Kilsheelan-Kilcash show good form in county junior hurling

Kilsheelan-Kilcash booked their place in the last four of the County Tipperary Junior (A) Hurling Championship with an empathic nine-point victory 1-15 to 0-9 over the 13 men of Knockavilla Kickhams in the second of the South versus West Divisions quarterfinals at New Inn on Saturday afternoon.

Kilsheelan-Kilcash booked their place in the last four of the County Tipperary Junior (A) Hurling Championship with an empathic nine-point victory 1-15 to 0-9 over the 13 men of Knockavilla Kickhams in the second of the South versus West Divisions quarterfinals at New Inn on Saturday afternoon.

From the opening attack Thomas Ryan put Kilsheelan in front and in the 5th minute John Roche had a free knocked out for a ‘65’ that was scored by Roche to put the South champions’ lead to three when good approach work ended with Alex Harte finding the target.

In the 9th minute, Kickhams’ Ger Farrell registered their opening score and then reduced the leeway with a long range free from Tommy Comerford. Kilsheelan raised the only green flag of the afternoon in the 13th minute when a high ball into the goalmouth saw the Kickhams’ defenders lose sight of the sliotar that the unmarked John Kehoe scrambled over the line to go 1-3 to 0-2 clear.

There were a number of attempts off target from both sides before Kickhams reduced the leeway with Shane Morrissey finding his range only for Kilsheelan to reply with a free from halfway and another from closer in from John Roche to retain that five-point gap.

Although Kickhams were second to the breaking ball, they picked themselves up once more by adding three points without reply. A free from Tommy Comerford was followed by a score from Conor Horan and rounded it off when Kilsheelan goalie Ian Coughlan did well to clear a ball for a ‘65’ that Tommy Comerford converted.

But just when it looked like Kickhams were making inroads Kilsheelan ended the half with John Kehoe pointing after Willie Ryan’s free was blocked and an Alex Harte goal bound strike was tipped over the crossbar by Kickhams goalie Thomas Ryan with the last puck of the half to put Kilsheelan 1-7 to 0-6 ahead.

A torrential downpour during the half-time break left conditions underfoot treacherous but it did not stop either side from giving it full commitment. It also turned what was an uninterrupted contest into a stop-start one for the remaining half hour.

Kilsheelan who were managing the better to stay on their feet opened up eight-point gap with four unanswered points with Alex Harte, taking over placed-ball duty, scoring from a free and then from play. John Kehoe scored the next and Alex Harte added another after John Kehoe was badly injured and forced to retire, to go 1-11 to 0-6 with twenty minutes remaining.

Substitute Michael O’Brien pulled a point back for a Kickhams side that were showing their frustrations playing second fiddle to a Kilsheelan side that were now stamping their authority on proceedings. After 42 minutes, the West Tipp side lost Brendan Farrell when he got his marching orders for an overzealous challenge on All-Ireland winning minor captain Bill Maher and Alex Harte punished that discretion.

Another substitute Richard Horgan got his name on the score sheet on 52 minutes for Kickhams, but a minute later, the West Tipp side were down to 13 players with Kevin Farrell getting his marching orders for an altercation with Shane Prendergast. With Kilsheelan using their superior numbers, they added three further scores from Alex Harte with a brace and Pakie Larkin to Kickhams single point from a Tommy Comerford placed-ball, the outcome of this contest was never in doubt.