Kilshannig win Bons Secours Cork IAFC final

Kilshannig 1-16 Aghabullogue 0-10  by JOHN COLEMAN The Echo

KILSHANNIG landed their second county title in three years as they just had too much class for Aghabullogue in this Bons Secours Cork IAFC final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday.

In 2019 they swept all before them at junior level and here they backed up their stunning semi-final victory over Mitchelstown with a performance of a similar vintage, despite the best efforts of a gallant Aghabullogue side.

They had heroes everywhere. Captain Killian O’Hanlon, now fully clear of his injury woes, was imperious at midfield, Brian Guerin anchored their defence superbly, Eoin O’Sullivan was relentless at left-half forward while Tom Cunningham proved to be the games star performer in kicking 1-5 from top of the left.

From the start, this was a high-quality game that showed that both sides were more than capable of stepping up a grade. The tackling was fierce, the pace was relentless and the standard of score-taking was outstanding in an exceptionally good first 20 minutes of football.

Ciarán O’Sullivan had Kilshannig ahead after 16 seconds but John Corkery had Aghabullogue level just 60 seconds later. That pattern was repeated within the next four minutes as Kieran Twomey landed a 45 for the Avondhu side while David Thompson slotted over the only pointed free of the opening period for the Muskerry men.

Kilshanning did look to have the greater potency though, as good defensive work from Colm O’Shea and Shane O’Connell allowed them plenty of possession that Killian O’Hanlon, Éanna O’Hanlon and Tom Cunningham were all able to profit from as they stretched into a 0-5 to 0-2 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Quick-fire scores from Corkery and Thompson soon had Aghabullogue back to within one and while Paul Ring was operating well at centre-back, gradually Kilshannig’s greater physical presence began to tell with O’Hanlon and O’Sullivan on top at midfield while Eoin O’Sullivan was a constant thorn in Aghabullogue’s side at left-half forward.

As Aghabullogue’s wide tally went to six coming up to the interval, Kilshannig tagged on three more points through Killian O’Hanlon, Cunningham and Darragh O’Sullivan to lead by 0-8 to 0-5 at the break.

Twomey and Darragh O’Sullivan stretched their lead after the break, and though Thompson and Paraic O’Sullivan soon cancelled those scores out, the key score of the game was on the way. Twomey tapped over a free to extend Kilshannig’s lead to four before Conor McMahon fed Cunningham who in turn slipped the ball past John Buckley in the Aghabullogue goal to put his side in total control.

Cunningham then added the next three points for his side in a virtuoso display while Cialan O’Sullivan kept the Aghabullogue scoreboard ticking over. In truth, they needed a goal and when Evan O’Sullivan’s shot slipped past the wrong side of the post with eight too, so with it went their chances.

From there to the end both sides had all but accepted their respective fates, as Twomey and Killian Murphy added to Kilshannig’s tally while Thompson had another couple of frees for Aghabullogue. There was no doubt that it was Kilshannig’s day, however, and they will operate at Premier Intermediate level next season.

And on this evidence, they will be more than comfortable in that company.

Scorers for Kilshannig: T Cunningham 1-5 (0-1 f), K Twomey 0-4 (0-2 f, 0-2 45), K O’Hanlon, D O’Sullivan 0-2 each, C O’Sullivan, É O’Hanlon, K Murphy 0-1 each.

Aghabullogue: D Thompson 0-6 (0-5 f), J Corkery 0-2, C O’Sullivan, P O’Sullivan 0-2 each.

KILSHANNIG: G Creedon; C O’Shea, E Burke, S O’Connell; B Curtin, B Guerin, J Twomey; K O’Hanlon (c), C O’Sullivan; D O’Sullivan, É O’Hanlon, E O’Sullivan; K Twomey, C McMahon, T Cunningham.

Subs: K Murphy for McMahon (49), M Twomey for E O’Sullivan (54), J Cronin for Twomey, C O’Connell for D O’Sullivan, C Murphy for B Curtin (all 59).

AGHABULLOGUE: J Buckley; P Dilworth, S Tarrant, C Smyth; B Casey, P Ring (c), D Quinlan; R Dennehy, B Dineen; E O’Sullivan, M Bradley, A Murphy; J Corkery, C O’Sullivan, D Thompson.

Subs: P O’Sullivan for Quinlan (28), N Barry Murphy for Dineen (42), J Murphy for Dennehy (54), P Twomey for Dilworth (55).

Referee: Canice Walsh (Nemo Rangers).