Eddie Brennan - the Laois hurling manager now faces a Leinster club championship with Griague-Ballycallan
Graigue-Ballycallan have produced big performances and won big games in the past, but nothing compared to the full on late blast that carried them to a thrilling victory in the Kilkenny intermediate hurling championship final in Nowlan Park today.
Turning into the 53rd minute wasteful Tullaroan were leading by 2-12 to 1-10. They were hurling well and they looked nicely placed.
However, within a minute Conor Murphy threw over a point from a 65 for Graigue and then the same Murphy lashed home a goal in the 55th minute to set the match alight again (2-12 to 2-11).
Tullaroan appeared to steady the ship when Tommy Og Walsh landed a long range point from a free. All action Graigue continued to drive with force, sensing a second championship win to go with the one they registered in 1987 was a real possibility.
Billy Ryan drilled over a point before a Conor Murphy free in the 58th minute levelled the match at 2-13 each. When Murphy punished a foul on Shane Butler seconds later Graigue were back in front for the first time since the third minute.
There was no stopping the run away Graigue train at this stage. Shane Butler and that man Murphy - he scored 2-10 - added points in the finishing straight to sign, seal and deliver promotion to the senior grade next season for Graigue-Ballycallan.
Tullaroan were the better team during the opening half. After shooting 10 wides, they led by a commanding 2-8 to 0-7 at the break after playing with the fresh breeze.
The goals were scored by Martin Keoghan (4th minute) and Padraig Walsh (penalty 15th minute), with Tommy Og Walsh and young Keoghan the stars of the show.
Graigue opened the new half with a quick point from a free by Conor Murphy. On 32 minutes they were awarded a penalty when a defender appeared to be penalised for preventing Aaron Brennan from contesting an arriving delivery from Eddie Brennan.
The call by the referee was a penalty. Conor Murphy goaled (2-8 to 1-8), but it was a long and tough battle for Graigue from there on before they unleashed an amazing finish to win the title.
That finish saw them out-score the opposition by 1-6 to 0-1 during a magnificent closing charge.
SCORERS: Graigue-Ballycallan - Conor Murphy (2-10); Billy Ryan (0-3); Shane Butler, Aaron Brennan, Sean Ryan (0-1 each). Tullroan - Padraig Walsh (1-2); Shane Walsh (0-5); Martin Keoghan (1-1); Tommy Og Walsh (0-2); John Walton, Stephen Dowling, Bill Gaffney (0-1 each).
For more on Kilkenny People sport read here.
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