Extra time was required to separate Éire Óg and Toomevara in a dramatic junior A hurling championship quarter-final at Dolla on Saturday evening – despite being reduced to fourteen men in the opening half the Blues worked hard to force extra-time before a dramatic late goal from Richie Flannery propelled Ger Tucker’s men into the semi-finals.
Watch Centre North Tipperary Junior A
Hurling Championship Quarter-Final
Nenagh Éire Óg 3-18 Toomevara 3-16 (aet)
Toomevara fired home a goal in the opening minute to get off to an ideal start. Four minutes later David Hickey intercepted the Toome goalkeeper’s clearance and went for goal – unfortunately David’s ambitious shot hit the crossbar and was cleared to safety.
Bob O’Brien opened the Éire Óg account with a point in the sixth minute. The Blues struck for their opening goal in the 11th minute when David Cleary pulled on a Niall Madden delivery to score a spectacular goal. Then, less than thirty seconds later, David Cleary struck once more with a left-handed finish following an enterprising run and pass from David Hickey.
Éire Óg now led 2-1 to 1-0. Unfortunately the Blues were reduced to fourteen men in the 16th minute when John O’Donoghue was shown a straight red card by Silvermines referee Kieran Timmons.
Two Toomevara points (one free) cut the Éire Óg lead to two points by the 18th minute (2-1 to 1-2). The Blues settled back down to their work and in the 19th minute David Hackett set up Shane Maher for a rousing score to leave a goal between them.
Shane Maher turned provider in the 20th minute when picking out Christopher Ryan who cracked over a left-handed effort before David Hackett fired Éire Óg into a 2-4 to 1-2 lead in the 23rd.
Toomevara hit back with a brace of points before two David Hackett frees forced Éire Óg into a 2-6 to 1-4 lead. A Toome point in the 29th minute left four in it, but David Hackett converted another placed ball on the half hour mark to hand the Blues a five-point lead.
Two minutes into first half injury time Toomevara scored a second goal and sides retired with two between them (2-7 to 2-5) at the break.
Toome, enjoying a significant numerical advantage, notched three points without reply in the opening eleven minutes of the second half to take a 2-8 to 2-7 lead.
Éire Óg responded to the challenge when David Hackett set up Shane Maher for an equalising point before a David Hackett free handed the Blues a 2-9 to 2-8 lead.
Toome fired over an equaliser with fifteen minutes to play, but Shane Maher was fouled once more in the 47th minute and David Hackett presented Éire Óg with the lead.
The Greyhounds notched an equaliser before Richie Flannery set up David Cleary for a great point in the 50th minute.
A Toomevara free tied the game in the 53rd minute and although Éire Óg were at a numerical disadvantage the Blues finished the game strongly. Christopher Ryan won two consecutive frees which David Hackett converted before Shane Maher was fouled for another. Once more David Hackett made no mistake and Éire Óg led 2-14 to 2-11 entering the 60th minute.
To be fair to Toomevara the Greyhounds kept their heads and poured forward in search of a goal and Toome created a vital three-pointer on the stroke of full-time to force extra-time.
The full-time score read Nenagh Éire Óg 2-14 Toomevara 3-11.
Éire Óg fielded fifteen men for extra-time with Bob O’Brien returning to the fray.
Toome opened the scoring in the first period of extra-time, but Éire Óg equalised when David Hackett fired over a free following a foul on John Cahalan. David Hackett’s second point from play helped Éire Óg into a vital lead before Niall Madden landed a long-range free following a foul on Eddie Tucker.
As the second period of extra-time began Éire Óg led 2-17 to 3-12. Once more Toomevara responded in style with three consecutive points (one free) helping the Greyhounds into a 3-15 to 2-17 lead.
With four minutes to play a Richie Flannery point levelled matters, but Toome hit back almost immediately to re-claim the lead.
In injury time the tireless Gary Howard won a terrific ball in the Éire Óg half-back line. The ball was cleared to left wing-forward where Christopher Ryan gathered possession and turned to take on the Toomevara defence. Éire Óg required a point to force a replay, but Christopher Ryan had other ideas and raced through the heart of the Toome defence before off-loading to Richie Flannery who fired home a match-winning goal.
Nenagh Éire Óg will now face Kildangan in the semi-finals while on the opposite side of the draw Roscrea take on Kilruane MacDonagh’s.
Nenagh Éire Óg: Brian Gubbins, Adam Gratton, John O’Donoghue, Michael Collins, Alan Kelly, Niall Madden (0-1, 0-1 free), Eoin Fitzgibbon, Gary Howard, John Cahalan, Bob O’Brien (0-1), Shane Maher (0-2), Christopher Ryan (0-1), David Hackett (0-11, 0-9 frees), David Cleary (2-1), David Hickey. Subs: (35th) Richie Flannery (1-1) for Bob O’Brien, (45th) Eddie Tucker for David Hickey, (FT) Bob O’Brien in place of John O’Donoghue, (74th) David Hickey for David Hackett.
Referee: Kieran Timmons (Silvermines).
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