Killenaule announced their arrival in this year’s South Tipperary senior hurling championship with victory over neighbours and table-toppers Ballingarry, 0-23 to 1-16, in Fethard last Saturday evening.
Killenaule got off to a flying start, racing into an early four point lead. Tony Doyle, the fulcrum for most of Killenaule’s attacking play, engineered a point for Damien McCormack and a brace for his brother Michael, before John O’Dwyer had a point from a free in the 7th minute. Ballingarry, having been slow to start got off the mark two minutes later with a point from a free by Seanie Cahill.
Killenaule’s movement in their forward line was causing the Ballingarry rearguard all sorts of problems early on, with the swift inter-change play between Michael Doyle and Damien McCormack resulting in another point for Doyle. Ballingarry gained a temporary foothold in the game in the tenth minute when Gerry Fitzgerald, playing in an uncustomary midfield role in the absence of the injured Donal Shelley, had a great point from distance.
Then Killenaule’s Kieran Bergin maintained his side’s advantage, with an equally good long range effort following some excellent fielding. Ballingarry’s Richard Butler was on hand soon after to close the gap, but Tony Doyle cemented Killenaule’s lead almost immediately, raising a white flag from the narrowest of angles. It was quite apparent that Killenaule’s half back line and particularly Declan Fanning were starting to dictate proceedings. Midfield on the other hand was more evenly contested, where Gerry Fitzgerald and Niall O’Dwyer exchanged points in the 11th and 12th minute respectively.
Philip Ivors who shared the free taking duties with Seanie Cahill had two in a row over the bar as the half wore on and the gap was now back to two points. Moments later John O’Dwyer further enhanced Killenaule’s lead with a great point after a quick release from Tony Doyle. Then Ballingarry had the ball in the back of the net to bring the game all square.
A long Seanie Cahill delivery appeared to be sailing over the crossbar, until Gerry Kennedy batted the ball back into play, only for the on-rushing Gerry Fitzgerald to flick home the rebound. Seanie Cahill then gave Ballingarry the lead for the first time in the game, pointing from a free after a foul on Michael Ivors. A Tony Doyle free then levelled matter, before John O’Dwyer and Philip Ivors traded frees as the first half drew to a close. Killenaule’s Daniel Guinan rounded off the opening period’s scoring with a fine individual point, giving Killenaule an interval lead of 12points to 1-8.
Ballingarry struck early from the restart. Ian Ivors pointing from well inside his own half to level matters once again. John O’Dwyer responded with a point to edge Killenaule ahead untill Seanie Cahill fired over another free to equalise for Ballingarry. Then Philip Ivors had a long range free over the bar, on 45mins, but it was to be the last time Ballingarry would lead in the game. The devastating form of John O’Dwyer added to the introduction of Pat ‘Festy’ Kerwick set Killenaule up for very strong final quarter, where they outscored Ballingarry by eight points to three. O’Dwyer and Kerwick combined to set each other up for a score apiece and the impressive Joe O’Dwyer chipped in with arguably the score of the game much to the delight of the Killenaule supporters. Seanie Cahill and Adrian Cleere responded for Ballingarry but successive scores from O’Dwyer(John), Damien McCormack and Daniel Guinan maintained Killenaule’s cushion with the game reaching its conclusion.
A Philip Ivors point from a free at the death was the games last action, and Killenaule took the spoils wih four points to spare.
Killenaule: Gerry Kennedy, Stephen Browne, Paddy Codd, Pat O’Connor, Kieran Bergin(0-1), Declan Fanning, Joe O’Dwyer(0-1), Niall O’Dwyer(0-1), Thomas Keaveny, Daniel Guinan(0-2), John O’Dwyer(0-10 5frees 165), Kevin Prendergast, Damien McCormack(0-2), Tony Doyle(0-2), Michael Doyle (0-3)
Subs: Pat Kerwick(0-1) for Thomas Keaveny(39mins), Thomas Keaveny for Kevin Prendergast (55mins)
Ballingarry: James logue, Danny Fitzgerald, Jack Fennelly, Ger Fennelly, Darragh Ivors, Ian Ivors(0-1), Dickie Norton, Seanie Cahill(0-4frees), Gerry Fitzgerald(1-2), Michael Ivors, Liam Cahill, Adrian Cleere(0-1), Richard Butler(0-1), Philip Ivors(0-7frees), Eamon Touhy
Sub; Tommy McGrath for Richard Butler(43mins),
Ref: Noel Cosgrove(Marlfield)