Sean Treacys claimed the Tipperary Credit Union West Intermediate Hurling Championship title for the second time in three years when they overcame the challenge of defending champions Cashel King Cormacs in Golden on Sunday 0-27 to 1-18.
The sun shone bright on what was probably the hottest day of the year so far and two teams didn’t disappoint either.
The sides had built up a rivalry over the last two campaigns with both knocking each other out as they went about defending their title.
Cashel King Cormacs ended Sean Treacys reign as champions in 2017 while twelve months previous it was Sean Treacys who ended Cashel’s reign as champion. Both teams have also been the form teams in the West over the last few years, Sean Treacys losing just once in the last three seasons while Cashel King Cormacs losing just once in the last four. Either sides defeat coming at the hands of the other.
In truth this was an absolute brilliant game of hurling with neither side willing to give an inch to the other. Up to the twenty eighth minute when Eoghan Connolly pointed from a free to put Cashel two points up there had never been more than a point between the sides at any stage.
Cashel looked like they could pull away when Michael Coleman’s goal put them four up after eight minutes of the second half and indeed with fifteen to go they lead by five but Sean Treacys refused to wilt. In extra-time though Sean Treacys powered on as the outscored their opponents 0-8 to 0-2.
Both sides went at it from the off. Eoghan Connolly continued his good form from frees and he got Cashel off the mark after two minutes. Jody Ryan caught a second ball out of the air in a row and roused the supporters with a huge point.
The winning Sean Treacys team with young supporters.
Eoghan Connolly and Patrick Carey swapped points from place balls to keep the ding dong nature of the game going. Cashel were creating more chances but had failed to take them or score from play up to this point. Darragh Kennedy edged Sean Treacys ahead for the first time before Simon Delaney got Cashel’s first point from play on the quarter mark.
Eoghan Connolly added two points from frees either side of a Jody Ryan point before Darragh Kennedy had the crowd on their feet as just like seven days previous he pointed from a sideline. Neither side was willing to give in with Connolly (free) and Coleman pointing for Cashel but being equally match by two points (play and free) from Paddy Carey. Ross Bonnar got off the mark with a point from play before another Connolly free had Cashel two points up. Cashel ahead at the break 0-9 to 0-7.
Connolly stretched Cashel’s lead on the resumption with another free. Sean Treacys had chances but it took four minutes before they registered their first score and then got two in thirty seconds, a point from a Paddy Carey free and Aaron Ryan getting his first of the game. A one point game would suddenly become four. Connolly’s sideline went to the far side of the field where it was collected by Ross Bonnar and squared back across the goal to Michael Colman who finished to the net.
Cashel looked like a team who could now push on as Sean Treacys were struggling a little to find scores. Jody Ryan did get in on goal but saw his shot tipped over by Owen Quirke in the Cashel goal. Dylan Fitzelle and an Eoghan Connolly sideline stretched Cashel’s lead out to five as the game headed towards the final quarter.
Sean Treacys needed a response and they got it. Points from Brian Carey, Aaron Ryan, Darragh Kennedy and Paddy Carey all from play in two minutes whittled down the lead to the bare minimum. Kennedy could have had a goal after being set up by Jody Ryan. Connolly pointed another free but Sean Treacys were in defiant mood. Paddy Carey levelled the game with two pointed frees either side of two Sean Treacy wides.
Carey edged Sean Treacys ahead with a 65 but Ross Bonnar pointed twice in a minute to see Cashel back in front. Carey and Connolly continued their form on frees before Carey levelled the game yet again in injury time. Both sides had chances in injury time but failed to take them so extra-time was required.
Sean Treacys started off extra-time like men possessed but struggled to make a mark. Paddy Carey uncharacteristically missed a free and Darragh Kennedy failed to connect properly for goal chance.
Cashel too had a goal chance but failed to take it. Jody Ryan though took the game on and pointed twice in four minutes and now had the Sean Treacys supporters behind them as they seem to puck every ball, make every hook, block and tackle. Aaron Ryan and Paddy Fahy swapped points before another Paddy Carey free saw Sean Treacys go three points ahead at half time of extra-time.
The first scores of the second half would be crucial and Paddy Carey pointed twice in the opening two minutes. Cashel were struggling for chances but Paddy Fahy did force a good save from Shane Stapleton in the Sean Treacys goal.
Oliver Carr pointed with three to go as the Sean Treacys supporters were now in full voice. Declan Hickey who unfortunately couldn’t start the final due to injury was eager to get on the field the more the game went on and he eventually got his run two minutes from time. Sean Treacys victorious on a final score-line of 0-27 to 1-18 winning a third ever Johnny Leahy Cup.
Afterwards Jody Ryan accepted the Johnny Leahy Cup from West Board Chairman John O’Shea and Tipperary Credit Union representative Catherine Hogan. In his acceptance speech Jody wish a speedy recovery to a Sean Treacys stalwart Michael Ryan Darby who was in hospital at this time.
Sean Treacys hit 0-15 from play, 0-10 from placed balls and 0-2 from sideline cuts out of a possible forty five chances. Cashel King Cormacs hit 1-8 from play, 0-8 from placed balls and 0-1 from a sideline cut out of a possible thirty one chances. They outscored Cashel 0-9 to 0-4 in the final quarter and 0-8 to 0-2 in extra-time.
Sean Treacys never panicked even when they were five down. They fought for every ball and their captain Jody Ryan lead by example throughout scoring five points from play. Paddy Carey was unerring from frees while he also added four points from play. Darragh Kennedy again added points from play and from sideline cuts.
Sean Treacys were very strong in defence lead by Sean Ryan who hurled up a storm at centre back. Sean Hickey was solid throughout at full back. While the two Feehan’s Matt and Michael along with Aaron Ryan got on a lot of ball and fought hard for everything.
While extra-time might not have worked for Cashel King Cormacs though they too played their part in what was great game of hurling. Eoghan Connolly again was superb from played balls.
Ross Bonnar got on more ball as the game went on and caused serious problems for the Sean Treacys defence. Michael Coleman altered between midfield and the full forward line but was always a threat. Cormac Ryan was strong at full back while Tony Hewitt was always reliable. Their defence was solid for the most as they limited Sean Treacys to scoring further out the field.
Hurling was the real winner here in what was one of the best games played in the division for a while. Johnny Leahy a Boherlahan man was a founding member of the West Board and the cup named after him saw a game fitting of his reputation in the game.
Sean Treacys: Shane Stapleton , Andy O Brien, Sean Hickey, Willie Mackey, Ollie Carr (0-1), Sean Ryan(R), Tom Hickey, Aaron Ryan (0-3), Pat Deegan, Matt Feehan, Jody Ryan(R) (0-5), Mike Feehan, Paddy Carey (0-13, (0-9f)), Brian Carey (0-1), Darragh Kennedy (0-4)
Subs Used: Stevie Carr, Declan Hickey
Cashel King Cormacs: Owen Quirke, Tony Hewitt, Cormac Ryan, Johan Darmody, Ciaran Quinn, Lee Burke, James Cummins, Michael O’Connell (1-2), Eoghan Connolly (0-10, (0-9f)), Brendan Kelly, Dylan Fitzelle (0-1), Simon Delaney (0-1), Murragh McDermott, Paddy Fahy (0-1), Ross Bonnar (0-3)
Sub Used: Conn Bonnar, Paddy Fahy, Pat Muldoon
Referee: John O’Grady (Rosegreen)