A strong finish saw Clonmel Óg secure two points from their opening encounter in the league stages of this year’s South Tipperary Junior A Hurling Championship`, beating Ballingarry 0-17 to 1-9.
The winners led by four points at half time, nine points to five but Ballingarry reduced that to two by the 36th minute when they then had a player sent–off but as often happens this seemed to inspire them and Paul Butler scored a great point to leave only the minimum between the sides.
Clonmel Óg needed to react and they did and three pointed frees from Paul Deady put them four ahead again by the 44th minute. Paul Butler pointed again for Ballingarry but Dean Kelleher cancelled out that score with a well taken point in the 50th minute after a good move.
Willie Ryan, who accounted for 1-5 of the Ballingarry total, strolled through the winners defence with nine minutes to go to score a goal and leave the game in the proverbial melting pot.
With only two points between the sides the game was there for the taking but Clonmel Óg showed the greater resolve and they took command of the game in the last five minutes and a free from Paul Deady and two well worked points from Dean Kelleher and Mathew Norris closed off matters and gave Clonmel Óg the spoils.
Shane Kearney got the first point of the game inside the first sixty seconds but Niall Walsh equalised after four minutes but a Matthew Norris point within a minute put The Óg back in the ascendancy. Daniel Dunne in the 8th and a pointed free from Willie Ryan in the 9th minute put Ballingarry in front but the Clonmel Óg reaction was positive and three pointed frees from Paul Deady, who converted eight on the night, along with two Dean Kelleher and one Shane Kearney points from play put Clonmel Óg 8 points to 3 ahead.
Two Willie Ryan pointed frees brought Ballingarry back into the game but a Paul Deady free in the 29th minute left Clonmel Óg 4 points in front at the break.
While Clonmel Óg would not have any great pedigree in Junior Hurling they will prove tricky opponents for the remainder of the Championship but their relative inexperience may prove to be their downfall.
They had good performances on the night from Aidan Fox, Marc Ahearne, Shane and Karl Kearney, Dean Kelleher, Dwayne Burns and Paul Deady.
Ballingarry will rue the sending off although it had little effect on the final result. They will regroup and have every chance of making the knock out stages and Kevin Fitzgerald, Paul and Matt Butler, Niall Walsh and Willie Ryan all contributed handsomely on the night.
Clonmel Og- Dean Horton, Aidan Fox, Graham Quinn, Brian Gentles, Noel Walsh, Dara Kearney, Marc Ahearne, Shane Kearney, Karl Kearney, Eric Smith, Eoin Fallon, Mathew Norris, Paul Deady, Dean Kelleher, Dwayne Burns.
Ballingarry-Pat Ivors, Kevin O’Connell. Conor Maher, John Edward Murphy, Kevin Fitzgerald, Shane Fitzgerald, Paul Butler, Matt Butler, Daniel Dunne, Daniel Fennelly, Niall Walsh, Willie Ryan, Garry Ivors, David Cashin.
Referee - Pa Shelly Killenaule.
Kudos to the host club St Patricks whose pitch was in magnificent condition