County stars boost Kiltegan firepower
West team will now face Mountmellick
KILTEGAN qualified for the Division 4 final of the Leinster Hurling League with an easy win over Westmeath side, Cullion, at Kiltegan on Saturday.
With county hurlers, Geoffrey Bermingham and Ronan Byrne available hopes were high in the home camp.
However, they were missing top scorer Keith Furlong who was out injured and he was to prove a big loss.
Johnny Kehoe broke his thumb in the quarterfinal and he was also out. The home side were in control right throughout but manager Peter Byrne was anything but pleased with the first half display.
The home side had a fairly stiff wind at their backs but shot wide after wide they wasted chance after chance.
Ten minutes had passed before veteran John O'Toole, playing in his first match of the year sent over a point.
Another 10 had passed before O'Toole blasted home a goal to lift the gloom.
Geoffrey Bermingham sent over a long range point and Jamesie O'Brien added another but they still had only 1-3 on the board at half time and that looked slender in the extreme.
However, the manager was lucky to have the county footballers also available on this occasion. The introduction of Rory Finn and Seanie Furlong brought the side to life in the second half and saw them lift their game. An early goal by Seanie Furlong got the show on the road; Geoffrey Bermingham and Anthony Furlong also stormed into the game and sent over good points.
Ten minutes of the second half had passed before the visiting Westmeath men, an Intermediate team from outside Mullingar, got their first point.
Ronan Byrne and John O'Toole sent over good points and even though the visitors got through for a late goal it was a case of too little too late.
Kiltegan can thank their defence for keeping them in it in the first half. Padraig Kearney and Barry Cremin were the anchor men and left no openings; Ciaran Doyle had a stormer and the ‘Kicker’ was sound in goal. Dan Kearney had a very good game at midfield.
Eoin O'Neill and Adrian Keogh worked hard but got little reward. Mark Pierce was doing well in the first half and was missed for the line balls and Michael Mangan also made a big difference when he came on. In the end Kiltegan ran out convincing winners.
Kiltegan - Ciaran O'Toole; Gavin Keogh, Padraig Kearney, Patrick Keogh; Anthony Furlong (0-2), Barry Cremin, Ciaran Doyle; Dan Kearney, Ronan Byrne (0-1); Eoin O'Neill, Adrian Keogh, Mark Pierce; James O'Brien (0-1), Jeffrey Berminghan (0-2), John O'Toole (1-2).
Subs - Seanie Furlong (2-1), Rory Finn, Michael Mangan, John O'Keeffe and Eoin Coogan.
Scorers for Cullion - James Kelly 1-0; James Clarke 0-2; Damien Golden 0-1
Kiltegan now meet Mountmellic of Laois in the final at a venue still to be named. Mountmellic beat another Wicklow team, Kilcoole, in the other semi-final.
John O'Toole, Kiltegan prepares to attack as Cullion’s Stephen Burke approaches. Pic: Joe Byrne.
Kiltegan’s Anthony Furlong competes with Cullion’s Shane O’Connor in Kiltegan.