County Under 21 A football semi-final
Loughmore-Castleiney 2-13 Arravale Rovers 1-6
A disappointing Arravale Rovers came up short against holders Loughmore-Castleiney in the county under 21 A football semi-final at Dundrum last week when a ten points defeat was not a true reflection of the Tipp town boys’ efforts on the night.
Some poor defending and the failure of their attack to make a worthwhile impression cost Arravale this game against a Loughmore-Castleiney side that go forward to meet Ardfinnan in the final.
Loughmore goals on either side of the half-time whistle were decisive. Arravale were, if anything, doing a shade better than the holders for the opening twenty minutes at the end of which they shared four points, Bill O’Connell and Liam McGrath from a free registering for Loughmore, while James Hogan’s frees gave Arravale their points.
Liam Treacy and Liam McGrath were orchestrating the Loughmore game while Paddy Dalton was an inspiring figure for the Tipp town lads with Shane Leahy ably supporting in what had all the signs of being a closely fought encounter.
In six minutes the picture changed dramatically. Liam Treacy (2), John McGrath and Liam McGrath hit points for the Mid champions to drive them clear, and in the 30th minute, John McGrath set up his cousin, Liam, for a great Loughmore goal that put them 1-6 to 0-2 ahead at the break.
Indeed, they almost had another goal before the interval but Padraig Egan was foiled by a timely block as he was about to shoot with the goal at his mercy.
Arravale needed to get moving quickly on the resumption to make up the ground lost. However, Brian McGrath had a Loughmore point in the 34th minute and Padraig Egan saw an effort go agonisingly wide with goal written all over it as Loughmore turned the screw.
The vulnerability of the Arravale defence was again exposed in the 37th minute when Borrisoleigh’s Benny Harkin, playing his football with Loughmore under agreement, rifled home a second Loughmore goal, followed quickly by two Liam McGrath points, to effectively finish the game.
A 41st minute goal by Shane Leahy for Arravale Rovers after the Loughmore defence was tardy in dealing with a relatively easy delivery, sparked a brief Arravale rally. James Hogan and Donagh Leahy added points promptly, reducing the deficit to eight points by the 43rd minute.
John McGrath pointed for Loughmore but Hogan had a further brace for Arravale to leave them seven adrift with thirteen minutes to play. There was plenty of time if Arravale were good enough but it was Loughmore who put in the stronger finish, Bill O’Connell and Liam McGrath pointing to restore their nine points advantage. Sub Eamon McGrath had a goal chance for Loughmore but Rovers’ custodian Paul O’Connor saved well. In injury time Kevin O’Connell extended Loughmore’s advantage, and to add to Arravale woes they had Paddy Dalton red-carded just before the final whistle, an unfortunate and somewhat harsh conclusion to his night as he was the best player on the field.
So Loughmore-Castleiney move on to the final against a promising Ardfinnan side. The Mid men have a great record in this competition and will take beating. They are very energetic and capable and they have a wealth of talent. Even without the injured John Meagher, they looked a formidable side with the McGraths (four in the starting line-up and one sub), Liam Treacy, Bill O’Connell, Joe Nyland and Denis Brereton all giving a good account of themselves.
It all went wrong very quickly for what looked a good Arravale Rovers side spearheaded by three of the county under 21 team, and as can happen, when it starts to go wrong, it is not easy to stop the slide. Certainly, Arravale did not look ten points an inferior side, and on another day would surely have been much closer., but their attack found it difficult to make significant headway, and at the back, they always looked vulnerable.
Paddy Dalton was an inspiring figure for them with the Leahys, Shane and Donough, James Hogan, Emmet Fitzpatrick, Darragh Coughlan and goalie Paul O’Connor also doing their bit.
Loughmore-Castleiney – Richard Maher; Denis Brereton, Joseph Hennessy, Martin Meagher; Tommy Maher, Tomas McGrath, Lorcan Egan; John McGrath (0-2), Joe Nyland; Brian McGrath (0-1), Liam Treacy (0-2), Benny Harkin (1-0); Bill O’Connell (0-2), Liam McGrath (1-5, 0-4fs), Padraig Egan; Subs- Eamon McGrath for O’Connell; Kevin O’Connell (0-1) for Egan; Padraig Hennessy for Harkin;
Arravale Rovers – Paul O’Connor; Michael Ryan, Pearse Richardson, Ciaran Lowry; Shane Leahy (1-0), Donough Leahy (0-1f), Tony Byrnes; Darragh Coughlan, Emmett Fitzpatrick; Paddy Dalton, James Hogan (0-5, 3fs), James Kinane; Peter Mulhair, Diarmuid O’Donnell, Johnny Lowry; Subs- Kieran Leahy for Ryan; Eoghan Lonergan for Lowry; Ted Lowry for Mulhair;
Ref- Sean Lonergan.
