KERRY kingpins Kilcummin have reached the All-Ireland Intermediate Club Football Championship final after pipping Two Mile House of Kildare in a real cliffhanger at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
They had to fight tenaciously all afternoon to register their 0-11 to 0-10 victory and they will now face Naomh Eanna of Antrim in the big decider at Croke Park on February 9.
Trailing by three points, 0-3 to nil, after 10 minutes, Two Mile House suffered a real body blow when their star man Peter Kelly picked up a black card and points from Gary O’Leary, Matt Keane and Noel Duggan had the Kerry champs right back on terms before the latter edged them ahead.
Another Matt Keane point was followed by a Gary O’Leary score but Two Mile House were chipping away at the slight advantage built up by Willie Maher’s men although the defence, marshalled superbly by Sean O’Leary, was lock-tight.
A point from Caomhan Doolan, who has close Kilcummin connections, brought Two Mile House to within a point of Kilcummin – 0-6 to 0-5 – after 26 minutes but that too was cancelled out by Matt Keane who has been in brilliant scoring form for Kilcummin all season.
A Noel Duggan point from a free was responded to by Matt Healy of Two Mile House but Kilcummin still led 0-8 t0 o-6 at the break although the Kildare champions were back level after 36 minutes.
Kilcummin looked to be in real trouble when the influential Kevin O’Gorman was sent off after a second yellow card but, to their absolute credit, they kept the bit between their teeth and restored their lead through Kieran Murphy.
Daniel Moynihan made a timely interception to deny Two Mile House a goal – with Brendan Kealy off his line –. But the Kildare men levelled the scores with a free as the game went into the melting pot.
A Noel Duggan free put the Kerry side ahead with only seconds to go but, agonisingly, Two Mile House equalised but cometh the hour, cometh the man and substitute Kevin McCarthy – despite a serious hand injury – entered the fray to steady the Kilcummin ship in the crucial final stages.
A Philip Casey point put Kilcummin 0-11 to 0-10 ahead in stoppage time and the 14 men held firm to ensure the greatest day in the sporting history of a very proud parish.
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