O’Neill switch vital for Clonoulty in West Tipp hurling

Clonoulty-Rossmore came through a tough challenge from Eire Óg in the West Tipperary senior hurling championship game at Dundrum on Sunday evening, winning by the minimum of margins on a scoreline of 0-14 to 0-13.

Clonoulty-Rossmore came through a tough challenge from Eire Óg in the West Tipperary senior hurling championship game at Dundrum on Sunday evening, winning by the minimum of margins on a scoreline of 0-14 to 0-13.

Even though the scoring was low this was a good exciting game with very close marking, a lot of physical contact and plenty of heavy hits given and taken in the course of the hour. It was helped in no small way by a tolerant referee who obviously believes that a vital part of the game of hurling is good physical contact and that as long as players refrain from the sneaky stuff is willing to let the game flow.

Clonoulty made an important move entering the final quarter. They brought John O’Neill out to centre from the corner-forward position and he revelled in the greater space. He also caused quite a lot of turmoil in the Eire Óg backline. During this final period he was to score three points of Clonoulty’s total of five and was the difference between victory and defeat.

Clonoulty will be pleased to have come through such a tough challenge and will be happy with their spirited performance during the final quarter. They will question why, after a good start, they went all of nineteen minutes without a score in the first half. They were best served by Thomas Butler, John O’Keeffe, who had an outstanding game, Paudie White, John Devane, Sean Maher, when he came on as a sub, and John O’Neill in the final quarter.

Eire Óg will probably believe they deserved a draw, and they probably did. For long periods of the game one expected them to come out of it with at least a draw. Tom Fox was outstanding and others to impress were Brian Fox, Gearóid Ryan in the first half, Padraig O’Dwyer and Dan Horgan. A weakness in their inside forward line and the failure of some of their key players to rise to the occasion was their undoing.

Clonoulty-Rossmore: Declan O’Dwyer, Joey O’Keeffe, Andrew Quirke, Kevin Horan, John O’Keeffe (0-1), Padraig Heffernan, John Devane, Sean O’Connor, Paudie White (0-2), Conor Hammersley (0-1), Thomas Butler (0-1), Tom Butler, Fiachra O’Keeffe (0-1), Timmy Hammersley (0-4), John O’Neill (0-4). Subs: Sean Maher for Sean O’Connor, Conor Ryan for Fiachra O’Keeffe, Ciaran Quirke for Timmy Hammersley.

Eire Óg: Darragh Mooney (0-1), Brian Fox (capt.), Richard Ryan, Michael O’Dwyer, Dan Horgan, Kev Fox, Tom Fox (0-2), Conor O’Brien (0-1), Gearóid Ryan (0-3), Willie O’Neill, Padraig O’Dwyer (0-3), Damien O’Brien (0-1), Seanie Ryan, Ronan O’Brien (0-2), Oisín O’Dwyer.

Referee: Fergal Horgan (Kickhams)