Carrick Swans recorded a significant victory in the County Senior Hurling Championship over Moycarkey/Borris at New Inn on Saturday last.
The one-point victory after a storming finish is a huge bonus for the South Tipp side. It immediately removes any possibility of relegation to intermediate grade; it sees them promoted to Roinn 1 status for next year; and as table toppers of their division it also automatically secures them a place in the preliminary quarter-finals of this year’s championship.
On the other hand, this defeat for Moycarkey/Borris in their very first game of the campaign means that they cannot now progress in the county championship (bar an unlikely passage through the very strong Mid Division) and they must now face Moneygall to try and avoid a dreaded relegation play-off to protect their senior status.
The Mid Tipperary side will be seriously licking their wounds after this defeat because for most of the game they looked likely winners. Indeed with six minutes of normal time remaining they led by five points but were caught by a storming finishfrom the Swans who outscored them 1-5 to 0-2 in the dying minutes.
Two pointed frees apiece from Kieran Morris (Moycarkey) and Danny O’Hanlon (Swans) had the sides level after seven minutes before the Carrick side went ahead with further points from Aaron Dunne and Kevin Lanigan.
An impressive five-minute spell for Moycarkey midway through the first half saw them come from two down to lead by four, helped in the main by a well-worked goal from midfielder Conor Hayes; Conor Hayes, Pat Ralph and another Kieran Morris free adding to the Mid men’s tally in this period.
A fine point from the wing by Eric O’Halloran followed - the Swans first score in 10 minutes - but Kieran Morris replied with two points in quick succession and Moycarkey’s lead was pushed out to five points at 1-7 to 0-5 .
A pair of Danny O’Hanlon frees and a well-taken point from captain Stephen Hennessy edged the South team nearer at the break; Patrick Carey and another Kieran Morris free leaving the interval scoreline at 1-9 to 0-8 in favour of Moycarkey.
Carrick Swans, with the aid of a strong breeze, started the second half positively, Eric O’Halloran (2) and Danny O’Hanlon on target with inspiring long range points.
Then corner-forward Aaron Dunne added a brace of his own inside a minute to tie up the scores up at 1-10 to 0-13 after 37 minutes.
However, Moycarkey, helped by some indisciplined defending by Swans, regained their five points advantage over the next 20 minutes, Kieran Morris with five frees and a Niall Heffernan point, to just a single pointed free in reply from Danny O’Hanlon.
Most in attendance would have seen the pre-match favourites as certainties to prevail at this juncture, all except the Swans obviously. Stephen Hennessy with a point from 65 metres started the rally, added to by a free and a ‘65’ from the ever accurate Danny O’Hanlon; Moycarkey’s only answer being a point from substitute Anthony Healy.
The game-changer came in the final minute of normal time. From a ruck 25 metres in front of the Moycarkey/ Borris goal Carrick Swans’ centre-forward Kevin Lanigan emerged with the sliothar and his perfect pass sent substitute James Waters through; he needed no second chance, shortening his grip to bury the ball and tie up the game at 1-17 apiece entering added time.
There was still time for more though, with Kieran Morris and Danny O’Hanlon swopping frees as this crunch game balanced on a knife-edge. But in one final twist, Aaron Dunne took the responsibility on his shoulders and from almost the half-way line sealed a superb win for the Swans right at the death.
Following last weekend’s win over Moneygall, this was another big boost for the Swans club and their never-say-die spirit. Besides those mentioned already, Darren Fahey, Alan O’Sullivan, Dale O’Hanlon and Gavin O’Halloran stood out.
Moycarkey/Borris were gutted at the final whistle realising the great opportunity that had slipped by at the end. The likes of Kevin Moran, Pat Molloy, Pat Ralph and Patrick Carey had their moments. Kieran Morris’ 13 points, 11 from frees, indicative of a scoring problem. they need to sort out soon.
Carrick Swans: Tom Kennedy, Gerry Walsh, Alan O’Sullivan, Darren Fahey, Colin Loughman, Colin Waters, Dale O’Hanlon, Gavin O'Halloran, Eric O’Halloran (0-3), Danny O’Hanlon (0-9, 0-7 frees, 0-1 ‘65’), Kevin Lanigan (0-1), Dean Waters, Lee Wall, Stephen Hennessy (Capt, 0-2), Aaron Dunne (0-4).
Subs: Damian McCarthy for Colin Waters (inj); Darren Murphy for Fahey (inj); James Waters (1-0) for Wall.
Moycarkey/Borris: Bill McCormack, Paul Dempsey, James Power (Capt), Kevin Moran, Pat Molloy, James Bourke, Chris McCullagh, Rory Regan, Gerry McGuire, Pat Carey (0-1), Conor Hayes (1-1), Niall Heffernan (0-1), Pat Ralph (0-1), Kieran Morris (0-13, 0-11 frees), Tom Hayes.
Subs: Rory Ryan for Regan; Daniel Kirby for Dempsey; Anthony Healy (0-1)for Carey.
Referee: Phil Ryan (Knockavilla/D Kickhams).
By Jeddy Walsh