-back while Jason McCarthy and Cathal McConigley were others to show plenty of grit when needed most.
Equally for an obstinate Mills, full-back Conor Cooney was outstanding over the hour while Colin Crehan did his utmost to try and drag his side back into the match. Indeed, it was Crehan’s 13th minute goal that finally sparked O’Callaghan’s Mills into life to reel in Inagh-Kilnamona’s early advantage at 1-4 to 0-7.
However, being the Mills’ fifth goal opportunity, it was the least they deserved as those earlier misses would eventually come back to haunt them as they desperately sought a goal to snatch something out of the game late on.
In typical seesaw fashion, Inagh-Kilnamona stormed into the second quarter with seven of the first eight points through Aidan McCarthy (3), David Mescall (2), Gerry Coote and David Fitzgerald on their way to a 0-16 to 1-08 half-time advantage. However, they failed to sustain that pace and would be chewing their nails somewhat when Colin Crehan (3) inspired another Mills fightback by the final water break at 0-19 to 1-14.
Without a goal, the closest of which was a last gasp Colin Crehan 20 metre free that was stopped by Jason McCarthy, O’Callaghan’s Mills couldn’t unlock a miserly Inagh-Kilnamona regard, despite reshuffling their attack pack throughout the second half.
So with only two points separating the sides by the hour mark, Aidan McCarthy and Conner Hegarty provided the clinching final two points to maintain Inagh-Kilnamona’s perfect start at the summit of Group 1.
Scorers for Inagh-Kilnamona: Aidan McCarthy (0-11, 9f); David Mescall, David Fitzgerald (0-3 each); Gerry Coote, Conner Hegarty (0-2 each); Conor Tierney, Tomás Barry (0-1 each)
Scorers for O’Callaghan’s Mills: Colin Crehan (1-6, 5f); Jacob Loughnane (0-5, 3f); Bryan Donnellan, Sean Cotter, Gary Cooney, Aidan O’Gorman, Conor Elmhill Cooney (0-1 each)
1: Patrick Kelly
25: Cathal McConigley
4: Keith White
2: Colin Shannon
5: Seamus Foudy
6: Jason McCarthy
9: David Fitzgerald
8: Darren Cullinan
11: Conner Hegarty
10: Kevin Hehir
14: Aidan McCarthy
12: Gerry Coote
13: Conor Tierney
26: Eoghan Foudy
15: David Mescall
27: Evan McNamara for E. Foudy (HT)
21: Tomás Barry for Coote (42)
17: Kealan Guyler for Tierney (49)
28: Shane McInerney for Mescall (58)
1: Killian Nugent
2: Michael Cotter
3: Conor Cooney
4: Sean O’Gorman
5: Patrick Donnellan
6: Aidan O’Gorman
7: Ciaran Cooney
8: Conor Henry
9: Sean Cotter
10: Jacob Loughnane
11: Bryan Donnellan
12: Aidan Fawl
13: Gary Cooney
15: Colin Crehan
14: Cormac Murphy
20: Colm Cleary for Murphy (HT)
22: Conor ‘Elmhill’ Cooney for Loughnane (41, inj)
19: Niall Donovan for S. Cotter (42)
24: Fionn Hickey for Henry (49)
21: Adrian Flaherty for B, Donnellan (54)
Referee: Jim Hickey (Cratloe)