The Nenagh Éire Óg junior B hurlers concluded their league campaign on Friday evening in Ballinderry when winning with eight points to spare over their hosts.
Watch Centre North Tipperary
Junior B Hurling League
Nenagh Éire Óg 1-16
Shannon Rovers 0-11
Playing with the wind in the opening half Éire Óg struggled early on as Rovers raced into a 0-2 to no-score lead before a fine individual effort from Niall Madden got the Blues off the mark in the fifth minute.
A second Madden point following Darragh Walsh’s sharp sideline ball in the eighth minute tied the game before Thomas O’Brien created an opportunity for Anthony Walsh to fire Éire Óg into a 0-3 to 0-2 lead in the tenth minute.
Shannon Rovers hit back with two placed balls before Darragh Walsh was fouled in the 12th minute and Anthony Walsh (free) equalised.
The Shannon Rovers ‘keeper made a fine save to deny Anthony Walsh at his near post in the 17th minute before Walsh fired Éire Óg into a 0-5 to 0-4 lead.
Two minutes later Niall Madden and Darragh Walsh combined well before Walsh landed a left-handed point. Shannon Rovers responded with a converted free, but centre-back Kieran Duffy picked out Anthony Walsh with a terrific delivery in the 21st minute and the full-forward helped the Blues into a 0-7 to 0-5 lead.
Four minutes later Darragh Walsh found Niall Madden in space and the midfielder landed a superb long-range effort off his right; although Shannon Rovers hit back with a converted free Gavin O’Connor set up Niall McKeogh for a ninth Éire Óg point in the 27th minute.
Nenagh Éire Óg led 0-9 to 0-6 at the break.
Shannon Rovers started the second half impressively with three points (two frees) leaving the sides locked on 0-9 apiece as early as the 34th minute.
The Shannon Rovers ‘keeper saved once more from Anthony Walsh in the 35th minute, but soon after Liam Maher won a free which Anthony Walsh converted and the Blues led by one.
A converted free got Shannon Rovers back on terms in the 37th minute, but Éire Óg responded well to the challenge and took the lead once more in the 38th minute when Brian Tuite set up Darragh Walsh for a great score off his right.
Interval substitute Michael Hynes made a big impression in the 39th minute when picking out Gavin O’Connor with a terrific delivery and O’Connor fired home a goal off his left to present Éire Óg with a 1-11 to 0-10 lead.
Seven minute later Thomas O’Brien’s enterprising run culminated with a rasping shot which found the Shannon Rovers crossbar before Anthony Walsh (free) notched the first score in eleven minutes with ten to play. A minute later Anthony Walsh landed another and Éire Óg led 1-13 to 0-10.
The Shannon Rovers ‘keeper made another stunning stop in the 52nd minute when reacting well to a Gavin O’Connor shot following an enterprising run from Jack Sheedy.
The Éire Óg defence was performing superbly and had managed to hold a wind-assisted Shannon Rovers scoreless for seventeen minutes – the Rovers’ scoring drought finally came to an end in the 54th minute when the home side scored a point from play.
Éire Óg closed out the game in impressive fashion with points from Darragh Walsh, Anthony Walsh (dree) and Brian Tuite.
The Blues missed out on qualification for the knock-out stages of the league, but the junior Bs concluded their league campaign in great style with good wins over Toomevara and Shannon Rovers. Indeed, the lads were misfortunate not to earn a dividend from clashes with Newport, Moneygall and Portroe earlier in the campaign. On all three occasions Éire Óg suffered narrow defeats, but will face into the north championship in confident mood.
The first round of the Watch Centre North Tipperary junior B hurling championship is scheduled to take place on the week-ending June 21st or June 28th. This year the team is managed by Cian Tucker (manager), Mark Long, John Paul King and Paddy Flynn.
The Watch Centre Junior B Hurling Championship will be run on a two-group league system with the top team in each group progressing to the semi-finals and the second and third teams qualifying for the quarter-finals.
Nenagh Éire Óg have been drawn in group two alongside Ballina, Portroe, Borrisokane, Toomevara and Lorrha-Dorrha. Éire Óg’s first game will be against Ballina. Meanwhile group one features Silvermines, Newport, Shannon Rovers, Kildangan, Moneygall and Borris-Ileigh.
Nenagh Éire Óg: Darragh Gleeson, Brian Duffy, Ger O’Gorman, John Kelly, Lenny Ryan, Kieran Duffy, Jamie Gallagher, Brian Tuite (0-1), Niall Madden (0-3), Gavin O’Connor (1-0), Thomas O’Brien, Darragh Walsh (0-3), Niall McKeogh (0-1), Anthony Walsh (0-8, 0-4 frees), Liam Maher. Subs: (ht) Michael Hynes for Niall Madden, (50th) Brian Carr for Niall McKeogh, (51st) Jack Sheedy for Liam Maher, (58th) Niall McKeogh for Darragh Walsh.
Referee: Martin O’Shea (Borrisokane).
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