Kilkenny clubs have enjoyed good times in the All-Ireland championships, but the Rower-Inistioge’s opponents in Saturday’s intermediate decider in Croke Park will be trying to break new ground.
Kilnadeema/Leitrim will be bidding to become the first Galway club to win the title. In the past Killimordaly, Tommy Larkins and Cappataggle were beaten finalists (2007,2008 and 2009), which left the county still awaiting its maiden victory.
Against that, Kilkenny clubs Clara (2013), St Lachtain’s of Freshford (2010) and Dicksboro (2006) have taken the honours to leave this county as the most successful in the competition.
Kilnadeema/Leitrim have enjoyed an up and down affair with the senior championship in Galway, apparently, slipping in and out of the grade over the past decade and more. Last season they caused a big upset in the intermediate decider when toppling hot favourites, Cappataggle.
The club did the same at the weekend, pulling off another upset when getting the better of highly fancied Youghal (Cork) in the All-Ireland semi-final. The score was 2-11 to 0-15.
The winners got off to a flying start and first half goals from full-forwared Brian Molloy, a Galway minor last year, and Alvin Mitchell set them up nicely at the break when they led by 2-9 to 0-4 after playing with the gale force wind. The contest became complicated for the winners in the last quarter when they were reduced to 14 men, but they held on for a classy win.
Joint managers Kevin Molloy and Pat Donahue and selector, John Geraghty were thrilled, and praised the never say die attitude of their charges, who are making a habit of upsetting the bookies odds. Their star performers are Molly, former Galway senior David Tierney and his brother, Tom, who is the team captain. In the Connact final they beat Tooreen by 1-14 to 2-9. Molloy was again the top scorer (0-11).
The Rower-Inistioge, a huge name in Kilkenny hurling, are back in the senior ranks after a 25 year break. Since winning the county title by beating Emeralds (Urlingford) they have seen off Celbridge (Kildare), Buffers Alley (Wexford) and Clooney Gales (Antrim).
Their success has been build on a terrific defence, and a hard working attack. History is within their grasp, if they produce their best game.