Killenaule captain Larry Gleeson.
Killenaule’s bid for a first Tipperary Water county under 21 B football title came up just short at Templetuohy on St Patrick’s Day when they were left to rue missed chances as they lost by two points to Upperchurch-Drombane, 1-7 to 1-5.
This was a game Killenaule could have won but a below par first half performances which saw them five points adrift at the interval, proved their undoing.
They didn’t really get moving until the last quarter, by which time they were six points behind, and having cut the deficit to two, saw a goal bound Paudie Feehan effort hit the woodwork in injury time.
Had that gone in it would have crowned a marvellous recovery by the south champions but it would have been an injustice to Upperchurch-Drombane who made the running for most of the way and who themselves spurned a couple of good goal chances, one in each half.
The win confirms Upperchurch-Drombane’s status as a growing force in football and a most successful dual club. Winners of this title in 2015, they are reaping the benefits of the work being done at underage level
The title was decided in the first half at the end of which Upperchurch had a five points lead, 1-3 to 0-1. Both sides set out to build their attacks from the back and in this regard Upperchurch were that bit more successful.
Conor Fahey had a point for them in the second minute, cancelled by Liam Maher’s effort for Killenaule after five minutes. Two pointed frees by Loughlin Ryan pushed the Mid men clear after thirteen minutes, and they ought to have had a goal in the 22nd minute when the effort was hooked wide with the goal open.
The goal did come four minutes later when midfielder Eanna Ryan was on the end of a fine build-up to crash home a goal that left his side 1-3 to 0-1 to the good at the break.
Killenaule had plenty of possession but did not make the best use of it in the opening half. However, they resumed in much more purposeful mood, Points by Dean O Connor and Killian O Dwyer getting them within a goal of their rival by the 33rd minute.
Conor Fahey and Jack Butler points steadied the ship for Upperchurch and when Fahey extended their lead to six points(1-6 to 0-3) towards the end of the third quarter, they looked sure of victory.
With defeat staring them in the face, Killenaule produced their best football. In the 48th minute Killian O Dwyer, despite being under severe pressure shrugged off a couple of tackles to score a goal that revived his side’s fortunes. Two minutes later Jack Hayes added a point and now it was Upperchurch who found themselves on the back foot.
Upperchurch wasted a goal chance and missed a free when scores were needed to stem the Killenaule tide. Niall Grant did give them a breather in the 56th minute when he pointed but two minutes later Gus Browne pointed for Killenaule and in a hectic finish, with Killenaule on the offensive big time, Paudie Feehan struck the woodwork in the first minute of injury time.
That was as close as the South champions came and Upperchurch saw out the remaining time to record a great win for the club which is reaping the rewards for its commitment to football in recent years.
The victory was enthusiastically welcomed by supporters of The Church and it augurs well for their prospects at adult level to have such promising young talent coming on stream. Several of these lads have already worn the club jersey at senior level and while all round the squad put in a mighty effort, the contributions of such as Jack Butler, T J Butler, Eanna Ryan, Conor Fahey, Niall Grant Dean Carew and Loughlin Ryan were particularly significant.
One had to have sympathy for Killenaule whose brave effort for a first title came up just short. Their low-key first half display left them with that bit too much to do afterwards but they did have enough of the ball and chances to have lifted the trophy.
Like Upperchurch, the club has been making something of a name for itself in football spheres and the indications are that they have the talent coming to sustain that effort. Killian O Dwyer, Larry Gleeson, Paudie Feehan, Tom Stakelum, and Liam Maher worked very hard for them all through.
Upperchurch scorers – E Ryan(1-0), C Fahey(0-3), L Ryan(0-2), J Butler, N Grant(0-1 each);
Killenaule scorers- K O Dwyer(1-1), L Maher, J Hayes, D O Connor, G Browne(0-1 each);
Upperchurch-Drombane – Conor Ryan; Denis Ryan, Dean Carew, Jason Jordan; Michael Lavery, T J Butler, Patrick Clancy; Jack Butler, Eanna Ryan; Conor Fahey, Niall Grant, Keith Ryan; Patrick Bourke, Loughlin Ryan, Darragh Bourke; Subs- A J Shanahan for D Bourke;
Killenaule – Andrew O Connell; Eoin McCormack, Jack Gleeson, Larry Gleeson; Liam Maher, Killian O Dwyer, Ciaran O Dwyer; Tom Stakelum Eoin Barry; Dean O Connor, Jack Hayes, Darragh Fitzgerald; Conor Sinnot, Paudie Feehan, Eoin Shaw; Subs- Luke Ryan for Shaw; Gus Browne for Sinnott;
Ref- Paddy Russell, Lattin-Cullen