The under-14 hurlers’ dream of landing a 12th north Tipperary title for the Blues ended in heartache on Saturday afternoon when the lads lost narrowly to Toomevara.
North Tipperary Under-14A
Hurling Championship Final
Nenagh Éire Óg 2-6 Toomevara 1-11
Toomevara got off to a great start in Puckane – despite the fact that Éire Óg ‘keeper Scott O’Brien made two excellent saves in the opening minute Toome plundered a goal and then added two points to lead 1-2 to no-score by the fourth minute.
A Barry Coffey first-time effort found the crossbar in the sixth minute before Coffey converted a ’65 in the seventh minute to get Éire Óg off the mark. Two minutes later Barry Coffey set up Seán Phelan for a smashing right-handed point to leave a goal between them.
Toome responded with a point of their own, but Éire Óg were hurling well now and in the 14th minute Barry Coffey passed to Seán Shanahan who buried a left-handed rasper in the roof of Rory Brislane’s net (1-2 to 1-3).
A minute later a Seán Phelan point tied the game, but Toome responded with a free in the 17th minute to force themselves back into the lead.
In the 18th minute Liam Heffernan was pulled down for a penalty – Barry Coffey went for goal, but Toome ‘keeper Rory Brislane made a telling save.
Then, in the 19th minute, Brislane denied Barry Coffey a goal with another fine save. On this occasion, however, Coffey gathered the rebound and belted home a three-pointer which handed Éire Óg the lead for the first time (2-3 to 1-4).
Toome responded positively to the challenge and tied the game thanks to two converted frees before Liam Heffernan gathered Scott O’Brien’s puck-out in the 25th minute. Heffernan off-loaded to Seán Shanahan and Shanahan landed a fine left-handed point which handed Éire Óg a narrow interval lead (2-4 to 1-6).
Toome fired two points in the opening two minutes of the second half to re-claim the lead before Barry Coffey won a free and converted it to tie the game.
Toome ‘keeper Rory Brislane made another telling save to deny Liam Heffernan a goal seven minutes into the second half before the Greyhounds edged back into the lead thanks to a converted free with sixteen minutes to play.
In the 11th minute of the second half Barry Coffey converted a placed ball to level matters (2-6 to 1-9).
With ten minutes to play a Barry Coffey effort was waived wide much to the disgust of the Éire Óg supporters.
With seven minutes to play Éire Óg ‘keeper Scott O’Brien made a terrific save to deny Toomevara a goal, but Toome converted the resultant ’65 to take a vital lead. Then, with four minutes to play, Toome’s Mikie Delaney landed a fine individual effort to leave two between them.
Éire Óg enjoyed late opportunities to rescue the situation – in the 25th minute Evan Murphy’s rasping effort flew narrowly wide while Barry Coffey’s 21-yard free was saved four minutes into injury time.
Despite this defeat the players should be proud of their efforts this season – this group of Nenagh Éire Óg under-14A hurlers represented the club, the town, their families and themselves brilliantly.
Our sincere thanks go to the under-14 management team for their efforts during the campaign: John Phelan, Conor O’Donovan, Phil Hennessy & David Minogue.
Nenagh Éire Óg would like to wish Toomevara all the very best in their up-coming county semi-final.
Nenagh Éire Óg have won the north Tipperary under-14A hurling title eleven times: 1972, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1988, 1996, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2010 & 2011.
Enda O’Sullivan took a whole series of outstanding photographs at today’s final – click here for more.
Nenagh Éire Óg: Scott O’Brien, Stevie Hallinan, Fiachra Starr (captain), Mark Carey, Gavin Dooley, Evan Murphy, Brendan Long, Cian O’Farrell, Conor Hennessy, Seán Phelan (0-2), Barry Coffey (1-3, 0-2 frees, 0-1 ’65), Daniel Molamphy, Cian Griffin, Seán Shanahan (1-1), Liam Heffernan. Subs: Conor Sullivan, Luke Carroll, Eoghan Tinkler, Conor Malone, Conor Robinson, Mark Ryan, Jason Teefy, Rory O’Donovan.
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