Cian Tucker’s junior B squad recorded their first win of the year following an entertaining clash with Toomevara at St Michael’s Park, Toomevara on Sunday afternoon. And, it was no more than the Blues deserved following some tremendous performances in their previous league clashes when a series of brave efforts came up just short.
Watch Centre North Tipperary
Junior B Hurling League
Nenagh Éire Óg 0-12 Toomevara 0-11
Nenagh started with serious intent when Thomas O’Brien raced through the heart of the Toomevara defence to set up Michael Hallinan for a great goal chance, but Toomevara veteran Tony Delaney, playing in the unusual position of goalkeeper, was equal to the effort. This seemed to inspire the home side who scored their opening point straight away, but this was cancelled by a fine Brian Tuite effort.
Paul Lillis, with a seventy-yard effort, cancelled out a second Toomevara point before he unorthodoxly scooped the ball over the bar following a long-range Thomas O’Brien free. Lillis followed this up with two pointed frees before the home side went on a three-point scoring spree.
Noelie Tomlinson, playing his first game for the club since his transfer home from Knock, set up Niall McKeogh and Liam Maher for two excellent points. Toomevara added a late score of their own to leave the half-time score reading Nenagh Éire Óg 0-7 Toomevara 0-6.
At the break Niall Madden replaced the impressive Paul Lillis, who it later transpired, had broken a bone in his foot which will unfortunately see him out of action for a number of weeks.
Tomlinson opened the second half scoring after collecting a rebound following a fine Tony Delaney save and splitting the posts. Niall Madden pointed a ’65 in the 34th minute before Toomevara scored three points on the trot, the third of which was the result of a superb save from Dáire Gleeson which deflected over the bar.
Brian Tuite scored his second point of the game and shortly after Gleeson made another stunning stop, a full-length save which eventually Toomevara converted into a point. If Gleeson was making saves at one end, Tony Delaney was proving equally as brilliant at the other and in the 55th minute he stopped a Gavin O’Connor bullet.
In the 59th minute Gleeson was again called into action with a great stop and with the game in the balance up stepped Gavin O’Connor to give Éire Óg a slender one-point advantage.
Niall Madden doubled the lead with a ’65 and it looked as if victory was Nenagh’s. However, Toomevara poured forward in search of a winning goal and they almost got it when a Toome forward broke through the Éire Óg defence and hit the sliothar towards the roof of the net, but once again Gleeson was equal to the task and made a match-winning save.
Toomevara did add a late point with the final puck of the game, but Nenagh held out to win by the slenderest of margins.
The lads deserve great credit for this win. Minutes before the game Kieran Duffy had to cry off due to illness and taking to the field with a panel of sixteen (the substitute was sub goalkeeper Brian Darcy) the Blues worked extremely hard throughout. Niall Madden had to summoned from the stand to replace Lillis at half-time. Not only that, but the discipline of the side was noteworthy. In the team’s previous game the Blues conceded twenty-one frees, but after the management drilled it into the players this free count improved dramatically and referee Ciarán Timmons was forced to blow his whistle only eleven times in the entire match to award free pucks to the home side.
This year’s Watch Centre North Tipperary Junior B Hurling League will be played on a two-group system with the top two teams in each progressing to the semi-finals. Nenagh Éire Óg have just one group game to play against Shannon Rovers. The Nenagh Éire Óg team are managed this year by Cian Tucker (manager), Mark Long, Paddy Flynn and John Paul King.
Nenagh Éire Óg: Dáire Gleeson, John Kelly, Lenny Ryan, Brian Duffy, Jack Sheedy, Jamie Gallagher, Gavin O’Connor (0-1), Brian Tuite (0-2), Thomas O’Brien, Paul O’Leary, Paul Lillis (0-4), Noelie Tomlinson (0-1), Niall McKeogh (0-1), Michael Hallinan, Liam Maher (0-1). Subs: Niall Madden (0-2) for Lillis.
Referee: Ciarán Timmons (Silvermines).
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