HURLING: Will It Be Ballyduff Or Kilmoyley In The Final?

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Our hurling writer, Mike O’Halloran, on the Garvey’s SuperValu Kerry SHC semi-final this Sunday in Abbeydorney (6pm), where Kilmoyley and St Brendan’s do battle…

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Action from the Ballyduff v Abbeydorney game earlier this month. Photo by Gavin O’Connor

We are just a little over a month away from the Garvey’s SuperValu Senior Hurling Championship Final on September 27.

Next weekend we will see the four semi-finalists Ballyduff, Kilmoyley, Lixnaw and St Brendan’s play to decide who will contest that final.

Kilmoyley will play Ballyduff on Sunday, August 30, at 6pm in the magnificent pitch that is Abbeydorney, a beautifully manicured sod that is nurtured by the turkish barber William O’Leary and his team.

Kilmoyley go into this semi-final unbeaten while Ballyduff have come through the losers side of the draw, having been beaten by Causeway in the opening round of the competition in Kilmoyley’s field.

Since then, Ballyduff have regrouped and came out the right side of an extra time encounter with Crotta in Lixnaw. They have been bolstered by the return of the great Liam Boyle from the defeat to Causeway.

Boyle has been immense at the back, marshalling the young lads around him and driving his “own generation” on “to give it one more go”.

I and many others in Ballyduff were not expecting a whole lot from Ballyduff this year, as things had not started well and there had been a few retirements, injuries and fellas abroad. But now they are in a semi-final and are within an hour of a final spot.

Kilmoyley's, Sean Maunsell, gets a shot on goal. Photo by Dermot Crean..

Kilmoyley’s, Sean Maunsell in action earlier this summer against Crotta. Photo by Dermot Crean..

Both Ballyduff and Kilmoyley had to face Crotta and found it hard enough to get over the Crotta challenge, Kilmoyley taking a very long replay and extra time to overcome them.

The games against Crotta might be the benchmark to measure both teams and if it is, then perhaps Ballyduff might have the edge as they only took one game plus extra time to beat Crotta.

Kilmoyley on the other hand have the experience of having played in last year’s county final, starting the year with modest enough ambition for their group.

The other benchmark that can be used is that they both played Abbeydorney. Kilmoyley drenched the O’Dorney fire in the wind and rain in Ballyduff, keeping them scoreless for over 40 minutes.

Ballyduff on the other hand had to fight tooth and nail to get over The Abbeyside boys.

So it is an impossible one to call. Kilmoyley concede very little at the back, with Sean Dowling in command of most situations inside the small box, the battle between himself and Gary O’Brien will have a bearing on the outcome I have no doubt.

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Ballyduff’s Gary O’Brien scoring a goal against Abbeydorney earlier this month. Photo by Gavin O’Connor

Gary has been awesome for Ballyduff in their last two games using his considerable bulk and huge paw to great effect.

Sean Young, a former man of the match winner in a county final, scored two goals for Kilmoyley against Abbeydorney and now with a few more weeks of hurling under his belt, should be a threat up front for the boys from The Saints Field.

The main man for Kilmoyley is, of course, Daniel Collins both from free and from placed balls. His placed ball duel with Bobby O’Sullivan will probably decide matters on the scoreboard.

Tom Murnane is still in the frame and just as ‘Jap’ controls things at his end for Ballyduff, Murnane has his hand on the tiller for Kilmoyley and of course James McCarthy is still knocking around and will have a part to play.

Kilmoyley's Daniel Collins lines up a shot earlier in the championship. Photo by Gavin O'Connor

Kilmoyley’s Daniel Collins lines up a shot earlier in the championship. Photo by Gavin O’Connor

Young guns Jordan Brick, Bob Collins and Dougie will not be found wanting in any role they are asked to fill.

Ballyduff have ground out two victories driven from the back by Liam Boyle assisted by young lads Cathal Kearney and John Hussey with the converted forward Anthony Carroll impressing at full back.

The Gradys’ never say die attitude to the game of hurling is what makes Ballyduff a team to be reckoned with come championship time.

Up front they have three of the best hurling paws in the county in Gary O’Brien, Aiden and Michael Boyle and as the old hurling saying goes “a sliotar in the hand is worth a goal or two”.

Ballyduff had Ally O’Connor and Jack Goulding in reserve the last day against Abbeydorney expect the return of both for the Kilmoyley clash.

I hardly mentioned their scorer in chief the ‘Berliner’ himself Bobby O’Sullivan, give him any free from eighty metres and nine out of ten times it’s a point.

So who’s going to win it?

I could go around the houses with ifs and’s and butts, but I say Ballyduff by a whisker.

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