Playing with an extra man for all the second half and the concluding minutes of the first half, Loughmore-Castleiney waited until the closing ten minutes of this excellent Clean Ireland Recycling county senior hurling quarter-final against Killenaule at Templemore on Saturday, before finally killing off a gallant Killenaule challenge.
Without doubt the turning point of this game was the sending to the line of Killenaule’s former county man, Declan Fanning, following a second yellow card in the 28th minute. The sides were level at the time, 1-5 to 0-8, following an Evan Sweeney goal which undid much of Killenaule’s smart work. The Killenaule man could not quibble with referee Ger Fitzpatrick’s penalty for a late tackle, and despite the bravest of efforts by the South champions, Loughmore-Castleiney, without ever reaching their best, simply wore them down in the closing stages of a free-flowing and pacey contest.
As Loughmore-Castleiney march on to the last four, Killenaule are left with thoughts of “what might have been”. Had they had their full quota for the hour, they looked well capable of overcoming the Mid representatives, but the dismissal of Fanning, and the lack of scoring options in attack, where only John “Bubbles” and Pat Kerwick posed threats, were their undoing.
This was not a vintage performance from Loughmore-Castleiney. They ought to have converted a couple of other goal chances and shot seventeen wides, but the important thing is that they are in the last four, and have the opportunity to iron out those shortcomings.
In the opening twenty minutes, Killenaule’s slick and positive approach unhinged Loughmore and with “Bubbles” on his game from placed balls, they moved 0-8 to 0-4 clear. Pat Kerwick blazed wide in the 6th minute when a Killenaule goal was a possibility but Evan Sweeney twice went close for Loughmore, Gerry Kennedy in the South side’s goal saving splendidly in the 10th minute, and a second effort, three minutes later, screaming across the face of the goal after a Liam McGrath shot came off the woodwork.
Full match report in this week’s Tipperary Star.