Rockwell Rovers are intermediate champions of West Tipperary for the first time ever. In a spirited display, full of passion and endeavour, they defeated the favourites, Sean Treacys, by 2-12 to 1-10 in the final of the Tipperary Credit Union sponsored championship at Dundrum on Saturday evening.
From the throw-in Rockwell showed they were a team with a mission, a bunch of players with a purpose. They revealed no inhibitions against a side that had defeated them in the league stage of the competition by ten points and a club that would be regarded as a much more traditional hurling stronghold than Rockwell.
Because the exchanges were so closely contested there were few scores in the opening minutes. Each side scored a point and then there was stalemate until the 14th minute when Rockwell strung together four points in four minutes. Sean Treacys came back with two and Rockwell finished the half with two more to leave the half-time score 0-7 to 0-3, and Rockwell looking very good.
Rockwell increased their lead with an Andy Moloney point immediately on the resumption but then came Sean Treacy’s best period of play. Seanie Ryan had a point and then Paudie Ryan scored a goal. From a puck out by the Rockwell goalkeeper, Denis Stapleton caught a great ball and sent it directly to Ryan about fifteen yards form the goal and his shot gave the goalkeeper no chance. The same player added two points from frees and suddenly Sean Treacys were in front by a point, 1-6 to 0-8. It was the only time they were to lead in the game. Rockwell came back with two Moloney points and Paudie Ryan had a free on the 15th minute to leave the score level at the end of the third quarter, 0-10 to 1-7.
It didn’t stay that way for long. From a clearance out of the Rockwell backs the ball came to Andy Moloney and he soloed for a bit before finishing to the Treacy’s net. Sean Treacys reponded fairly quickly with three points so that after twenty minutes the sides were level again at 1-10 each.
There were still fourteen minutes of play left, the extra time resulting from a flare-up, some injuries and the red-carding of Seamus Carey of Sean Treacys in the 29th minute. During this period of play Sean Treacys failed to raise a flag. In contrast Rockwell Rovers scored 1-2, the goal coming from T. J. Ryan, who had been introduced early in the second half. This was the margin of victory Rockwell had on a scoreline of 2-12 to 1-10, when the final whistle sounded.
The victory meant an awful lot to Rockwell Rovers and their supporters. They came to the game, as their captain, Andy Moloney, said in his acceptance speech intending to give it a good shot but probably the result exceeded their expectations. They thoroughly deserved their victory and it was never in doubt except for a couple of minutes early in the second half. An indication of their superiority was their fourteen wides as against Treacys seven. They got great performances all over the field especially from Andy Moloney, Pat Halley, Stephen Boland, TJ Ryan and Stephen Quirke.
Sean Treacys have to be bitterly disappointed with their performance. They didn’t really turn up for the game and their play lacked the fire and passion one normally associates with them. They must have felt fairly confident coming into this game, having beaten the opposition comfortably already. Not many of their players delivered the kind of performance expected of them with the exception of Denis Stapleton, Paudie Ryan, Declan Hickey and Seanie Ryan.
After the game the cup was presented by board chairman, Roger Kennedy, to winning captain, Alan Moloney. He congratulated both teams on an exciting game and Rockwell Rovers on winning their first ever West intermediate title. He wished both team well in the county series. Catherine Hogan represented the sponsors, Tipperary Credit Union, at the presentation.
Rockwell Rovers: Michael O’Donnell, Stephen Quirke, Eoin Shine, Kevin Heaney, Diarmuid Lonergan, Pat Halley, Liam Lonergan, Paul Halley, Barry Shortall (0-1), Eoin Byrne (0-1), Gavin Ryan (0-1), Aidan Barron, Stephen Boland (0-1), Alan Molon ey (capt) (1-7), Colm Heaney. Sub: T., J.Ryan (1-1) for Colm Heaney,
Sean Treacys: Seamus Butler, Donncha O’Brien, Paul Shanahan, Declan Hickey, Denis Stapleton, Sean Kennedy (capt), Jowy Ryan, Seamus Carey, Tom Hickey, Seanie Ryan (0-20, Jody Ryan, Simon Kennedy, Liam Nolan, Paudie Ryan (1-7), Simon Kennedy. Sub: John Butler (0-1)
Referee: Paddy Russell (Emly)