Danny O'Hanlon scores the crucial goal as Carrick Swans shock Killenaule in South Tipp Senior Hurling Final

Eamonn Wynne

Reporter:

Eamonn Wynne

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ewynne@nationalist.ie

Carrick Swans beat Killenaule

Eric O'Halloran (left), seen here in action against Ballingarry's Ger Fennelly, scored two points when Carrick Swans beat Killenaule in the Clonmel Oil South Tipp Senior Hurling Championship Final.

Carrick Swans 1-13 Killenaule 0-14  

Carrick Swans caused a major upset when they beat favourites Killenaule in the Clonmel Oil South Tipp Senior Hurling Championship Final played at a wet and windy Fethard on Saturday evening.

Killenaule were fancied to capture a title that they last held in 2015, but Swans had other ideas.

The Carrick team had spirit, heart and determination - and no little skill - in abundance, as they won their first divisional senior title in seven years.

It was a case of history repeating itself; Swan also beat Killenaule in Fethard in the 2010 final, the year of their last success. The proud Carrick club have now won this championship more times than any other club and they stand alone at the top of the honours list with 23 titles, two more than Killenaule.

As well as sorting out the bragging rights in the division for the next twelve months, this result has other implications - despite finishing bottom of their group in the County Championship, Carrick Swans no longer have to take part in the relegation play-off while Killenaule, last season's county semi-finalists, are now out of the county championship.  

It rained from start to finish and with the wind blowing down the pitch conditions were difficult. However the teams served up a closely-fought and entertaining game that was in the balance until the very end.

Extra time looked a possibility when Killenaule's Michael Doyle equalised five minutes from the finish (0-12 each), as the tension rose a few notches, but the Swans came with a late surge that got them across the line.

They played against the elements in the second half but regained the lead when Aaron Dunne collected Danny O'Hanlon's pass and capped a lively display with a mighty score.

Three minutes of normal time remained when they grabbed the all-important score. Swan worked the ball up the left wing through Damien McCarthy and the move was continued by Aaron Walsh, who sent a peach of a pass across the face of the goal that man of the match Danny O'Hanlon batted to the net.

John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer converted a free from his own '65 to keep Killenaule's slim hopes alive (1-13 to 0-13), and when Dean O'Connor was fouled they had a chance to level the scores from a close-range free in additional time. However this time 'Bubbles' saw his fiercely-struck free blocked by a wall of eight Carrick players on the goal line.

Michael Doyle put the rebound over the bar but time ran out on Killenaule as Swans held out for a deserved win.

Swans had their work cut out at half-time. They led by 0-7 to 0-4 but having had the wind and rain behind them would have preferred to have taken a greater advantage into the second period.

They also hit eight wides in that opening half and could have been further ahead at the midway stage but Killenaule goalie Jonathan Gleeson blocked Kevin Lanigan's low shot on the stroke of half time.

However Swans passed that stern test of their mettle in the second half. The experienced Danny O'Hanlon and Kevin Lanigan showed great leadership while substitute Aaron Walsh gave them a shot in the arm when he was introduced five minutes into the second half.

Stephen Hahessy, Darren Fahey, Colin Loughman and Gerry Walsh were superb in a Swans defence in which Colin Waters and Dale O'Hanlon played strong supporting roles. Eric O'Halloran and Gavin O'Halloran were others who soldiered tirelessly for the cause.

Swans have become the first team other than Mullinahone or Killenaule to win this title since they last lifted the cup in 2010, and this victory marks a quite remarkable turnaround in their fortunes in a short space of time.

They suffered heavy defeats when losing all three group games in the County Championship, propping up their group with a scoring difference of minus 83.

However they regrouped impressively by winning three games on the bounce in the South Championship, beating Mullinahone and Ballingarry before getting the better of Killenaule in the final. They'll now hope that this success will provide the platform for even better times in the future.  

Killenaule will be disappointed that they never managed to push on in the second half when the stage seemed set for them to take the game by the scruff of the neck. They scored just one point from play in the first half, although their performance improved on the turnover.

Kieran Bergin was probably their most consistent performer over the hour. Joe O'Dwyer, Killian O'Dwyer and Paddy Codd were prominent in defence while 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer drifted in and out of the game and Declan Fanning struggled to influence proceedings.

Paidi Feehan really came into the game in the second half while Michael Doyle and Eoin O'Connell also tried hard.   

Carrick Swans - Kieran Lonergan, Gerry Walsh, Stephen Hahessy, Darren Fahey, Colin Loughman, Colin Waters (0-1 free), Dale O'Hanlon, Billy Murphy, Eric O'Halloran (0-2), Danny O'Hanlon (1-6, 0-6 frees), Kevin Lanigan (captain 0-2), Gavin O'Halloran (0-1), Damien McCarthy, Dean Waters and Aaron Dunne (0-1).

Substitutes - Aaron Walsh for Billy Murphy (35 minutes) and Luke O'Dwyer for Gavin O'Halloran (58 minutes).

Killenaule - Jonathan Gleeson (joint captain), Stephen Browne, Paddy Codd, Killian O'Dwyer, Jimmy Feehan, Joe O'Dwyer (joint captain), Kieran Bergin (0-1), Eoin O'Connell (0-1), Michael Doyle (0-2), John O'Dwyer (0-7, 6 frees), Paidi Feeehan (0-1), Declan Fanning, Eoin Barry, Dean O'Connor (0-1) and Tony Doyle.

Substitutes - Niall O'Dwyer (0-1) for Tony Doyle (43 minutes) and Daniel Guinan for Eoin Barry (45 minutes).

Referee - Paddy Ivors (Ballingarry).