Portaferry thrashed by Kilmallock in All-Ireland semi-final

Portaferry goalkeeper Karol Keating battles for possession with Kilmallock's Paddy O'Loughlin
Portaferry goalkeeper Karol Keating battles for possession with Kilmallock's Paddy O'Loughlin

Ulster club hurling champions Portaferry suffered a 2-19 to 0-12 defeat to Munster kingpins Kilmallock in Saturday's All-Ireland Club Hurling Championship semi-final in Mullingar.

The Down team were second best against a physically superior Limerick outfit.

Portaferry relied heavily on frees from Paul Braniff who scored nine points.

Goals in each half from Paddy O'Loughlin and Graeme Mulcahy eased Kilmallock through to a St Patrick's Day final against Ballyhale Shamrocks.

Portaferry got off to a terrible start when they conceded 1-1 in the opening few minutes, O'Loughlin with the goal after three minutes.

Braniff opened the Ulster champions' scoring with a fourth-minute free and he scored five of his team's six points in the first half, four from frees and one '65'.

Paddy O'Loughlin celebrates scoring the opening goal for Kilmallock
Paddy O'Loughlin celebrates scoring the opening goal for Kilmallock

Kevin McGarry picked off their only point from play in the first half after 20 minutes and they trailed 1-8 to 0-6 at half time.

Kilmallock pulled clear in the third quarter with Eoin Ryan very accurate from frees.

Even though Limerick star Gavin O'Mahony was suspended following his straight red card in the Munster final, fellow inter-county player Graeme Mulcahy was hugely influential in the second half and hit 1-2 from play.

His goal after 49 minutes came after good work by Ryan and his low finish beat goalkeeper Karol Keating, who also made two very smart saves during the game.

Braniff picked off a couple of points from play while Portaferry dangerman Eoghan Sands failed to score until the last minute.

A total of 13 points separated the teams at the finish, with Kilmallock also hitting 13 wides over the hour's play.

They will make a first All-Ireland final appearance since 1993 when they take on favourites Ballyhale Shamrocks on St Patrick's Day. The Kilkenny side defeated Gort 2-17 to 1-15 in Saturday's other semi-final in Tullamore.

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