Moyle Rovers bridged a 46-year gap at Ardfinnan on Saturday evening last to win their first South Tipperary Intermediate Football Championship since 1966 and only their second in all. In a very entertaining final with an excellent standard of football all round, Rovers just about deserved their 1-10 to 0-11 victory over a gallant Ballyporeen side who lost absolutely nothing in defeat.
The decisive score of the game came in the 10th minute of the first half at which stage Bally led by 0-3 to 0-1. Outstanding forward Conor Conneally found Rian Clancy with a perfect pass Clancy took his chance excellently.
Ahead by two points at the break, 1-6 to 0-7, Moyle Rovers maintained this advantage to the end. Four times in the second period Ballyporeen, with some excellent point scoring, brought it back to the minimum but an equaliser proved elusive every time.
Having lost the South senior final to Killenaule just two weeks back, the Moyle Rovers club will take huge encouragement from this win and particularly from the performances of some of their younger players. The mixture of experience and youth, from veteran Liam Cronin to current minor Philip Quirke, all gelled well on the night. Conor Conneally was very exciting all through but there were also fine performances from captain David Conway, Shane Heffernan, Edmond Burke, Sean Boland, Cathal Quigley and Paul Shanahan.
Ballyporeen will rue the concession of so many costly frees over the hour and will be very disappointed in defeat. The best scores and point-taking on the night came from the boys in red and black with Conor Sweeney and Darragh Lyons kicking some huge scores. John Martin and John O’Callaghan fielded brilliantly at midfield and drove their side on at every opportunity, while Neil Barrett, William English and Shane Lynch all had their moments. There will be another day for Ballyporeen.
Moyle Rovers: Ciaran Kendrick, Shane Heffernan (0-1), David Conway (captain), Liam Cronin, David McGrath, Darragh Dwyer, Edmond Burke, Sean Boland, Philip Quirke, Cathal Quigley (0-1), Kevin Morrissey, Rian Clancy (1-0), Conor Conneally (0-1), Paul Shanahan (0-7 all frees), Conor Cooney.
Subs: Craig Condon for Conor Cooney (41 mins); Ciaran Lorrigan for David Conway (51 mins).
Ballyporeen: Jack English, Neil Barrett, David Russell, Paul Hyland (captain), William English, David Hyland, Shane Lynch, John Martin (0-1), John O’Callaghan (0-1), Darragh Lyons (0-3, 0-1F), Conor Sweeney (0-5, 0-2F), Tommy Sweeney (0-1), Anthony Crotty, Paidi Fitzgerald, Tomas Drislane.
Subs: Shane Molan for Paul Hyland (28 mins); Fionan O’Sullivan for Paidi Fitzgerald (HT); Eoin Morrissey for Neil Barrett (40 mins); Tomas Molan for Tommy Sweeney (50 mins); Michael O’Neill for David Hyland (58 mins).
Referee: Brian Tyrrell.
(Full report and photos in ‘The Nationalist’ out every Wednesday)