Despite winning with ten points to spare over Knockshegowna in Ballingarry on Sunday afternoon the Nenagh Éire Óg junior A team narrowly missed out on a place in the league semi-finals.
Watch Centre North Tipperary
Junior A Hurling League
Nenagh Éire Óg 1-22 Knockshegowna 1-12
Playing into the wind in the opening half in Ballingarry the Blues started well with points from John Cahalan and David Hackett (free) helping Éire Óg toward an early advantage. Knockshegowna responded with two placed balls to tie the game, but a Christopher Ryan goal in the eighth minute forced Éire Óg three clear (1-2 to 0-2).
Éire Óg were moving well now and added long-range strikes from Niall Madden and Alan Kelly before a David Hackett free in the tenth minute left six between them (1-5 to 0-2).
The home side hit back with four consecutive points (two frees) to reduce the deficit to two by the 15th minute (1-5 to 0-6). Points from David Hackett (free) and Bob O’Brien helped Éire Óg into a four-point advantage (1-7 to 0-6) by the 16th minute, but Knockshegowna closed out the half in impressive fashion. Indeed, Knockshegowna scored four points without reply (two frees) to tie the game at the break (1-7 to 0-10).
Éire Óg started the second half impressively with an Alan Kelly point helping the Blues back into the lead before Christopher Ryan was unlucky not to score a second goal seconds later. David Hackett and Christopher Ryan then added to the Éire Óg tally and Nenagh led 1-10 to 0-10.
Knockshegowna hit back with a converted free before David Hackett (free) and Bob O’Brien notched further scores for Éire Óg. In the 39th minute Knockshegowna landed a point from play and left three between them (1-12 to 0-12).
Éire Óg impressed in the final twenty minutes. Indeed, the Blues added ten points to their tally during this dominant period.
In the 42nd minute Niall Madden converted a long-range free and David Hackett soon added another before the Knockshegowna ‘keeper made a terrific save to deny Bob O’Brien in the 45th minute.
A David Hackett free then left six between the sides. A Bob O’Brien point in the 49th minute then left seven in it before the Knockshegowna ‘keeper made a second stunning stop in the 52nd. On this occasion the ‘keeper denied John O’Donoghue and impressed once more in the 53rd minute when pushing a David Hackett effort out for a ’65. Hackett fired over the resultant ’65 and Éire Óg led by eight.
Two excellent points, the first from John Cahalan and the second from Alan Kelly, opened a ten-point gap before a mix-up in the Éire Óg full-back line presented Knockshegowna with a three-pointer of their own in the 57th minute (1-19 to 1-12).
Éire Óg, however, finished the game out strongly with points from James Mackey, John Cahalan and Alan Kelly bringing a reasonably impressive performance from the Blues to a close.
The Blues were presented with a walkover from Borris-Ileigh and thereby finished third in their group (four points) and missed out a league semi-final place while Roscrea (five points) and Toomevara (five points) progressed to the last four.
The first round of the junior A hurling championship is scheduled to take place on the week-ending June 21st. This year the team is managed by Greg Browne (manager), Con Morris, Michael Ryan and Conor Ryan.
Nenagh Éire Óg: Brian Darcy, Michael Collins, Noel Maloney, Lenny Ryan, Seánie Geaney, Adam Gratton, Eoin Fitzgibbon, Alan Kelly (0-4), Niall Madden (0-2, 0-1 frees), John Cahalan (0-3), Thomas O’Brien, Kieran Duffy, David Hackett (0-8, 0-6 frees, 0-1 ‘65), Bob O’Brien (0-3), Christopher Ryan (1-1). Subs: (41st) James Mackey (0-1) for Christopher Ryan, (48th) John O’Donoghue for Kieran Duffy.
Referee: Philip Bergin.
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