Danny Owens whose late point against Killenaule sees Moyle Rovers into a South SFC Final.
CLONMEL OIL SOUTH TIPP SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI-FINAL (Replay)
MOYLE ROVERS 0-8 :: 0-7 KILLENAULE
A one-point victory for Moyle Rovers over Killenaule in the replay of the South Tipperary Senior Football Championship semi-final at Fethard on Sunday evening last, sets up the prospect of an exciting divisional final with neighbours and arch-rivals Clonmel Commercials.
As can so often happen with replays, this encounter never matched the excitement levels of the first extra-time game under floodlights in Ballyporeen, even allowing for the difficult conditions of strong wind and showers. But it was Rovers (who got out of jail twice the first night) who probably just about deserved their victory in the end.
Thirteen times the sides were level in the first game, and again five during the opening half of the replay they went point for point, before going in at the half-time interval at 0-5 apiece.
In a dour opening period where defences dominated, Killenaule definitely had the more possession but were unable to break down a stubborn opposition defence, relying almost entirely throughout on free-taking for their scores. The play from both sides was slow and lateral and unattractive with players forced to shoot from long range.
A 5th minute free from John O’Dwyer for Killenaule opened the scoring but was immediately cancelled out by a well-finished point by Craig Condon after a long delivery from Rovers' midfielder Martin Dunne.
A big talking point arrived as early as the eighth minute with the black-carding of Rovers’ centre-forward Diarmuid Foley, whom referee Derek O’Mahoney adjudged had interfered with a run by ‘Bubbles.’ The resultant free by Killenaule keeper Matthew O’Donnell edged his side ahead but within a minute ‘Chuckie’ Condon kicked his second point, a fine left legged effort, to restore parity at 0-2 each on 10 minutes.
Killenaule then threaded an excellent movement through the heart of the Rovers defence involving Kieran Bergin (twice) and Eoin Barry but the latter’s shot at goal was well saved by Ciaran Kenrick and even a rebounded second chance for Barry was sent wide.
A minute later, Rovers had their best goal chance of the game when a pass from Shane Foley put Craig Condon one-on-one with Matthew O’Donnell but the goalkeeper did his job superbly to deny ‘Chuckie’ a dream start.
There followed the second black card of the first half when Tipperary defender Jimmy Feehan was sent to the line for a challenge on Shane Foley. With scoring, goal efforts and black cards, there was no separating these sides it seemed.
A ‘Bubbles’ free on 23 minutes after Kieran Bergin was impeded put ‘The Robins’ ahead for the third time – Bergin definitely the star man of the opening half. But within a minute Rovers strung together an excellent move involving Luke Boland, Danny Owens, Ross Mulcahy and Riain Clancy before Liam Boland kicked the third equaliser of the game.
After Killenaule’s Dean O’Connor was then caught in possession on his own 45 metre line, Aidan McGrath made a 40 metre run through the middle to convert a fine individual point and put his side ahead for the first time in the 26th minute. But after Kieran Bergin was once again fouled by the Rovers’ rearguard Tony Doyle popped over the 30 metre free to tie it up for the fourth time.
Another long delivery from Rovers' Martin Dunne was superbly stubbed up on the run and converted by Liam Boland to edge the Monroe side ahead two minutes before the break but, almost predictably at this juncture, Killenaule strung together a nice flowing passage of play involving Bergin, Tony Doyle and Eoin Barry before ‘Bubbles’ – with his side’s first and only point from play over the hour – sent the sides in at the break all square at 0-5 each.
If the first half was disappointing, the second descended into an almost Ulster Championship like game played for the most part in a packed space between the two 45s with chances few and far between, and most of those that were kicked went badly wide.
We waited 12 minutes into the second period for the first score, a sweetly struck free from Liam Boland from 42 metres after Sean Carey had been fouled. Amazingly just a few minutes earlier Boland had decided to go short with an easier free almost in front of goal (which came to nothing); in an air-tight game such as this it seemed a strange option.
And we waited a further 12 minutes for only the second point of the half. Ross Mulcahy, who led his side like a captain should all evening, began a move and linked up with Craig Condon whose excellent pass put Sean Carey in the clear and he duly delivered to put Rovers 0-7 to 0-5 ahead with six minutes remaining.
But as they did the first night, Killenaule refused to go away, and pressure from a swarming attack produced two late converted frees, both from Kieran Bergin out left to tie it all up once more at 0-7 each with two minutes remaining. Again extra-time seemed very likely.
But Moyle Rovers came downfield once again and with the clock on 61 minutes they put together a patient hand-passing movement before David McGrath’s final pass sent Danny Owens through to fist over what would prove to be the winner.
Killenaule did get one last chance to equalise, from a ‘Bubbles’ free from 35 metres into a strong wind. However, between the goalkeeper’s hands and the crossbar the ball somehow bounced back out and Rovers cleared their lines to the welcome sound of the referee’s final blast.
For Rovers, who will know full well that they will have to improve immensely to challenge Commercials in the decider, the likes of Ross Mulcahy, Alan Campbell, Danny Owens, Martin Dunne, brothers David and Aidan McGrath, Liam Boland and Craig Condon did best. Ciaran Kenrick pulled off a vital save and was unlucky to see a first half 45 come back of the upright.
Killenaule, not on a good run of late having lost the South Senior Hurling final the previous Sunday, were best served by Kieran Bergin who put in a 'man of the match' performance. Others to do well were Matthew O’Donnell in goal, Jimmy Feehan (up to the time of his black card), Liam Meagher, Paddy Codd, John O’Dwyer and Tony Doyle. They will justifiably feel they should have won it the first day and will be bitterly disappointed to lose such a close replay; but one point from play over the hour wasn’t good enough the second time around.
Moyle Rovers: Ciaran Kenrick, Danny Lyne, Alan Campbell, Richard Power, David McGrath, Luke Boland, Ross Mulcahy, Danny Owens (0-1), Martin Dunne, Aidan McGrath (0-1), Diarmuid Foley, Sean Carey (0-1), Liam Boland (0-3, 0-2F), Shane Foley, Craig Condon (0-2).
Subs: Rian Clancy for D. Foley (8 minutes); Dominic Walsh for Clancy (46); Stephen Quirke for S. Foley (49); Darragh Dwyer for Luke Boland (inj, 54); Dara Ryan for Carey (59).
Killenaule: Matthew O’Donnell (0-1F), Stephen Browne, Jimmy Feehan, Michael Fitzgerald, Cillian O’Dwyer, Paddy Codd, Liam Meagher, Paudie Feehan, Kieran Bergin (0-2F), John O’Dwyer (0-3, 0-2F), Tony Doyle (0-1F), Dean O’Connor, Eoin Barry, Michael Doyle, Eoin O’Connell.
Subs: Joe O’Dwyer for J. Feehan (19 minutes); Daniel Guinan for Fitzgerald (40); Gearoid O’Rourke for O’Connell (44); Tom Stakelum for Barry (56).
Referee: Derek O’Mahoney (Ardfinnan).