County MHC ‘A’ Final
Nenagh Éire Óg 2-16
St Mary’s Clonmel 1-6
St Mary’s hopes of a first ever County minor hurling ‘A’ title were dashed at Holycross on Saturday when going down to a heavy defeat to a very strong Nenagh side.
The Clonmel side’s fortunes were sealed in the first half when they were outplayed and trailed at the break by fourteen points, 2-10 to 0-2.
They outscored Nenagh 1-4 to 0-6 in the second half but were too far behind to threaten the big lead.
It was a disappointing end to a great campaign for St Mary’s but there was no disputing that they lost to a better side in the final.
Two Jason Lonergan pointed frees were all they could manage in the opening thirty minutes.
A Christy Walsh goal in the second half offered some hope but not enough to claw back the lead.
Both sides looked a little nervous in the opening minutes with Donnacha Quinn and Jason Lonergan trading early frees - ominously Nenagh Éire Óg creating a goal-scoring opportunity as early as the seventh minute when the crossbar denied Shane Hennessy.
Éire Óg took the lead in the 13th minute when Shane Hennessy cracked over a terrific right-handed point. Bob O’Brien then set up James Mackey for another before O’Brien and Killian Gleeson combined to create an opportunity for Donnacha Quinn and Éire Óg led 0-4 to 0-1 following fourteen minutes of play.
Donnacha Quinn set up James Mackey for a smashing point in the 15th minute before Andrew Coffey was fouled a minute later and Donnacha Quinn converted the resultant free.
Éire Óg’s opening goal arrived in the 20th minute when James Mackey beat his man with a clever flick. The ball broke to Donnacha Quinn who raced through before firing home a rasping left-handed shot - 1-6 to 0-1.
In the 22nd minute Gary Howard got through a power of work before setting up Donnacha Quinn for a point from play. James Mackey was then fouled and Quinn converted once more to leave ten between them (1-8 to 0-1) in the 25th minute.
St Mary’s, thanks to a Jason Lonergan free, did manage a response in the 27th minute, but the South champions were struggling badly.
Indeed, Éire Óg were good value for a second goal which materialised in the 29th minute. This time the Éire Óg full-forward line worked tirelessly to deny St Mary’s an opportunity to clear their lines. Ultimately, Adam Grattan worked the ball to Donnacha Quinn who lashed home a left-handed shot from a tight angle - 2-8 to 0-2.
Éire Óg closed out the opening half with two Donnacha Quinn frees and retired at the break nursing a 2-10 to 0-2 lead.
St Mary’s managed their opening score from play thanks to a fine Liam Murchan effort after just eleven seconds of the second half. Two minutes later Jason Lonergan converted a free and the deficit was reduced to twelve - 0-4 to 2-10.
Donnacha Quinn then helped himself to his eighth point before Jason Lonergan worked a short free into the hand of Eric Walsh and the substitute fired over in the 35th minute.
Éire Óg, eager to discourage St Mary’s dreams of a dramatic comeback, then upped their performance considerably with a left-handed point from James Mackey illustrating their dominance in the 36th minute. Two minutes later Donnacha Quinn cut over a terrific sideline ball before points from Shane Hennessy and a terrific turn and left-handed shot from Gary Howard helped Éire Óg into a 2-15 to 0-5 lead by the 41st minute.
Éire Óg appeared to ease off thereafter while St Mary’s, to their credit, poured forward in search of scores. In the 49th minute Colman Kennedy landed a fine long-range point before Christy Walsh managed to squeeze home his effort at goal from a 21-yard free in the 52nd minute.
That three-pointer gave the Clonmel faithful something to shout about before Bob O’Brien helped himself to a fine point in the 54th minute.
Nenagh Éire Óg: Darragh Gleeson, Conor Ryan, Michael Collins, Niall Kennedy, Adam Grattan, Barry Heffernan, Aodhán Geaney, Andrew Coffey, Killian Gleeson, Bob O’Brien (captain, 0-1), Donnacha Quinn (2-9, 0-5 frees, 0-1 sideline), Shane Hennessy (0-2), Gary Howard (0-1), Luke Kennedy, James Mackey (0-3). Subs: (40th) Philip Hickey for Luke Kennedy, (55th) Paul O’Leary for Bob O’Brien, (56th) Ger O’Gorman for Aodhán Geaney, (59th) Barry O’Connor for Conor Ryan, (59th) John O’Brien for Gary Howard.
St Mary’s Clonmel: Michael Boland, Robert Lyons, Seán Gunne, Richie Gunne, David Collins, Colman Kennedy (0-1), Ciarán Brady, Jason Lonergan (0-3, 0-3 frees), Darren Cass, Christy Walsh (1-0, 1-0 free), Brian Walsh, Liam Murchan (0-1), Pádraic Looram, Sammy Ryan, Liam Ryan. Subs: (19th) Ross Peters for Padraic Looram, (HT) Eric Walsh (0-1) for Liam Ryan, (36th) Cathal McGeever for Brian Walsh, (45th) James Sullivan for Sammy Ryan, (60th) Ronan Brady for Liam Murchan.
Referee: Johnny Ryan (Boherlahan-Dualla).