There was drama in time- added-on at the end of the County Intermediate Football Championship Quarter- Final between Clonmel Og and Rockwell Rovers at Newcastle on Wednesday night last.
Three points down and facing elimination from the championship, Rovers were thrown a lifeline when awarded a penalty which might have forced extra-time. But before the spot kick could be taken referee Derek O’Mahoney would dismiss a Rovers player for striking and reverse his decision, instead throwing up the ball. A point ensued but it was too little too late to save the West champions from their county exit.
This was the proverbial game of two halves. The South Tipp side were superior in the opening period and built a six points lead by the interval.
With Graham Quinn and Johnny Cagney having the better of the midfield battle, ‘The Og’ were 0-3 to 0-1 up at the end of the first quarter with three fine points from play by Cagney, Conor Arrigan and Quinn to an Alan Moloney free for Rockwell Rovers.
But two goals in a three minute spell from Conor Arrigan (after good work from Karl Kearney) and then a deftly finished effort from Darragh Kearney put Clonmel Og 2-3 to 0-1 up after 20 minutes.
Alan Moloney with another free and a point from play (their only one in the opening half) pulled the lead back to 2-3 to 0-3 by the break.
After half-time Rovers came back out a different side to own the third quarter and they had nudged ahead, 1-8 to 2-4, with 10 minutes to go.
Alan Moloney with a free opened the second half scoring but the impressive Aaron Arrigan cancelled this with a super point from 45 metres for Clonmel Og.
Three unanswered points for Rovers - a super swivelling point from TJ Ryan and two frees from Gavin Ryan closed the gap before a brilliant goal finished by Gavin Ryan 11 minutes in restored parity. A further point by Gavin Ryan gave Rockwell the lead for the first (and only) time in the 47th minute.
With all the momentum now with the New Inn side few would have given Clonmel Og a chance. However, displaying admirable determination they fought their way back.
A Jason Hahessy point stemmed the tide to level and following a powerful run through the middle by Darragh Kearney a penalty resulted for a foot block on Conor Arrigan. Captain Johnny Cagney slotted home the spot kick. The Arrigan brothers then combined, Conor setting up Aaron for a further score. With a four points lead and five minutes to go, once more it was Clonmel Og’s to lose.
But it was far from over.
Two points from Alan Moloney one from a free and a reply from Eoin Fallon with a well-taken free meant Rovers now needed a miracle or a goal to survive.
And it seemed they had been granted the former in the awarding of a 62nd minute penalty when the referee adjudged the Clonmel Og keeper Keith Madigan to have fouled the ball. But before the kick could be taken Stephen Quirke’s indiscretion changed Derek O’Mahoney’s decision. From the ensuing play Keith Madigan somewhat atoned when tipping Alan Moloney’s desperate late effort over the bar. ‘The Og’ had pulled off a surprising but deserved win.
Clonmel Og: Keith Madigan, John Bates, Colin O’Mahoney, Brian Gentles, Marc Ahearn, Noel Walsh, Aaron Arrigan (0-2), Darragh Kearney (1-0), Graham Quinn (0-1), Jason Hahessy (0-1), Johnny Cagney (Capt) (1-1, 1-0 pen), Chris O’Gorman, Dwaine Burns, Karl Kearney, Conor Arrigan (1-1).
Subs: Ciaran Barrett for Burns; Eoin Fallon (0-1F) for K. Kearney.
Rockwell Rovers: Michael O’Donnell, Liam Lonergan, Brian Riordan, Robbie O’Donnell, Pat Hally, Liam Fahey, Stephen Quirke, Paul Hally, Alan Moloney (Capt) (0-7, 0-4F), Stephen Boland, Gavin Ryan (1-3, 0-2F), Aidan Barry, T.J. Ryan (0-1), Michael King, Eoin Shine.
Subs: Kevin Hally for R. O’Donnell (injured); John Heaney for King (black card, 39 min).
Referee: Derek. O’Mahoney (Ardfinnan).