The Blues booked their place in the last sixteen of the county senior hurling championship as Roinn I group one winners, but only after a ferocious battle with Clonoulty-Rossmore at The Ragg on Sunday evening. Éire Óg led by six points at one stage, but Michael Ferncombe’s side fought back brilliantly to force the issue. Liam Heffernan’s team clung on well, however, in a dramatic finish to register a vital one-point win.
Clean Ireland Recycling County
Senior Hurling Championship
Nenagh Éire Óg 1-18 Clonoulty-Rossmore 2-14
Playing against the breeze in the opening half Éire Óg raced into a 1-3 to 0-1 lead inside the opening seven minutes. A Conor Hammersley free got Clonoulty-Rossmore off the mark, but the Blues hit back with points from Killian Gleeson, Tommy Heffernan and Donnacha Quinn (free). Éire Óg’s vital goal materialised in the sixth minute when Paddy Murphy set up Andrew Coffey for a left-handed finish. A Michael McNamara save denied Clonoulty a goal in the ninth, but Paudie White converted the resultant ’65 to cut the deficit to four.
Killian Gleeson and Seán Maher then traded efforts from play before a Donnacha Quinn free helped Éire Óg into a 1-5 to 0-3 lead by the 15th minute. John O’Neill notched his first point in the 15th, but the Blues hit back thanks to efforts from Tommy Heffernan and Andrew Coffey. Conor Hammersley (free) responded for Clonoulty before John Brenna blocked a Fiachra O’Keeffe goal chance with nineteen minutes played.
A Donnacha Quinn free then forced Éire Óg six clear (1-8 to 0-5), but Clonoulty-Rossmore responded in great style with points from John O’Keeffe, John O’Neill and Conor Hammersley reducing the Nenagh lead to three by the 24th minute. The men from the west might have found themselves back on terms, but John O’Neill’s snap shot in the 23rd minute flew narrowly wide.
Éire Óg finished the half in positive fashion with points from Donnacha Quinn (free) and Pearse Morris helping the injury-hit side into a 1-10 to 0-8 interval lead.
Éire Óg imposed themselves on the contest immediately after the break with points from Andrew Coffey and Tommy Heffernan helping the Blues into a 1-12 to 0-9 lead by the 34th minute. John O’Neill hit back for Clonoulty-Rossmore while ‘keeper Declan O’Dwyer pulled off a terrific save to deny the raiding Philip Hickey in the 33rd minute.
There is real pride in this Clonoulty-Rossmore team, however, and Michael Ferncombe’s men responded to the challenge posed to them in rousing fashion. Indeed, two Thomas Butler goals in the 38th and 41st minutes dragged Clonoulty back into this contest with Andrew Coffey responding for Éire Óg – with nineteen minutes to play there was just a point between the sides (1-13 to 2-9).
Éire Óg hit back with efforts from Tommy Heffernan and Paddy Murphy before Fiachra O’Keeffe asked Michael McNamara to make a neat save at his near post in the 44th minute. Conor Hammersley converted the resultant ’65 and when Fiachra O’Keeffe added to his side’s tally there was just a point in it (1-15 to 2-11).
Michael Heffernan and John O’Neill traded points before a Donnacha Quinn effort from play left two in it. Éire Óg almost pounced for a game-clinching goal in the 52nd minute when Pearse Morris gathered a rebound from an Andrew Coffey effort at a point. To be fair to Declan O’Dwyer he made a stunning reaction save to deflect Morris’ effort from point-blank range over the bar.
Éire Óg now led by three, but there was plenty of fight left in Clonoulty-Rossmore and two late points from the stick of John O’Neill set us up for a grandstand finalé. Both sides enjoyed late opportunities to add to their tallies, but Éire Óg clung on for a vital one-point win.
In group one of Roinn I Templederry Kenyons beat Ballina 3-15 to 1-12 on Sunday afternoon. Therefore three teams finished on four points in the group with score difference deciding the final placings – first: Nenagh Éire Óg (+24), second: Clonoulty-Rossmore (+21) and third Templederry Kenyons (+10).
Elsewhere in Roinn I Thurles Sarsfields and Kilruane MacDonagh’s both won their respective groups while runners-up Kildangan and Drom & Inch have also qualified for the last sixteen of the Clean Ireland Recycling County Senior Hurling Championship. Group three of Roinn I will be decided when Lorrha and Killenaule play their postponed contest; Éire Óg Annacarty have already qualified for the knock-out stages from group three. The Roinn II group winners, namely Mullinahone, Roscrea and Portroe, are qualified along with the winner of the postponed clash between JK Bracken’s and Carrick Swans.
The four divisional champions will also qualify for last sixteen – the teams involved could effect whether third-placed teams in Roinn I and second-placed teams in Roinn II progress to the knock-out stages of the Clean Ireland Recycling County Senior Hurling Championship.
The last sixteen of the county championship will not be played until the divisional championships conclude.
The first round of the Hibernian North Tipperary Senior Hurling Championship is scheduled to take place on Sunday, May 17th – Nenagh Éire Óg will face Toomevara in Cloughjordan at 7pm. The lads would appreciate your support for this crucial match.
Nenagh Éire Óg: Michael McNamara, Mark Flannery, John Brennan, Conor Ryan, Dáire Quinn, Hugh Maloney, Barry Heffernan, Billy Heffernan, Killian Gleeson (0-2), Pearse Morris (0-2), Tommy Heffernan (0-4), Andrew Coffey (1-3), Philip Hickey, Paddy Murphy (0-1), Donnacha Quinn (0-5, 0-4 frees). Subs: (44th) Michael Heffernan (0-1) for Philip Hickey, (51st) James Mackey for Billy Heffernan.
Clonoulty-Rossmore: Declan O’Dwyer, Enda Heffernan, James Heffernan, Kevin Horan, John Devane, Pádraig Heffernan, Ronan Heffernan, John O’Keeffe (0-1), Paudie White (0-1, 0-1 ‘65s), Tom Butler, Seán Maher (0-1), Thomas Butler (2-0), Fiachra O’Keeffe (0-1), John O’Neill (0-6), Conor Hammersley (0-4, 0-2 frees, 0-1 ‘65s). Subs: (HT) Jimmy Maher for Paudie White.
Referee: Paddy Ivors (Ballingarry).
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