Cahir played host to the South Tipperary U/21 B Hurling final on Sunday last and in conditions that were not conducive to the playing of our national game, both sides have to be complimented on serving up an interesting and entertaining decider, with Skeheen’ winning 3-16 to 2-12.
Skeheenarinky entered this game as strong favourites as they had soundly beaten their opponents in the league stages and had been very impressive winners of their semi-final but Clonmel Óg took the game to Skeheenarinky and found themselves two points to the good inside ninety seconds after Dean Kelleher converted two frees after good early pressure.
The winners settled quickly after that and two points from play from the impeccable Tommy Sweeney and a free from Fionnain O’Sullivan put them in front for the first time. Kelleher restored parity with another pointed free but Skeheenarinky hit a purple patch between the ninth and fourteenth minutes starting with a free from O’ Sullivan. The same player found the back of the Clonmel Óg net in the 11th minute after a great move involving John Martin, who was very impressive throughout, Neil Barrett and Tommy Sweeney. Two more points followed from Paul Quinlan and Noel Vaughan who was having a big influence on proceedings.
Conor Arrigan pointed for The Óg after a good move and there was no doubt he went for a goal but to his and Clonmel Óg frustration it went over rather than under the crossbar. John Martin responded for the winners by pointing from a side line cut, a skill that was brilliantly executed by both sides on Sunday. Shane Lynch pointed from play for Skeheen before Kelleher responded with a pointed 65 for the Clonmel side to leave the score at Skeheenarinky 1-8 Clonmel Óg 0-4.
Tommy Sweeney from play and Fionnain O’Sullivan from a free added to the winners total while the dependable Kelleher again converted from a free for Clonmel Óg before some poor defending left O’Sullivan in for a goal for Skeheenarinky in the 26th minute. Following a skirmish in the 27th minute William English from Skeheenarinky and Dean Kelleher were red carded by referee by Michael O’Donnell. Considering there were 12 players involved in what was nothing more than handbags the general consensus was that yellow cards would have been sufficient but the referee is in charge and he is the one who has to make the final decision on what he sees.
Skeheenarinky led 2-10 to 0-6 as both sides retired for the half time break and the task facing Clonmel Óg looked insurmountable as they were playing second fiddle to an impressive Skeheen side.
Mathew Norris, who had a fine second half, pointed a free for Clonmel Óg in the third minute of the second period but two points from play by Tommy Sweeney stretched the winners advantage to eleven points by the sixth 36th minute. Clonmel Óg started to apply some pressure at this stage but without reward until the 41st minute when a Marc Ahearne free found its way to the back of the net. Skeheenarinky su b Mark Hennessey, who made a big contribution, replied with a point in the 44th minute but Norris narrowed the gap further with two pointed frees. The tempo of the game had reached a high level and for the first time it looked like Clonmel Óg believed they had a chance.
Two pointed frees from O’Sullivan for Skeheenarinky and one free and one from play by Norris left six points between the sides with 59 minutes showing on the clock. Clonmel Óg were now throwing everything at the winners and after a free was not cleared by the Skeheen defence Graham Quinn picked up the loose ball and rifled a shot to the back of the net to leave only three points between the sides.
As we entered injury time the winners were awarded a hotly disputed free which was superbly dispatched by Fionnain O‘Sullivan and in the last attack of the game Mark Hennessey broke a tackle and kicked the sliothar to the net to make sure of victory on a score line of 3-16 to 2-12.
Even the most partisan Clonmel Óg supporter would have to admit that Skeheenarinky deserved their victory but there is no doubt Clonmel Óg deserve great credit especially for their second half performance in what was a very entertaining final.
A great success for Skeheenarinky which was epitomised by the performances of Bobby Breedy, Seamus O’ Callaghan, Shane Lynch, John Martin, Tommy Sweeney, Fionnain O’ Sullivan, Noel Vaughan and Mark Hennessey.
While disappointed Clonmel Óg can be proud of their contribution and none more so than Dean Horton, Ross Mullane, Graham Quinn, Mathew Norris and the unfortunate Dean Kelleher.
Skeheenarinky -Jason Cahill, Kevin Carey, Bobby Breedy, Rian O’Callaghan, William English, John O’Callaghan, Seamus O’Callaghan, Shane Lynch, John Martin Neil Barrett, Tommy Sweeney, Paul Quinlan, Fionnain O’ Sullivan, Noel Vaughan, Eoin Morrissey Subs- Mike Sweeney Anthony Crotty, Ben Macken, Aaron Macken, Danny Barrett, Mark Hennessey.
Clonmel Og - Shane Fehilly, Paddy Power, Dean Horton, Aaron Arrigan, Ross Mullane, Declan Bennett, Graham Quinn, Marc Ahearne, Darragh Kearney, Eddie Power, Cian Hogan, Mathew Norris, Conor Arrigan, Stevie O’ Connell, Dean Kelleher. Subs- Colm O’ Connell, Michael Lynch, Adam Russell, Tony Cantwell John O’ Brien.
Referee- Michael O’Donnell (Clerihan).