South u-21 FC ‘B’ semi-final
Carrick Swan 4-3
Clonmel Óg/Clerihan 3-1
One has to question the sanity of playing this particular game on Thursday evening last in New Inn.
The appalling conditions that prevailed on the night did absolutely nothing to promote the game of Gaelic Football in Tipperary and it only served to tick another box for the organising committee as they wade through their fixture list for 2013.
There was consternation two weeks ago when Cork played Waterford in the National Hurling league in Dungarvan but the conditions on that day were a walk in the park compared to what both teams, referee, officials and supporters had to endure on Thursday last.
The gale force wind and sheeting rain never abated for the whole game and one could only admire the passion and commitment of both sets of players and the man in the middle Paddy Ivors as they strove to give their all for the cause.
Carrick Swan had the aid of the wind in the first period and they took full advantage of it. Within a minute they had a point from man of the match Bill Walsh. They were held at bay until the ninth minute when Dean Murphy goaled after a great move.
Before they scored again with another green flag from Lee Grace, the combination side had two great goal chances which they spurned. Lee Grace followed his goal with a point in the 15th minute and some stout and resolute defending from Clonmel Óg/ Clerihan kept Swan from scoring again until the 22nd minute when Evan Hogan found the back of the net. That was the final score of the half and one could only see Swan winning this game as the combo struggled, especially without their most influential player, Darragh Kearney who missed the game through illness. Half time Carrick Swan 3-2 Clonmel Óg 0-00.
Whatever was said in the Clonmel Óg/Clerihan dressing room at half time paid dividends immediately on the resumption when Steve O’Connell scored a cracker of a goal and this was followed up a minute later by another goal from Clerihan’s Leo Curtin.
Unbelievably Steve O’Connell bagged another goal in the 34th minute and when Dean Kelleher pointed in the 37th minute the eleven point half time deficit was reduced to one.
They needed to score again while they were in the supremacy but they failed and this along with Swan dropping an extra man back in defence and their superb support play quelled the comeback and turned the tide back in their favour.
They pointed a close in free from Lee Grace in the 38th minute and when Mikey Loughman scored a great goal from an acute angle in the 47th minute one could only see the Carrick side winning.
Try as hard as they could and throwing caution to the wind - no pun intended - the combination gave their upmost in trying to claw their way back but the well organised Carrick Swan side did not allow that happen and qualified for the final on a score line of 4-3 to 3-1.
Normally one would single out players from each side for special mention but on this occasion kudos go to all the players involved for serving up the game that they did in next to impossible conditions.
There was general agreement that Carrick Swan were deserving of their victory and their reaction to the comeback from the combination was the ultimate reason that they prevailed on the night.
Well done also to Paddy Ivors and his umpires on a very difficult night for referring but Paddy handled the game with his usual aplomb. Rockwell Rovers deserve credit for allowing their pitch to be used.
An interesting footnote - one of the primary reasons that this game was played on Thursday last was that the final had to be played on Saturday but you guessed it - the final was called off due to bad weather!
Carrick Swan - Sean Dowley, Sean Dunphy, Colin Waters, Jamie Torpey, Lee Wall, Jack Walsh, Colin Loughman, Dale O’Mahoney, Lee Grace, Danny Fitzpatrick, Bill Walsh, Martin Griffin, Evan Hogan, Dean Murphy, Bill Barrett, Mikey Loughman.
Clonmel Óg/Clerihan. Shane Murphy. Paddy Power, Declan Bennett, Andrew Morrissey, Dean Horton, Aaron Arrigan, Donal Walsh, Marc Ahearne, Dean Kelleher, Eddie Power, Steve O’Connell, Shane Fehilly, Michael Lynch, Leo Curtin, Conor Arrigan, Michael O’Rourke, Brian Bates, Mark Duggan, Sean Hahessy.
Referee - Paddy Ivors (Ballingarry).
A minute’s silence was observed before the game in memory of Carrick Swan’s talented young hurler and footballer Craig Walsh who passed away so tragically. Ár dhéis Dé go raibh a anam.