West SHC Final
Clonoulty-Rossmore were crowned Tipperary Co-Op Super Valu senior hurling champions of the West division at Dundrum on Sunday afternoon when they comprehensively defeated Cappawhite by 1-26 to 0-13 in the final.
It was their fifth senior hurling championship in a row and in achieving this record they join the only other team to have done so in the West division, Kickhams, who won five-in-a-row between 1952 and 1956.
In the days and weeks before the final there was the usual talk of the ‘drive-for-five’ and the pressure that such a target brings in its wake. The fates of Kerry in 1982 and Kilkenny in 2010 were dragged out to show what can happen to the best teams when they go for history.
In this case there was no doubt from the throw-in that Clonoulty-Rossmore were well up for the occasion and that only an extraordinary performance by Cappawhite could prevent them achieving it. Within less than thirty seconds Paudie White had the ball over the Cappawhite bar. Immediately Timmy Hammersley followed up with a 65. John O’Neill was on target with two more points soon after. Thomas Butler followed up with another and then Timmy Hammersley had three points in the trot on the tenth, eleventh and thirteenth minute.
These scores, from a well-oiled playing machine, added up to eight points and the only response from Cappawhite were two points by Jim Carr and Donagh Heffernan. Clonoulty were motoring beautifully. Timmy Hammersley was lording it at full-forward. John O’Neill and Fiachra O’Keeffe were making darting runs off the ball. Sean O’Connor was doing a powerful amount of work at centrefield and the two Butlers and Conor Ryan were adding their height and strength to attacking movements.
The Clonoulty backs were also on top of their game. They were tying up the Cappawhite forwards, giving them neither time or space on the ball. Jerry O’Neill was having a torrid time at full-forward and his corner-forwards were being shackled by their opposites. In the half-line John Devane commanded the centre and John O’Keeffe was at his outstanding best.
The trend of the game didn’t change much in the second quarter. Cappawhite came a bit more into the game and added five points but, if they did, Clonoulty scored seven more to lead by 0-15 to 0-7 at the interval. Timmy Hammersley was responsible for eight in all during the half and Paudie White, who opened the scoring, added two more.
Cappawhite resumed after the break with a little greater urgency and drive and they had the first two points from frees by Jerry O’Neill. They had also introduced James Bradshaw and he brought some extra strength to the forward line. He hit two points in the third and eighth minutes but the scores were too few to make a dent in the Clonoulty lead. Also, Cappa never came near scoring a goal and they needed a goal to transform their performance.
On the other hand Clonoulty had responded with three points and then in the eleventh minute it was Clonoulty who got the goal. It was finished off in style by John O’Neill but the movemnent that produced it began with Sean O’Connor in the back line and involved three more players before O’Neill delivered the coup de grace. It was a marvellous movement and a brilliant finish and it rescued the match from a purely pedestrian level.
The goal was really the end of the game. Cappawhite continued to battle gamely but they got nowhere. They added two more points. Clonoulty added eight more to bring their final total to 1-26 and the scoreline reflected the winners complete dominance of the game.
The winners are an impressive outfit with strong lines all over the field. Most of them have played at county level and bring that experience to their game. They are a well-coached bunch of players and they have a fine level of fitness. They have the experience of having failed in the county final last year and not delivering the performance they are capable of. As captain, John Devane, said in accepting the cup after the game, they are determined to set the record straight with a much improved performance in the county championship this year. And so say all of us!
They had many fine performances on Sunday. Timmy Hammersley has to stand out for his thirteen points. Sean O’Connor did a power of work at midfield. John O’Keeffe was steadiness itself. Others to impress were John Devane, Joey O’Keeffe, Thomas Butler and John O’Neill.
And, what of Cappawhite? They did their best but were very much outclassed on the day. They were badly beaten by the same side last May and the gap in standards and ability were obvious then and it was too much to overcome in the space of a few months. It is probably true to say that they didn’t play as well as they are capable of or was it that they weren’t allowed to play to that level? They had few heroes on the day but Shane McDermott, Pady Julian and Jim Carr were about their best.
After the game the O’Dwyer Cup was presented to the Clonoulty-Rossmore captain, John Devane, by board chairman, Roger Kennedy. He congratulated the winners and wished them the best in the county championship. He thanked Fergal Horgan and his officials for their management of the game. He complimented the Kickhams club for the outstanding preparation of the venue. He thanked the sponsors, Tipperary Co-Op Super Valu and the patrons for their attendance at the game and their support of games in the division during the year.
Before the game a minute’s silence was observed in memory of Fr. Fogarty, former P.P. of Clonoulty-Rossmore, who passed away recently.
The teams were led around the field before the game by the Diarmuid O’Hurley Pipe Band, Cashel.
Clonoulty-Rossmore: Declan O’Dwyer, Joey O’Keeffe, Padraig heffernan, Kevin Horan, Anthony Kearney, John Devane (capt.), John O’Keeffe, Paudie White (0-3), Sean O’Connor, Tom Butler, Conor Ryan (0-2), Thomas Butler (0-2), Fiachra O’Keeffe (0-1), Timmy Hammersley (0-13), John O’Neill (1-3). Subs: Conor Hammersley (0-1) for John O’Neill, James Heffernan for John O’Keeffe, Aidan White for Thomas Butler, Jason Forrestal (0-1) for Fiachra O’Keeffe.
Cappawhite: Franny Quinn, Ross Dunne (capt.), Thomas Costello, Matthew Kennedy, Michael Buckley, Shane McDermott, Tom Treacy, Denis Kelly, Paddy Julian (0-1), Johnny Ryan (P) (0-1), Nial Hayes, Donagh Heffernan (0-1), Sean Ryan (W), Jerry O’Neill (0-5), Jim Carr (0-2). Subs: Pat O’Neill for Thomas Costello, James Bradshaw (0-3) for Sean Ryan (W), Ger Ryan (P) for Denis Kelly.
Referee: Fergal Horgan (Kickhams)