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Naas hold off late rally to earn historic first All-Ireland hurling crown

Naas [Kildare] 0-16
Kilmoyley [Kerry] 1-11

Kevin Egan reports at Croke Park

NAAS GAA CLUB continues to break new ground across both primary sporting codes, as they became the first club from the county to win an All-Ireland club hurling title this evening.

The reigning senior football and hurling champions in the Short Grass County arrived at this evening’s All-Ireland final having won every championship game with something to spare, and when they moved six points clear early in the second half, and with the wind at their back, it looked like a similar tale was unfolding this time around.

John Meyler’s side were made of sterner stuff however and they came back to within a single point, but couldn’t quite draw level, or get the second goal chance they badly craved through six minutes of stoppage time.

The foundations for Naas’ victory were laid in the first half, when Tom Mullally’s side hurled into the breeze but were far more effective in most sectors of the field, responding to the concession of the first two points to come back and build up an 0-11 to 0-7 interval lead.

Two superb points from Brian Byrne got them up and running, but it was their tenacity and workrate in the tackle at defence and midfield that really discommoded a lively Kilmoyley attack.

Jordan Brick picked off two good points from play but aside from the Kerry star forward on the right wing, Kilmoyley were heavily dependent on frees, where Daniel Collins was in very solid form.

Meanwhile Shane Ryan was very lively in the corner of the Naas attack, while Rian Boran added a well-taken point from distance to an excellent all round performance at midfield.

The first attack of the second half saw James Burke run though on goal from a tight angle, and while in different circumstances he might have gone for goal, instead he chose to whip the sliothar over the bar and keep the scores coming.

Jack Sheridan followed up with a free to push the gap out to six, but a couple of Kilmoyley substitutions sharpened up their attacking unit, while improvement all over the field in terms of tackling and fighting for breaks gradually brought the Kerry club back into the game.

0-14 to 0-8 became 0-14 to 0-11 as the rain poured down on Croke Park, with Paudie O’Connor and Jordan Brick firing over scores that raised the temperature in the famous stadium.

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A free from Sheridan, earned for a foul on Kevin Aherne, might have stemmed the tide but instead, with the next attack, substitutes Ronan Walsh and Daire Nolan saw the arm of referee Chris Mooney outstretched to show advantage and they took the chance to go for goal, with Nolan’s low shot flashing inside Cormac Gallagher’s near post.

In a tight finish, Kilmoyley had a couple of chances to level but Daniel Collins failed to hit the target, and in a dramatic six-minute period of added time, the only score came from James Burke, who read a Kilmoyley pass and pounced to intercept and strike a point that forced the Kerry club to forlornly chase a goal in the dying minutes.

Scorers for Naas: Jack Sheridan 0-4f, Brian Byrne 0-3, Shane Ryan 0-3, Rian Boran 0-2, Simon Leacy 0-2, James Burke 0-2.

Scorers for Kilmoyley: Daniel Collins 0-7 (0-5f), Daire Nolan 1-0, Jordan Brick 0-2, Maurice O’Connor 0-1, Paudie O’Connor 0-1.

Naas

Cormac Gallagher;

John McKeon, Richard Hogan, Conor Gormley;

Seán Gainey, Ross Kelly, Kevin Whelan;

Rian Boran, Simon Leacy;

James Burke, Brian Byrne, Kevin Aherne;

Cathal Dowling, Jack Sheridan, Shane Ryan.

Subs: Conan Boran for Kelly (45-48, blood), Conan Boran for McKeon (52), Conor Dowling for Cathal Dowling (55), Kevin Kelleher for Aherne (60+1), Ian Blackburne for Sheridan (60+5)

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Kilmoyley

John B O’Halloran

Donal Kennedy, Colman Savage, Flor McCarthy;

Robert Collins, Dougie Fitzell, Thomas Murnane;

Matthew Flaherty, Paudie O’Connor;

Jordan Brick, Daniel Collins, David McCarthy;

Kieran McCarthy, James Godley, Maurice O’Connor.

Subs: Ronan Walsh for K McCarthy (38), Daire Nolan for D McCarthy (45), Seán Maunsell for Godley (60+1), Kieran McCarthy for Walsh (60+2).

Referee: Chris Mooney (Dublin)

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