Fr. Sheehy’s proved too strong for Grangemockler/Ballyneale in a well contested County u-21 “C” final in Clonmel on Saturday afternoon, winning 4-16 to 3-10.
The winning margin of nine points may be flattering but having had the upper hand all afternoon there will be little argument about the result.
Fr. Sheehy’s were strong in all lines and although they suffered an early set back when the excellent Thomas Dineen goaled for Grangemockler in the third minute, the Clogheen men recovered well and were the better side for most of the game. The efforts from the losers were indeed laudable and they contributed well to what was an excellent contest.
The early goal from Thomas Dineen who shot powerfully to the net after just 3 minutes gave Grangemockler a tonic start but Fr. Sheehy’s responded and points from Brian Hyland and Robbie O’Brien were registered before a long range free from Brian Hyland was flicked to the net by John Ferguson in the 7th minute to give Fr. Sheehy’s a lead for the first time.
In an opening half that produced 21 scores the sides displayed remarkable accuracy but it was Fr. Sheehy’s, driven on by Brian Hyland at centre field who registered seven first half points,of which five were from open play, who were the better side in most areas.
Hyland, a strong hurler who has an eye for a score, was outstanding in the opening period and Grangemockler struggled to contain him. Robbie O’Brien, Shane Lowry and Seán Flynn also caused problems for the Grangemockler backline. Thomas Dinneen and captain Thomas Norton were the main men in attack for Grangemockler while Cian Morris, Aaron O’Donovan and centre back Thomas Grincell battled bravely in defence. Fr. Sheehy’s led by 1-11 to 1-5 as the first half entered injury time and then came a sucker punch for Grangemockler when Shane Lowry goaled on the stroke of half time to open an 8 point gap.
The margin increased with a Lowry point in the opening minute of the second half before two Thomas Grincell frees for Grangemockler narrowed the gap to seven after five minutes. Brian Hyland again pointed for Fr Sheehy’s a minute later. Two goals and a point in a three minute spell for Grangemockler followed and opened the game up into a real contest.
Thomas Norton gathered a lovely pass from Thomas Dineen before rounding Dan O’Riordan to shoot to the net and give his side a lifeline. A minute later and a Thomas Grincell free from inside his own half deceived O’Riordan in the Clogheen goal and ended in the net and when Dineen pointed a minute later there was suddenly just two points between the sides.
An exchange of points maintained this margin as the game entered the final quarter. In a game that was notable for the high scoring the 13-aside rule in this grade began to take its toll and as tiredness began to set in the scoring dried up somewhat. A strong finish from Fr. Sheehy’s saw them secure the title. Shane Lowry produced a scintillating finish and registered 2-1 in the dying minutes. What a shame that an ugly skirmish near the end should blemish an otherwise sporting tie. The referee dismissed three players following the incident but Fr. Sheehy’s saw out the final minutes to earn a well deserved victory.
Fr. Sheehy’s: Dan O’Riordan, Kevin Watson, David McGrath, Aidrian O’Brien, Shane Ryan, Stephen O’Driscoll, Robbie O’Brien, Brian Hyland, John Ferguson, Sean Flynn, Shane O’Brien, Christopher English, Shane Lowry.
Grangemockler/Ballyneale: Andrew Bolger, Aaron O’Donovan, Jack Hallinan, Dean Hallinan, Cian Morris, Thomas Grincell, Stephen Foley, Andrew Comerford, Michael Meagher, Seán Bates, Thomas Dineen, Wayne McGrath, Thomas Norton.
Sub Used: Greville Madden.