South Tipp SH Championship
Intercept Goal wins game
Ballingarry 2-16 Mullinahone C.J.K-1.16
The 2013 South Tipp Senior Hurling championship got off to a subdued start in Monroe on Saturday evening. The game brought into opposition rivals of the last two decades Ballingarry and last year’s divisional champions Mullinahone C.J.K. Not for the first time victory went to Ballingarry whose record against the Kickhams in senior hurling is far better than that of any other club.
This tie lacked much of the fire of former clashes between these two sides. Perhaps it was the earliness of the season or maybe it was the cold of a chilling wind but somehow the game never raised the enthusiasm of a small attendance. The aforementioned strong breeze blew from the road towards the inside goal. For many of the visitors to the ground it was their first sight of the synthetic “squares” which looked a good deal greener than the natural grass on the rest of the pitch. Unfortunately, we did not get to see either of the free-takers attempt to blast to the net off the synthetic surface. This will have to wait for another day, but we must congratulate Moyle Rovers on their efforts to banish muddy goalmouths.
Mullinahone had first use of the breeze when referee Noel Cosgrove threw in the ball. In the first minute a Seanie Cahill point from a free gave Ballingarry the lead. Two minutes later Eoin Kelly replied in kind from play. Ballingarry replied with a point within a minute. Philip Ivors added another point in four minutes. Eoin Kelly then hit five points in a period of six minutes, four of them from frees. One of the points was an effort from almost his own 65. In 16 minutes just when Mullinahone appeared to be getting a grip on the game disaster struck. A free was needlessly conceded out the field and was mishit. However, as it dropped into the square one of the defenders in trying to catch the ball knocked it into his own net to level the game. Adrian Cleere and Eoin Fennelly exchanged points. Cathal Horan and Sean Curran added points for Mullinahone before in the 22nd minute A.J.Cronin (M) and Adrian Cleere (B) were yellow carded. In the run-up to half time Ballingarry pointed three times with Philip Ivors pointing twice and Eoin Kelly replying from a free. Half time: Mullinahone C.J.K O-10, Ballingarry 1-07.
With the breeze to aid them in the second half Ballingarry became the popular favourites to win the game. A Liam Cahill point in the first minute was an omen, but a Cathal Horan goal in two minutes changed the complexion of the game. Luke Mullally (acting captain) was injured and had to retire. Mullally had been playing well at wing back. Philip Ivors pointed but Eoin Kelly replied from a free. In eight minutes Ian Ivors saw yellow. When Eoin Kelly pointed the resultant free C.J.K were three points ahead. Donal Shelly and Eoin Kelly exchanged points. Liam Cahill who was beginning to impact greatly on the game hit back straight away. In 44 minutes, a short puck-out was lost by Mullinahone and Adrian Cleere pointed. Two minutes later Ballingarry were level as Mullinahone’s wing back Gary Cronin was forced off with an injury. The point of the game by substitute George Browning in 16 minutes restored Mullinahone’s lead. An Eoin Kelly free increased the lead and this was the last score for six minutes as both sides seemed to tire.
In the 23rd minute came the decisive goal. In rugby it would have been the perfect intercept. One of the Mullinahone defenders got possession and tried to hand-pass clear. The ball was grabbed on the run by Adrian Cleere who raced through the middle and slammed to the net. Micheál Dunne, a member of the Tipp minor hurling panel had been introduced by Mullinahone about ten minutes previously and his speed was troubling the Ballingarry defence. In 55 minutes a Seanie Cahill point from a free put Ballingarry a goal in front. An Eoin Kelly point narrowed the gap in 56 minutes, but another Seanie Cahill free in 58 minutes restored the one goal advantage. Joe O’Meara replaced Nigel O’Brien on the Mullinahone team, but to no avail as referee Noel Cosgrove brought play to an end with the score Ballingarry 2-16, Mullinahone C.J.K. 1-16.
Few would deny that Ballingarry were the more complete side. Apart from Eoin Kelly who was in good shooting form the rest of the Mullinahone attack rarely threatened. The Ballingarry defence gave good cover to goalie Logue who wasn’t called on to make a save of consequence during the game. At midfield, the veteran Donal Shelly won good possession especially in the last quarter. Up front. Adrian Cleere, Philip Ivors and again later in the game Liam Cahill all threatened. The loss of wingbacks Cronin and Mullally was felt by Mullinahone especially in the later stages. Kevin Walzer played well as did Eoin Fennelly. Donal Cody tried hard. Paul Curran at centre back never dominated the game and Sean Curran was unable to make a telling impression from midfield. Their win was a good start for Ballingarry while Mullinahone now come under pressure if they wish to qualify for semi-finals let alone retain their title.
Ballingarry: James Logue, Gerry Fitzgerald, Jack Fennelly, Danny Fitzgerald. Ger Fennelly, Ian Ivors, Dickie Norton, Seanie Cahill, Donal Shelly, Liam Cahill, Ciaran Shelly, Philip Ivors, Kevin Fitzgerald, Adrian Cleere, Eamon Cahill.
Mullinahone C,J.K. : Alan Walsh, Kevin Walzer, A.J. Cronin, James Connolly, Gary Cronin, Paul Curran, Luke Mullally, Eoin Fennelly, Donal Cody, Eddie Phelan, Eoin Kelly, Sean Curran, Cathal Horan, Alan Curran, Nigel O’Brien. Subs used: George Browning. Micheál Dunne, Joe O’Meara.
Referee: Noel Cosgrove (Marlfield)
Report supplied by Ricky Sheehan