Cashel King Cormacs qualified for the final of the West Tipperary under-21 hurling championship A when they defeated Arravale Rovers by 4-9 to 3-8 in an exciting encounter at Bansha on Sunday afternoon.
In unfavourable conditions, rain in the first half, mist after the interval and slippery ground conditions all through, this game was a close one between two evenly matched teams and held the interest of the small crowd right up to the final whistle.
Cashel got a great start when Robbie Anglim rounded his man in the third minute, evaded two tackles and buried the ball in the Arravale net .
Arravale soon responded with two Paddy Dalton points, one from a free and one from play, in the fifth and seventh minutes. Daragh Coughlan added a third and the sides were level after ten minutes.
Soon after Cashel had a second goal. Paddy Morrissey sent a high ball from centrefield into the Arravale goalmouth. The goalkeeper appeared to have it under control but it dropped off his fingers into the net.
The next fifteen minutes produced only one point, a free from Paddy Dalton in the 17th minute. Jonathan Grogan, who was having a nighmare with frees, eventually got one over in the 25th minute and re-established Cashel’s three-point lead.
Two minutes later Arravale were right back into the game following a goal from Sean Kilcoyne, who finished off a good attacking movement. Grogan pointed just before the interval to leave Cashel ahead by a point, 2-2 to 1-4.
Cashel went further ahead in the first five minutes following the interval, scoring two points to Arravale’s one. The game really came alive in the eleventh minute when Dalton converted a penalty in style and Arravale were in front for the first time.
Unfortunately they weren’t to score again for fourteen minutes. During the same period Cashel moved well ahead, scoring 1-4 to take a six-point lead. The goal was a beauty and it followed a long run by Dylan Fitzell before crashing impressivelythe ball to the net.
Cashel were now ahead by 3-8 to 2-5 and appeared to be in a commanding position with six minutes of normal time remaining. But Arravale weren’t giving up yet. Dalton had point from a free and then Brian Lowry finished off a determined attacking movement to the Cashel net and the difference between the sides was a mere two points.
There were misses on both sides but another fine goal by Fitzell in the 29th minute steadied Cashel nerves. The final score came from Dalton with a close-in free with his ball going over the bar for a score of 4-9 to 3-8.
It was an important victory for Cashel and will give them confidence going into the final against the favourites, Clonoulty-Rossmore, next weekend. They had fine performances from Jonathan Grogan, Kevin O’Leary, Dylan Fitzell and Shane Murphy.
Arravale had to field short a couple because of in juries and with a number of players who contributed to their minor county final victory the previous day. They were well served by Paddy Dalton, Shane Leahy, Joe O’Dwyer and Ger Mulhair.
Cashel King Cormacs: Eoghan Quirke, Paddy Morrisey (1-0), Kevin O’Leary, Alan Cummins, Shane Murphy, Michael Killian O’Dwyer, Cathal Minogue, Jonathan Grogan (0-6), Seamus Reade, Eoin Ryan, Simon Delaney (0-1), Gearóid Slattery (0-1), Robert Anglim (1-0), Dylan Fitzell (2-1), Niall Fitzgeralfd. Sub: Alan Coughlan for Nial Fitzgerald.
Arravale Rovers: Gary O’Callaghan, Pearse Richardson, Joe O’Dwyer, Dylan Nugent, Shane Leahy, Ger Mulhair, Brian Lowry (1-0), Niall O’Donovan, Sean O’Meara, Daragh Coughlan (0-1), Fintan Ryan, Sean Kilcoyne (1-0), Johnny Lowry, Paddy Dalton (1-6), Ciarán Lowry. James Kinane for Niall O’Donovan, Eoin Lonergan for Daragh Coughlan.
Referee: Fergal Horgan (Kickhams).