All-Ireland club SFC: history beckons for Kilmurry-Ibrickane

February 21, 2010

Kilmurry-Ibrickane's Evan Talty, Enda Coughlan and Shane Hickey tackle Brian Glynn of Portlaoise during the AIB All-Ireland club SFC semi-final at the Gaelic Grounds
Kilmurry-Ibrickane qualified for the AIB All-Ireland club football final with a stunning 1-14 to 0-8 defeat of 13-man Portlaoise at the Gaelic Grounds.

The Clare champions went into the match as rank outsiders but Michael McDermott's charges were full value for their win as Portlaoise's big day ended in disaster.

After the final whistle, the match referee was given a Garda escort off the field.

Kilmurry will meet either Corofin or St Gall's in the biggest club game of the year. Today's other semi-final was called off due to the inclement weather.

Portlaoise endured a nightmare start as the manager's son - half back Brian Mulligan - was sent off in the first minute for a high challenge. The Clare champions took advantage with the first two points of the match from Michael O'Dwyer and captain Enda Coughlan to lead by 0-2 to no score after four minutes.

It was all Kilmurry in the opening stages. Paul Cahillane and Brian McCormack pulled Portlaoise back to 0-3 to 0-2 but the next four points - from Ian McInerney, Noel Downes, Michael O'Dwyer and Downes again - made it 0-7 to 0-2 to the Munster champions.

Portlaoise captain Brian McCormack - with his club's first score in 13 minutes - Peter O'Dwyer of Kilmurry and Barry Fitzgerald (Portlaoise) had the next points of the match and McInerney (free - his third point) also got back in on the scoring act as the underdogs led by 0-9 to 0-4 at half time.

The referee was challenged at half time and was booed off the field amid some nasty scenes.

Michael O'Dwyer had an early Kilmurry-Ibrickane point after the resumption and they added another from a free to lead by seven.

Cahillane pointed before captain Brian McCormack was sent off with a second yellow card and the Laois champions were down to 13 men. Portlaoise also had a goal disallowed as their players and supporters became more and more frustrated.

A goal at the three-quarters stage from Noel Downes made it 1-11 to 0-5 to the west Clare men who could now turn their attentions to Croke Park on St Patrick's Day.

To their credit, shellshocked Portlaoise rallied with a couple of minors to move back within seven points but the Clare champions brilliantly confirmed their place in a first-ever All-Ireland final by tagging on some nice late points.

Kilmurry-Ibrickane - D O'Brien; D Hickey, M Killeen, M McMahon; S Hickey, E Coughlan (0-1), E Talty; P O'Connor, P O'Dwyer (0-1); M Hogan, I McInerney 0-4 (three frees, 1 45), S Moloney; M O'Dwyer (0-3), J Daly (0-2), N Downes (1-2). Subs: M McCarthy for Moloney (43 mins), O O'Dwyer (0-1) for Downes (46 mins), B Moloney for Talty (58 mins).

Portlaoise - M Nolan; E Bland, K Fitzpatrick, M McNulty; B Mulligan, C Healy (0-1), K Lillis; A Fennelly, B McCormack (0-2); C Boyle, B Fitzgerald (0-2, frees), B Glynn; P Cahillane (0-3, two frees), C Byrne, C Rogers. Subs: T Fitzgerald for Byrne (half-time), B Smith for Glynn (42 mins), J Fennell for Boyle (49 mins), P McNulty for Cahillane (55 mins).

Ref: M Duffy (Sligo).

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