County Junior A Hurling Quarter-Final
Knockavilla 3-15 Drom & Inch 1-18
In a tough and tense replay it was Knockavilla Kickhams who prevailed over a gallant Drom & Inch on Saturday afternoon last in the County Junior A Hurling Championship Quarter Final held in Cashel.
Despite Drom leading at the break it was two goals in the space of three minutes in the second half that hauled Knockavilla into a dominant position from which they never looked back. The first of these was well taken by Peter Comerford as a sideline from Shane Morrissey was delivered from the right wing towards full forward John O Brien, who attempted to collect possession but under pressure the ball broke off the powerful forward. Moving in after the play, the break fell kindly for the advancing Comerford and when his efforts to rise the ball failed, he instinctively whipped to the back of the net leaving the keeper helpless.
In the 40th minute it was yet another sideline ball from the energetic midfielder Shane Morrissey that led to a green flag being propelled into the air. This effort was played down the right wing and was picked up by substitute Aidan Butler who tried to point from an audacious angle close to both sideline and end line. The strike was crisp and clattered into the left upright before landing into the path of the very grateful John O Brien, who flicked the sliotar to the net. These goals rocked Drom and they never sufficiently recovered to close the gap despite some late attempts to create the all important goal chance it never arrived.
Following on from their West title triumph Kickhams will be delighted to progress to the semi final stage but they know despite their ability they need to play at full tilt for the whole game not just sporadically as has been the case in these two quarter finals. For Drom they hurled well for large parts of this contest but the timing of the two goals sucked the life from their challenge.
An unlikely source in wing back Padraig Morrissey opened the scoring in the third minute when he advanced forward to offer himself as an option to Brendan Ryan, who passed the ball out to the defender before Morrissey pointed off his right hand side. But Drom with the slight wind advantage at their tails settled the better from here and some superb free taking as well as one from play from Michael Cantwell had them in the ascendancy early.
Right on the quarter hour mark Drom’s second leading light John Lillis put a bit of daylight between the teams as he gathered a Robert Hicks hand pass before advancing past his marker and from a tight angle just left of the target he flicked the ball to the roof of the net past the keeper. This had the Ragg seven points to the good and in a commanding position. The lead stretched to eight moments later so it came as a great boost to a wilting Kickhams outfit when Brendan Ryan skipped past his marker from the left wing and as he closed on goal he popped a hand pass to fellow corner forward Killian Loughman who caught and riffled to the net off his left. This revived belief and by the half time interval the score was Drom 1-11 Knockavilla 1-7.
After the interval and with the breeze at their back Kickhams did not take long in delving their teeth into the Drom advantage as centre back Tommy Comerford pointed a long range free before Killian Loughman and John O Brien pointed, both off their left, to narrow the gap. John Lillis now operating further out the field was constantly industrious and pointed three times for Drom.
Then seven minutes after the half time break Peter Comerford lashed in his goal and when John O Brien flicked the ball home the men in amber and black powered three points clear. This soon became four then five with points from Conor Horan and Brendan Ryan. By the time the Ragg composed themselves they had a mountain to climb and also lacked any goal threat with their two best weapons Cantwell and Lillis both operating closer to midfield than the goal. What remained inside proved toothless.
Knockavilla Kickhams: T. Ryan; D. Horgan, R. O Dwyer, D. Shanahan; P. Morrissey (0-1), T. Comerford (0-1,1F), B. Farrell; S. Morrissey, C. Horan (0-1); G. Farrell (0-1), D. Breen (0-1), P. Comerford (1-1); K. Loughman (1-3), K. Farrell, B. Ryan (0-5,4F). Subs: J. O Brien (1-1) for K. Farrell (22), A. Butler for D. Breen (38), S. Griffey for B. Farrell (56).
Drom & Inch: C. Hassett; M Hicks, L. Kennedy, T. Cantwell; K. Aherne, P. Looby, M. McGrath; P. Stapleton, K. Young (0-1); P. Ryan (0-1), C. Ryan (0-1), J. Maher; J. Lillis (1-3), R. Hicks, M. Cantwell (0-11, 8F). Subs: J. Butler (0-1) for P. Ryan (16), D. Larkin for P. Stapleton (40), T. Ryan for J. Maher (46), M. Cahill for C. Ryan (56).
Referee: Pat Gibson