Last weekend O’loughlin Gaels booked their place in in the Kilkenny Senior Hurling Championship Final after a thrilling game against Tullaroan. The city side ended up three point winners after a thrilling end to the game which ended with O’Loughlins caming out on top 1-18 to 0-18.
The first ever Champions in 1897 were Tullaroan, and despite last achieving senior success back in 1994, have secured the Tom Walsh Cup 20 times in total, more then any other side since the competitions inception. This along with recent intermediate All Ireland success urged Comerford’s young sides to expect a battle with their fellow semi finalists, speaking with Scoreline the three time All Ireland winner with Kilkenny said ;
“We did not underestimate Tullaroan. It was two hard working teams, we have no superstars, but we were resilient and we showed it in the last ten minutes”.
“It was unbelievable. We told the backs when you get possession you are going to get hit, they are young lads. This is going to stand to them. They should love to play infront of 8 or 9,000, this is where you want to be as a player. “
“I am delighted, we put in an awesome amount of work. We knuckled down from last November, we got them on programs, they needed to fill out. They are developing.”
O’Loughlin’s watched on as Tullaroan failed to convert many chances with the Gaels proving to be particularly quite in what can be now regarded as the third quarter. The big turning point was seen as Paddy Deegan being put on Padraig Welsh who was moved to midfield.
“When you have the man of the stature of Padraig Walsh who has done what he has done, we cant leave him go unnoticed. We had a plan and we said we would put Paddy on him. It worked out, but there is tight margins in Kilkenny Hurling.”
In 2001 then captain Andy Comerford helped his club to their first Senior Hurling title crown ever by defeating then Leinster Champions Graigue Ballycallen, then repeating the feat in against Young Irelands. Now manager Comerford will be hoping his side can end Shamrocks chances of four in a row and beat TJ Reid and Co, just like they did in 2016 to capture the crown.