Kilsheelan-Kilcash hit three late points to earn a draw
J K Brackens 1-7
Kilsheelan-Kilcash put in a storming finish, scoring three points in the last ten minutes for a deserved draw with JK Brackens in this county senior football championship tie at Boherlahan on Sunday evening.
A draw was probably the right outcome to an excellent contest between two well-matched sides, and the point earned from this encounter could yet prove very valuable when the round-robin section has run its course.
Kilsheelan will however rue a couple of good point chances lost in the early stages of the second half when they were well on top, which ultimately cost them outright victory. Managed by county under 21 supremo, David Power, they showed lots of promise and will surely benefit from this outing.
Kilsheelan looked the livelier combination for extended periods. They moved the ball well, supported each other intelligently, and were very energetic in their approach. JK Brackens however, were more positive in front of goal, and always posed a threat. Both sides will be hoping to build on this performance in the coming rounds.
Kilsheelan were fluid and inventive in their early movements and enjoyed more possession. Conor Davin Murphy’s point inside a minute reflected their confident mood but by the 14th minute, Brackens were ahead 1-2 to 0-1.
A Shane Scully free in the 11th minute levelled the game. Then Lorcan Egan surged out of defence to finish a neat move with a point, and in the 14th minute, when a Kilsheelan defender lost his footing, Darren Owens took full advantage to shoot a great goal.
The South lads took the setback in their stride, Michael McHugh (free) and Murphy shooting points by the 18th minute of what was a very competitive and well contested first half. Stephen Owens and Shane Scully (free) extended Brackens’ lead to four points but Murphy finished the half with his third point for Kilsheelan, leaving the Mid side ahead 1-4 to 0-4 at the break.
All to play for and it was Kilsheelan who resumed in determined fashion, points by Adrian Walsh, Eoghan Ryan and sub Paul Maher bringing them level after 40 minutes. At this stage they looked likely winners.
Templemore introduced Padraig Bourke and he obliged with an immediate point in the 44th minute and the lead again. Padraic Kealy and Darren Owens extended the advantage to three points with twelve minute to go, and now it was Brackens who were most likely to succeed..
Kilsheelan didn’t panic. McHugh kicked two points from frees and then three minutes from time, underage star Bill Maher popped up in attack to level the game with a sweet point.
JK Brackens will regard the outcome as a point lost, given that they were in such a strong position so close to the finish. However, they will take much encouragement from the outing, and with a full complement available, their new-look side could enjoy an extended championship run. Lorcan Egan, Alan O’Riordan, Darren Owens, Eoin Fitzpatrick and Shane Scully worked very hard throughout.
Kilsheelan will regret wasted chances, particularly at the start of the second half when they shot four wides in ten minutes. However, a tightening up in that department will make them serious competition for all-comers. Bill Maher, Tommy Ryan, Eoghain Ryan, Conor Davin Murphy and Patrick Larkin were their key men.
J K Brackens - Mervyn Bradish; Joe Shiels, Michael Lynagh, Eoin Fitzpatrick; Cathal Scully, Lorcan Egan (0-1), Stephen Owens (0-1); Michael Delahunty, Shane Scully (0-2); Dean McEnroe, Padraic Kealy (0-1), Alan O’Riordan; David Ryan, Darren Owens (1-1), Damian McBride; Subs- Padraig Bourke (0-1) for McEnroe; Tommy Kennedy for Kealy; Kevin O’Riordan for Bourke.
Kilsheelan-Kilcash – John Smyth; Shane Prendergast, Willie Ryan, David Corcoran; Bill Maher (0-1), Adrian Maguire, Tommy Ryan; Senan O’Halloran, Eoghan Ryan (0-1|); Patrick Larkin, Jimmy Ryan, Adrian Walsh (0-1); Ian Coughlan, Michael McHugh (0-3), Conor Davin Murphy (0-3) Subs- Paul Maher (0-1) for Coughlan; Eddie Sweeney for O’Halloran; Eoin Kehoe for J Ryan; Kevin Larkin for Corcoran.
Ref- Derek O’Mahoney, Ardfinnan