An excellent Kildangan team pushed the Blues to the very limit in an enthralling north Tipperary junior A hurling final played at Templederry on Saturday evening.
Watch Centre North Tipperary Junior A
Hurling Championship Final
Nenagh Éire Óg 0-13 Kildangan 1-9
Kildangan were chasing a first junior A title since 1944 and signalled their intent in the opening nineteen seconds when Éire Óg ‘keeper Kevin Flynn was asked to make a fine save from Johnny Horan.
The Blues took the lead in the second minute when John Cahalan set up Philip Hickey for the opening point of the game. Seán Webb responded for Kildangan six minutes later, but Éire Óg re-claimed the lead in the 11th minute when David Hickey created the room for John Cahalan to land a fine effort off his left (0-2 to 0-1).
In the 12th minute Kildangan threatened a three-pointer once more, but Brian Flynn got in a terrific tackle to avert the danger. A minute later, however, Kildangan plundered the goal that their enterprising attacking play deserved when Shane Seymour booted his side into a 1-1 to 0-2 lead.
David Hickey responded with a point for Éire Óg, but Kildangan fired over two terrific efforts to take a 1-3 to 0-3 lead by the 22nd minute. Seán Webb and James Quigley were responsible for these outstanding efforts.
Éire Óg hit back when David Hackett converted a ’65 in the 23rd minute. Two minutes later the corner-forward had goal on his mind, but Kildangan ‘keeper Paddy Coen made a terrific reaction save to deny David Hackett from close range; Shane Maher fired over the rebound and now the Blues were within one.
Then, in the 26th minute, Shane Maher earned a free which David Hackett converted and the sides were level.
A Shane Seymour point edged Kildangan back into the lead (1-4 to 0-6), but a terrific long-range free from David Hackett in the 33rd minute following a foul on Eoin Fitzgibbon retired the sides all square.
Eleven first half wides (Kildangan four) had frustrated the efforts of the Éire Óg lads somewhat and the Blues found themselves trailing by two points early in the second half following points from James Quigley and Cathal Hanrahan (free) – 0-7 to 1-6.
David Hackett and Cathal Hanrahan (free) traded points thereafter and with twenty minutes to play Kildangan led 1-7 to 0-8.
David Hickey threatened an Éire Óg goal in the 41st minute, but Paddy Coen was equal to the effort. A minute later, however, David Hackett converted a free following a foul on Philip Hickey. In the 43rd minute David Hickey recovered a ball when was heading wide and re-cycled it to Shane Maher who fired over a fine effort to tie the game.
Éire Óg were moving well now and took the lead in the 45th minute thanks to a free won by Bob O’Brien and converted by David Hackett. Six minutes later Eddie Tucker forced a hurried clearance, Gary Howard intercepted the delivery and picked out John Cahalan who helped Éire Óg into a 0-12 to 1-7 lead.
Éire Óg had now scored four points with reply. Kildangan needed to respond and did so in the 53rd minute when Paddy Lynch landed a terrific point; four minutes later a Cathal Hanrahan free levelled matters and we braced ourselves for a dramatic finalé.
Following a couple of frantic minutes Philip Hickey won a ball in the Éire Óg half-forward line and set-up David Hackett for an excellent point off his right.
There was still plenty of time (six minutes of injury time) for Kildangan to respond, but Nenagh Éire Óg hung on to claim a welcome win.
In all Éire Óg fired twenty wides (Kildangan nine).
Our thanks go to the management team of Ger Tucker (manager), Donie O’Brien (selector) and Matt Lillis (selector) for leading this panel of players to the Blues’ eighth north Tipperary junior A hurling title. The club previously won the north Tipperary junior A hurling championship in 1953, 1962, 1983, 1999, 2000, 2009 and 2012.
Nenagh Éire Óg would like to wish Kildangan all the very best in the county junior A hurling championship – each divisional finalist and champion progress to the county quarter-finals. Éire Óg’s opponents in the last eight will be revealed in due course.
For a video of the North Board chairman John ‘Rocky’ McGrath (Ballinahinch) presenting the trophy to team captain John O’Donoghue please click here. Our thanks go to Enda O’Sullivan for the video work while Catherine McTiernan took a series of photos at the final. Click here for more.
Nenagh Éire Óg: Kevin Flynn, Michael Collins, Alan Kelly, Brian Flynn, Adam Gratton, Niall Madden, Eoin Fitzgibbon, John Cahalan (0-2), Gary Howard, Philip Hickey (0-1), Shane Maher (0-2), Christopher Ryan, David Hickey (0-1), David Cleary, David Hackett (0-7, 0-4 frees, 0-1 ’65). Subs: (23rd) Richie Flannery for Christopher Ryan, (39th) Bob O’Brien for David Cleary, (49th blood) Eddie Tucker for Shane Maher, (51st blood) Shane Maher for Eddie Tucker, (54th) Eddie Tucker for David Hickey.
Remaining Panel Members: Brian Gubbins, Niall Cahill, Donnacha Heffernan, Michael Hallinan, Alex Jones, Darragh Walsh, Darragh Gleeson, Cian Tucker, John O’Donoghue (captain), Jamie Gallagher, Aodhán Geaney.
Kildangan: Paddy Coen, Paddy Gallagher, Liam Kelly (captain), Darren Moran, Andy Loughnane, Dan Hackett, Jim Minehan, John Maher, James Quigley (0-2), Seán Webb (0-2), Gearóid Connors, Cathal Hanrahan (0-3, 0-3 frees), Johnny Horan, Shane Seymour (1-1), Paddy Lynch (0-1). Subs: (46th) Gerry Slattery for Johnny Horan.
Referee: Pat Gibson (Burgess).
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