Killenaule make history in winning their first-ever South senior football title

Clonmel Oil South Tipperary Senior Football Championship Final

Clonmel Oil South Tipperary Senior Football Championship Final

KILLENAULE 0-17

MOYLE ROVERS 1-12

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 two points win over Moyle Rovers.

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 Killenaule meant business and a blistering start saw them lead 0-6 to 0-1 after just 12 minutes of play. The early lead, never once relinquished, gave them the confidence to drive at their opponents and they were always in control, and probably deserved to win by more in the end.

A pointed free from Tony Doyle was followed by an excellent point from ‘Man of the Match’ John Bubbles O’Dwyer and another from full-forward Michael Doyle, all within six minutes as Killenaule asserted authority. Moyle Rovers’ only score in the first quarter of an hour’s play was a fine long range point from Jack Lonergan.

Ominously for the Powerstown/Lisronagh side, a physically stronger Killenaule were over-running them down the middle and stringing together passages of play which led to further points from Tony Doyle (2) and Michael Doyle with a fisted effort when coming in from the left.

Moyle Rovers responded with a 16th minute point from Declan Browne, his first of six over the hour. A crucial moment followed when Rovers put together a good movement leaving Liam Boland with a goal-scoring chance but Matthew O’Donnell got down brilliantly to deny and the resultant 45 went harmlessly wide.

Daniel Guinan, a livewire throughout, settled Killenaule again with a point, following great work from Declan Fanning. Two quick points followed from Rovers - a Declan Browne free and a battling point from Peter Acheson but Killenaule then had a brace of their own - a free by Tony Doyle and a point by captain Gerry Kennedy. Rovers were making little or no inroads in to the Killenaule lead.

In the closing minutes of the first half Declan Browne added two points, one a free, but these came either side of one of the best points of the evening for Killenaule. In a passing movement involving Tony Doyle, Cathal Bergin, Michael Doyle and Paddy Codd the ball was worked back to Michael Doyle who kicked a fine score. Killenaule were bossing it all over the field and at the break led 10-6.

Rovers reshuffled at the break bringing on Darren Nolan and county minor Ross Mulcahy who contributed well for the remainder of the game in his first South senior final.

Realising the gravity of the situation Rovers responded as expected and two points within three minutes of the restart from Mulvihill and Carey had the lead back to two.

A serious leg injury to Killenaule corner-back Declan Ryan was to hold up play for 12 minutes and great credit is due to on-field ambulance and medical staff for their speedy expertise in taking care of 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.

Goalkeeper Matthew O’Donnell, a la Dublin’s Stephen Cluxton, sent a 45 high and straight between the sticks and two excellent white flags from Bubbles O’Dwyer and Michael Doyle roused the large Killenaule contingent to realise that perhaps this would be their day.

Behind by five points half-way through the second period Sean Carey and Peter Acheson pointed for Rovers in quick succession with young Ross Mulcahy involved in the lead-up to both scores.

Bubbles O’Dwyer kicked another fine point for Killenaule after 19 minutes following good work by Daniel Guinan. Next Declan Browne put over another free to narrow the gap.

Rovers were trying everything to hang in and introduced Paudie Foley and Paul Johnson in an effort to remedy matters but it was having little effect.

In the 22nd minute Bubbles O’Dwyer pointed again from long range and from the kick-out Gerry Kennedy won possession passed to Michael Doyle and with ease he pointed again. Killenaule were five to the good and almost there. Or were they?

In the 27th minute Declan Browne added another free. From the kick-out Martin Dunne, fielded excellently as he did throughout, and started a move culminating in substitute Shane Foley, just on the field, goaling. In the vital next passage of play Rovers lost possession cheaply while coming out of defence, the ball was worked to Bubbles O’Dwyer and his fifth point of the game was the final score of the evening.

Killenaule were champions of the South for the first time 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 the Bergins 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.

Moyle 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 in defence while 
Declan Browne, Martin Dunne, Peter Acheson, Jack Lonergan and Ross Mulcahy never stopped working.

Killenaule: Matthew O’Donnell (0-1, 45), Declan Ryan, Joe Mouse O’Dwyer, Michael Fitzgerald, Niall Bergin, Kieran Bergin, Jimmy Feehan, Paddy Codd, Cathal Bergin, Daniel Guinan (0-1), Tony Doyle (0-4, 0-2F), John Bubbles O’Dwyer (0-5), Gerry Kennedy ((0-1), Michael Doyle (0-5), Declan Fanning.

Subs: Greg Henry for Declan Ryan (injured), Eddie O’Brien for Gerry Kennedy.

Moyle Rovers: Ian Browne, Alan Campbell, Richard Power, Aaron Kelly, Ronan Desmond, Peter Acheson (0-2), Danny Lyne, Martin Dunne, Niall Fitzgerald, Liam Boland, Sean Keating, Sean Carey (0-2), Declan Browne (0-6, 0-4F), Jack Lonergan (0-1), Brian Mulvihill (0-1).

Subs: Darren Nolan for Niall Fitzgerald, Ross Mulcahy for Ronan Desmond (both half-time), Paudie Foley for Liam Boland, Paul Johnson for Brian Mulvihill, Shane Foley (1-0) for Sean Keating.

Referee: Martin Doyle 
(Ardfinnan).