In a gripping semifinal clash at Pairc Tailteann on Sunday, Kilkenny’s O’Loughlin Gaels etched their name into the All-Ireland Club Senior Hurling Championship final by edging past Cushendall of Antrim with a slender 1-17 to 1-16 victory.
Despite facing an 8-point deficit at one stage, O’Loughlin Gaels orchestrated a remarkable comeback that showcased the resilience and tenacity ingrained in their championship journey. Mark Bergin, rightfully awarded the Man of the Match, emphasized the essence of close encounters in the club championship, echoing sentiments about the competitiveness of the current club game landscape.
“Yeah, it’s the story of our championship so far really. That’s what the club championship is all about,” Bergin remarked. Drawing parallels to other nail-biting encounters in the competition, he highlighted the fine margins that separate victory and defeat. Bergin cited examples such as St. Thomas and Ballygunner, underlining the intensity and quality inherent in the club game.
Reflecting on the team’s turnaround, Bergin expressed the significance of the moment. “We’re into a club final. It’s very hard to believe, to be honest. Words don’t do it justice,” he admitted. The euphoria of the victory was palpable in his words as he acknowledged the collective effort that propelled O’Loughlin Gaels to the championship summit.
” We’ll dust ourselves off, we’ll enjoy it. It’s nice, and we’ll put a plan in place, and we’ll enjoy the next few days over Christmas. To KCLR, you’re doing a serious job there, so long may it last,” Bergin added, giving a special mention to KCLR radio station for their coverage and support.
Looking ahead to the final clash scheduled for January, O’Loughlin Gaels will face St. Thomas’ of Galway, who secured their place by overcoming Munster Champions and favorites Ballygunnar in a thrilling encounter that culminated in a penalty shootout.
The upcoming final promises to be a fitting conclusion to a season defined by high-stakes drama, exemplifying the remarkable standard of hurling in the All-Ireland Club Senior Hurling Championship. As the teams prepare for the ultimate showdown, the anticipation among hurling enthusiasts is palpable, ensuring a memorable spectacle in the pursuit of championship glory.
Listen to full post-match reaction