Knockavilla Donaskeigh Kickhams caused a shock when they defeated a highly fancied Clonoulty/Rossmore, 3-12 to 1-10, in the semi-final of the Tipperary Co-Op West Senior Hurling Championship in Annacarty on Sunday last.
The game was played in miserable conditions with rain teeming down for the whole of the first half. The wind seemed to be blowing across the field at an angle and would have been slightly favourable to Kickhams in the first half.
Clonoulty/Rossmore were the more dominant side in the opening exchanges, John O’Neill testing Kickhams goalkeeper Paddy Ryan with an early shot which was well saved by the keeper.
Clonoulty/R continued to create chances but they were failing to convert them. The first score of the half came on 10 minutes from a Dillon Quirke free which was almost immediately cancelled out by a David Butler free at the opposite end. Kickhams came more and more into the game and Johnny Ryan added two points either side of a Shane Morrissey goal as Kickhams led 1-3 to 0-1 on the quarter mark. John O’Neill settled Clonoulty/R with a well taken goal, rounding the goalkeeper and finishing to the net, to reduce Kickhams advantage.
Clonoulty/R continued to create chances but their failure to score them saw them continue to trail Kickhams. Two David Butler frees on the 21st and 23rd minutes extended Kickhams advantage. John O’Keeffe pointed almost immediately for Clonoulty/R.
Kickhams though were in determined mood and five minutes before half time Ger Browne scored his first and Kickhams second goal of the game much to the delight of the Kickhams supporters. Clonoulty/R finished the half with points from Fiachra O’Keeffe and Thomas Butler to leave four points between the sides at the interval, 2-5 to 1-4.
The second half was barely a minute old when David Butler added a point for Kickhams which was immediately cancelled out by Aidan White. David Butler responded with a point from a free. Every score was now vital at this stage, Dillon Quirke added three points from frees but two David Butler points kept the score board ticking over for Kickhams.
Clonoulty/R were continuing to create chances but their shooting was letting them down and were continually under pressure from a well marshalled Kickhams defence. Kickhams tackled tenaciously, covering every inch of grass on the field, Damien McGrath, Niall Carew and James Shanahan leading the charge from the back. with John Devane leading the charge from the opposite end.
With ten minutes to go, Clonoulty’s cause wasn’t helped when they were reduced to 14 men, the game still in the balance with Kickhams leading by five points 2-10 to 1-8.
David Butler quickly increased that advantage with a pointed free but John O’Neill kept Clonoulty in touch with another fine point. The game though was effectively sealed four minutes from time when Damien McGrath’s shot for a point just eluded the Clonoulty goalkeeper and ended up in the back of the net. Niall O’Brien quickly added a point.
Clonoulty’s misery was further compounded when they were reduced to 13 men as a result of two yellow cards. John O’Neill and David Butler swapped points just before the long whistle but it is Knockavilla Donaskeigh Kickhams who will advance to the West Senior Hurling Final against Eire Og Annacarty Donohill on a score line of 3-12 to 1-10.
Kickhams, who played very well as a team, were best served by Damien, McGrath, Eoin Carew, Johnny Ryan and David Butler. Best for Clonoulty/R were John Devane, Dillon Quirke and John O’Neill
Kickhams: Paddy Ryan, James Shanahan, Padraig Hayes, Damien McGrath(1-0), Eoin Carew, Derek Breen, Paul O’Dwyer, Ger Browne(1-0), Nigel Hayes, Shane Morrissey(1-0), Michael Shanahan, Niall O’Brien, Brendan Ryan, David Butler(0-9,(0-7f), Johnny Ryan(0-2)
Clonoulty/Rossmore: James Maher, Joey O’Keeffe, James Heffernan, Kevin Horan, Enda Heffernan, Padraig Heffernan, John Devane, John O’Keeffe(0-1), Ronan Heffernan, Sean O’Connor, Dillon Quirke(0-4f), Padraig White, Fiachra O’Keeffe(0-1), Thomas Butler(0-1), John O’Neill(1-2) Subs used: Sean Maher for Sean O’Connor, Aidan White(0-1) for Fiachra O’Keeffe.