Killenaule footballers created their own piece of sporting history on Saturday evening last at Kilsheelan when capturing the South Tipperary Senior Football Championship title for the first time.
Scenes of great joy and wild excitement greeted the final whistle as the team and supporters celebrated a fully deserved three points win over Moyle Rovers on a 0-17 to 1-12 scoreline.
Following quarter-final and semi-final wins over Cahir and Clonmel Commercials respectively Killenaule went in to their maiden South SFC final with serious credentials and intent. From very early on it became clear to a good-sized crowd present on a perfect evening for football that they meant business and a blistering start saw them lead 0-6 to 0-1 after just 12 minutes of play. At the interval they led 0-10 to 0-6.
Rovers came out with all guns blazing at the start of the second half and reduced the lead to two within three minutes. Then a serious leg injury to Killenaule corner-back Declan Ryan was to hold up play for 12 minutes and kudos to on-field ambulance and medical staff for their expertise in dealing with the situation.
When play eventually resumed, with the introduction of Greg Henry, Killenaule rattled off three unanswered points and whatever initial momentum Rovers seemed to have at the beginning of the half was gone.
Killenaule maintained this five point advantage for most of the second half but a late rally from Rovers and a goal from substitute Shane Foley had it down to the minimum before ‘man of the match’ John Bubbles O’Dwyer had the final score of the game for Killenaule.
Killenaule were champions of the South for the first time ever and deservedly so.
From Matthew O’Donnell in goal to No. 15 Declan Fanning, all contributed greatly in the history-making. The defence was excellent throughout with Joe Mouse O’Dwyer and Kieran Bergin particularly prominent. Paddy Codd and Cathal Bergin won more than their fair share around the centre, assisted by Declan Fanning who was immense in that central role. All forwards bar Fanning scored with Tony Doyle, Michael Doyle and John Bubbles O’Dwyer doing the major damage on the scoreboard.
Rovers can lick their wounds and regroup to try and win the county title but they will have to find something extra on this performance to fulfil that ambition. Aaron Kelly and Danny Lyne had their positive moments. While Declan Browne, Martin Dunne, Peter Acheson, Jack Lonergan and Ross Mulcahy gave it their all on the night.