CIHC Arravle Rvs 0-16 Sarsfields 0-11
Thurles Sarsfields bowed out of the county intermediate hurling championship at Dundrum on Sunday evening last when they came up against a far better Arravale Rovers side which had already claimed the west title.
In truth the five point differential didn’t flatter the Arravale Rovers lads who hit 12 wides in the game and were far superior to the opposition.
But, credit to the Thurles lads who kept battling to the end and actually ended up winning the second half having played with the aid of a pretty strong breeze. The damage had been done in the first though when a rampant Arravale Rovers pointed at will and ended the half with a 0-9 to 0-3 lead, although better accuracy could have had them with a far great advantage.
Paddy Dalton was the main man for Arravale Rovers when it came to the score stakes and he bagged four in the first half to go alongside two from midfielder Peter Mulhair and one each from Michael O’Dwyer, Bryan Lowry and Roger O’Connor. Arravale were playing a very effective brand of hurling and despite having the wind at their backs they were not lumping ball forward in the hope of gaining possession. No, they used the ball very well and their approach play to the attack was clever, well drilled and clearly planned.
Sarsfields actually had the first score of the game from Pa Crone after just 25 seconds, but by the time they had their second from a Conor Lanigan free at the end of the first quarter, they were three in arrears. Midfielder Tommy Doyle had their third but Arravale finished off the half with three in succession to leave them in a commanding position.
The initial impression upon turnaround was that Sarsfields were ready to mount a challenge. Early scores from Jamie Stapleton and Bill McCormack gave much hope of a revival, but four without reply from Peter Mulhaire, Paddy Dalton (2) and Ciaran Lowry re-established the Arravale momentum and they went on to add two more from Dalton and Bryan Lowry to establish a ten point lead with 13 to go. It was game over really at this stage but Sarsfields did find their range with three Conor Lanigan pointed frees in quick succession giving them some hope.
Paddy Dalton had a pointed free for Arravle and it was to be their only score of the last quarter with Sarsfields on top and pressing hard for scores. They came too in the form of Lanigan, Ger O’Grady and Eoin Russell scores - O’Grady’s a gilt edged goal chance which he kicked over the crossbar.
Arravale had staved off the challenge and when O’Grady received a second yellow card at the very death following a scuffle it added to Sarsfields woes - Arravale very fortunate to finish, what had been a very sporting game, with fifteen.
Arravale Rovers were impressive in this game and have the capacity to build on their success and take on the push for county honours. They will perhaps be worried about not putting the game beyond Sarsfields when they had the chance. However, Paddy Dalton, Brian Jones, Peter Mulhair, Bryan Lowry, Donagh Leahy and Darren Lowry were in fine form for them and they will know that there is room for improvement in the side.
Sarsfields were disappointing on the day but credit to them for sticking to the task even if they were playing second fiddle all the way through and were a beaten docket from early in the second half.
Tommy Doyle, Eoin Russell, Michael O’Dwyer, Conor Lanigan, and Aidan Ryan were best fro them on the day while sub Tom Tierney hit a lot of ball when introduced at half time.
It was a game they will want to forget in a hurry though and can count themselves fortunte to have been within five points of the Arravale lads.
Teams and Scorers:
Arravale Rovers: T Gleeson, T O’Dwyer, G o’Dwyer, G Mulhair, P Mulhair 0-2, B Jones, D Lowry, M O’Dwyer 0-1, F Ryan, P Dalton 0-8, J Lowry, R Kiely, B Lowry 0-2. Subs: D Crowe, C Lowry 0-1, G Halligan.
Sarsfields: K Smith, M O’Dwyer, R O’Shea, J Lineen, A Ryan, E Russell 0-1, T King, T Doyle 0-1, J Corbett, J Stapleton 0-1, G O’Grady, K Dunne, C Lanigan 0-5, P Crone 0-1, B McCormack 0-1. Subs: T Tierney, S Butler, G Maher.
Referee: P Ivo