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*Smith O’Briens celebrate. Photograph: Ruth Griffin

Senior hurling is to return to Killaloe next year after Smith O’Briens were crowned as intermediate champions for 2021.

Smith O’Briens 0-14
St Josephs Doora/Barefield 0-12
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis

Nothing other than a hard-fought battle was expected in this contest and that’s duly what happened. Despite trailing by six points at the first quarter, Smith O’Briens’ maturity and grit came to the fore as they refused to lie down and clung on to claim success roared on by their vocal supporters in Cusack Park.

A strong wind blowing in the Aldi direction aided St Josephs Doora/Barefield in building up a 0-07 0-01 advantage at the first water break. Smith O’Briens almost raided for goal with their first attempt, Michael Gough cut through the opposing defence but his effort was brilliantly stopped by the experienced Paul Madden.

Doora/Barefield fired the first three scores until Tommy Reddan opened his account on ten minutes. In what was a difficult day for freetakers, Reddan adapted to the conditions having missed his first placed ball, Cathal Ruane was on target with his first two but missed a double late on in the half.

Smart use of the ball was key to The Parish getting on top but their second quarter saw them ease up on the gas with the pressure visible off the field as matters got heated between coach Shane Dowling and a Cusack Park steward as the Limerick All-Ireland winner attempted to engage with their stats team. Smith O’Briens all the while kept plugging away and reduced the deficit to four points by half-time.

It was clear that the Killaloe men needed to be on level terms when it came to the final water break and that was the case when Tommy Reddan fired over a 65. Doora/Barefield’s return of four points in the second half will leave scars as they fell to their second final defeat at this grade in three years.

Reddan produced the final four scores of the game, the last a free in the seventh minute of additional time to ensure the Paddy Browne Cup was returning to Killaloe for the second time.

Alan O’Neill, Cathal Ruane and Fionn Kelleher were best for the Michael Guilfoyle managed Parish outfit who will have to regroup and refocus for next year’s highly competitive intermediate championship.

For the winners who registered 0-02 from play, Eddie Bourke, Cian Nolan, Mark Stritch, Tommy Reddan and David O’Shea were to the fore. “We’re not finished yet,” the words of joint captain David Gough indicate that Tony Gleeson’s side will be eyeing up the Munster club once wild celebrations concluded.

Scorers Smith O’Briens: T Reddan (0-12 9f 3’65), D O’Shea (0-02)

Scorers St Josephs Doora/Barefield: C Ruane (0-05 3f), T Hannan (0-02), D Conroy (0-02), F Kelleher (0-02), J Hannan (0-01).

Smith O’Briens:
1: Mark McInerney

4: Mark Stritch
3: Cian Nolan
5: David Gough

20: Dwayne Sheedy
6: Cathal Stritch
7: Eddie Bourke

12: Michael O’Shea
9: Marc O’Halloran

15: Tommy Reddan
11: Michael Gough
18: Patrick Aherne

13: David O’Shea
10: Keith Stritch
8: Micheál Ryan

14: John Cusack for Aherne (39)
21: Kevin Walsh for K Stritch (54)
2: Evan Connolly for D O’Shea (56)

St Josephs Doora/Barefield:
1: Paul Madden

4: Joey Keane
3: Adam Mungovan
2: Jarlath Colleran

8: Jack Hannan
5: Alan O’Neill
17: David Conroy

6: Fionn Kelleher
9: Donal O’Halloran

10: Brian Guilfoyle
11: Tom Hannan
12: Eoin Hanrahan

15: Cian Barron
13: Conor Tierney
14: Cathal Ruane

21: Eoghan Thynne for Hanrahan (HT)
27: Mossy Hehir for Colleran (33) (Inj)
7: Aaron Landy for O’Halloran (48)
22: Seanie Keane for Thynne (50) (Inj)
20: Bruce Piggot for Tierney (57)

Referee: Niall Malone (Éire Óg)

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