The Blues fought back from five points down to earn a draw with league champions Kildangan at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh on Tuesday evening.
Watch Centre North Tipperary
Junior A Hurling Championship
Nenagh Éire Óg 1-16 Kildangan 3-10
Éire Óg took the lead in the second minute thanks a Darragh Walsh free, but Kildangan then proceeded to hit 1-2 without reply to earn a significant advantage as early as the fourth minute.
The Blues rallied with points from Darragh Walsh, David Hackett and John Cahalan to leave just a point in it (0-4 to 1-2) by the 14th minute.
Kildangan then struck for their second goal and following nine scoreless minutes added a point from a placed ball to lead 2-3 to 0-4 by the 23rd.
A David Hackett free settled Éire Óg somewhat before points from Shane Maher and John Cahalan reduced the margin to two points. To their credit Kildangan finished out the half in positive fashion with two efforts helping the visitors into a 2-5 to 0-7 interval lead.
Now playing with the wind there was every hope of the Blues mounting a second half comeback. Indeed, points from Niall Madden (free) and Darragh Walsh immediately after the break cut the deficit to two points before Kildangan notched their third goal of the evening in the 34th minute – 0-9 to 3-5.
The sides traded points thereafter before Shane Maher fired home a left-handed shot in the 39th minute to close the gap to a manageable two (1-10 to 3-6).
A Gary Howard point reduced the margin even further, but Kildangan hit back with two terrific scores and led 3-8 to 1-11 with ten to play.
Three successive frees (one from David Hackett and two long-range efforts from Niall Madden) tied the game on the hour mark (1-14 to 3-8) as Éire Óg poured forward.
Kildangan didn’t panic, however, and edged back into the lead in the first minute of injury time. A David Hackett free levelled matters once more before a Kildangan point in the 62nd minute looked to have sealed the issue. Éire Óg, however, worked the ball forward to where David Hickey was fouled and David Hackett tied the game from close range in the 64th minute.
Kildangan, the north Tipperary junior A league champions, now lead group two on five points having played three games. Éire Óg are second on three points from two games, Burgess third on a single point from two games, Roscrea fourth on one point having played two games and Silvermines are on zero points at the foot of the table (one game). The top three teams in the group will progress to the knock-out stages of this year’s championship.
The junior A hurlers will return to action on Saturday, July 19th when the lads take on Roscrea in Moneygall at 7pm. Your support would be appreciated.
Nenagh Éire Óg: Kevin Flynn, Michael Collins, John O’Donoghue, Adam Grattan, Niall Madden (0-3, 0-3 frees), Donnacha Heffernan, Eoin Fitzgibbon, Darragh Walsh (0-3, 0-1 frees), Alan Kelly (0-1), John Cahalan (0-2), Shane Maher (1-1), David Hackett (0-5, 0-4 frees), Philip Hickey, Niall Cahill, David Hickey. Subs: (9th) Gary Howard (0-1) for Niall Cahill.
Referee: Michael Murphy (Toomevara).
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