Ardfinnan reached the semi-final of the Clonmel Oil sponsored South senior football championship with a seven point victory over Fethard in this quarter final played in Cahir on Saturday night last.
They set up this victory with an excellent first-half display when they hit some excellent points. Fethard struggled for long periods but were thrown a lifeline on 25 minutes with an excellent goal by wing back Brian Delahunty and must have been delighted to only trail by 4 pts at the interval. Fethard were also forced to line out without some of their top players including leading marksman Brian Coen.
Ardfinnan playing with the breeze opened the scoring with a Brian Lonergan free which was quickly cancelled out by a Carl Maher free. Fethard also lost midfielder Shane Walsh through injury with John Paul Looby coming in at centre forward and Aidan Lonergan going midfield.
Ardfinnan now got a grip on proceeding with midfielders Jonathan Ryan and Philip Murphy backed up by Michael O’Sullivan and Karl Costigan providing their forwards with a plenty full supply of possession. As result they created many problems for the losers defence with Peter Hally, Billy Hewitt and Aidan Savage prominent.
They reeled off seven points in a row between the 5th and 18th minute with Peter Hally (0—3), Billy Hewitt (0-2) Johny English (0-1) and Brian Lonergan (0—1Free) - indeed it would have been worst for Fethard but for an excellent Paul Fitzgerald save from Danny O’Regan. They suffered a blow when Philip Murphy retired injured with David Lonergan replacing him.
Kenneth O’Donnell had Fethard’s second point on 20 minutes which was quickly cancelled out by an Aidan Savage effort. Then we had the Brian Delahunty’s goal after an excellent move and run by Aiden Lonergan who set up Brian Delahunty. This was quickly followed by a Carl Maher effort. Peter Hally had the last score of the half for the winners to leave the half-time score Ardfinnan 0-10 Fethard 1-3.
With the breeze behind them Fethard started the second half brightly, despite conceding the first score to a Brian Lonergan free. Fethard then struck the next three points from Aidan Lonergan, Carl Maher and Kenneth O’Donnell to leave two between them with 10 minutes gone. They then missed a long range free by Paul Fitzgerald and this seemed to inspire the winners who began to regain control and over the next 15 minutes hit six points in a row from Johnny English2 Brian Lonergan 3 (2 frees) and Billy Hewitt to extend the lead to eight points. Fethard continued to battle but found the Ardfinnan defence in top form. Kenneth O’Donnell had the last score from a free.
Ardfinnan have qualified for the semi-final for the second year in a row and will take great heart from this display. Fethard will now concentrate on the county series where they will meet the same opposition. They will hope to have some of their missing players back and will be confident of reversing this result.
Best for the winners were Diarmuid O’Sullivan, Michael O’Sullivan, Karl Costigan, Jonathan Ryan, Peter Hally, Aiden Savage, Billy Hewitt, Johnny English, Daniel O’Regan and David Lonergan.
Best for Fethard were Gavin Fitzgerald, Dylan Fitzgerald, Cian Maher, Brian Delahunty, Kenneth O’Donnell, Carl Maher and Aiden Lonergan
Scorers, Ardfinnan, David Lonergan 0-6(5f), Peter Hally 0-4. Billy Hewitt 0-3, Johnny English 0-3, Aiden Savage 0-1.
Fethard, Brian Delahunty 1-0, Carl Maher 0-3(2f), Kenneth O’Donnell 0-3(1f) Aiden Lonergan 0-1
Ardfinnan; Niall Hickey, John Kinehan, Diarmuid O’Sullivan, Eoin Walsh, Michael O’Sullivan, Hugh Bannon, Karl Costigan, Jonathan Ryan, Philip Murphy, Aiden Savage, Brian Lonergan, Peter Hally, Daniel O’Regan, Billy Hewitt, Johnny English. Subs used - David Lonergan, Alan Martin, James O’Mahoney, Kieran O’Brien.
Fethard: Paul Fitzgerald, Shane Alyward, Gavin Fitzgerald, Alan O’Connor, Ronan Fitzgerald, Dee Burke, Brian Delahunty, Shane Walsh, Cian Maher, Ciaran O’Meara, Aiden Lonergan, David Hayes, Carl Maher, Dylan Fitzgerald, Kenneth O’Donnell. Subs Used: John Paul Looby
Referee - Brian Tyrell