Springer Strike Denies Champions Victory - A long distance pointed free from midfielder Johnny Ryan earned Drom-Inch a deserved replay with holders Loughmore Castleiney in the MacLochlainn Roadmarkings Mid senior hurling semi-final at Templetuohy on Sunday afternoon last in what was a very fine game of hurling.
Yes, this game had it all – high drama, hard hitting, great defending and some wonderful scores. Spectators saw Loughmore Castleiney comes from nine point down in the first half to lead in injury time at the end of the game, only for Tipperary star Seamus Callanan to bag a free to force extra time. And, although the Loughmore Castleiney men once again seemed to be on their way to the final when David Kennedy goalled in the 7th minute of the second period of extra time, Drom-Inch responded and dragged themselves back into the championship again with two late points to send everyone home happy.
A draw was certainly the fair result and the great thing is that they must go at it again to decide who will contest the divisional final. Certainly, at different stages of the match, the likely winner differed, but at the end of the day, sharing the spoils was to be the lot.
Drom-Inch will wonder how they managed to lose such a commanding lead when they looked to be very much in control. They cut loose in the second quarter having gotten enough of it off their opponents. Indeed, the sides were level after 23 minutes of the half 1-4 to 0-7 with Loughmore Castleiney’s goal coming from Cian Hennessy in the 2nd minute after Liam McGrath set him up. Noel McGrath (2) and Liam McGrath (2) had their points and for a stuttering Drom-Inch, David Collins, James Woodlock (2), Seamus Callanan (2) and Damien Young were on target.
Both sides had lost players at this stage with David Collins (Drom-Inch) and Johnny Campion (Loughmore Castleiney) both departing through injury.
James Woodlock had a very productive first half for Drom-Inch and when Seamus Callanan moved outfield he too began to enjoy his outing. He fired three before the break and saw Seamus Butler grab another. But it was Butlers wonderful 25th minute goal blast which really lighted the fire under the Drom-Inch attack. Suddenly, Drom-Inch were flying and they worked themselves into a 2-11 to 1-6 interval lead with Callanan blasting their second in the 32nd minute after a pass from David Butler– Liam McGrath grabbing two points for Loughmore Castleiney to keep them in touch.
The Loughmore Castleiney lads surely wondered how they could have been trailing by so much at the break – they had battled very gamely and probably deserved to be more in contention. They needed to match their possession and energy with scores in the second half, if they were to get back into the match. They did.
Early indications were positive from the defending champions with Liam Treacy and Noel McGrath firing over for them. The flow continued as Noel McGrath put in a fine shift and only Callanan frees (2) punctuated a Loughmore Castleiney revival with points flowing from Noel McGrath, Ciaran McGrath, Liam McGrath and Noel again.
Ciaran McGrath had a storming second half and he chipped in with two points from play, followed by a huge effort from wing back Aidan McGrath from a free to leave one in it.
Drom-Inch watched their advantage dwindle and when Cian Hennessy levelled the game they surely thought their number was up. But, Callanan, who missed quite a few chances from placed balls, came good to shove them in front again, before Liam McGrath again brought parity to the sides.
Callanan missed another chance to perhaps win the game, as we thought at the time, but Eddie Connolly came upfield and sent Loughmore Castleiney in front in injury time. However, Callanan showed his character as he stepped up to level with a pressure free in the 32nd minute. Extra time was on.
The chance to draw breath at the break was welcome and allowed time for reflection on what had been as good a game of club hurling as one is likely to see. It had everything really and the fact that twenty more minutes would follow, was very pleasing to the sizeable attendance in the perfectly manicured and presented Templetuohy.
The first period of extra time yielded two points apiece with Seamus Callanan and Johnny Ryan trading with Lorcan Egan and Cian Hennessy. But, Drom-Inch turned the screw after resumption with Seamus Butler and Seamus Callanan finding scores from play as space began to appear with players tiring.
Aidan McGrath cut the deficit with another long range free and when a Liam McGrath free came off the upright in the 7th minute, veteran David Kennedy was the fastest to react as he gathered and kicked past Damien Young in the Drom-Inch goals.
Surely now, Loughmore Castleiney would hang on. Not so. Paul Collins had a fine score for Drom-Inch along the left wing which resulted in a one point game again. And, when they managed to create a free from the midfield sector in injury time, up stepped Johnny Ryan to level the match for the last time.
Great game this with the excitement thrilling the large attendance. The rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of all present either and there was much appreciation for the efforts of the two sides when referee Johnny Ryan sounded the final whistle.
As with most drawn games, both sides could have won and lost it. However, while they relinquished a nine point lead, Drom-Inch will perhaps feel that they got off the hook. Loughmore Castleiney were in front coming to the end of normal time and extra time, but Drom-Inch found a way back on both occasions – both from placed balls.
Both sides had their stars on the day – Noel, Liam and Ciaran McGrath, coupled with Cian Hennessy, Eddie Connolly and David Kennedy for Loughmore Castleiney; Seamus Callanan who bagged 1-10, Seamus Butler 1-3, Johnny Ryan, James Woodlock and Mike Costelloe for Drom-Inch. But, while these were the standout players, it should be stated that both teams played with real purpose with each member giving it their all – that’s what made it such a fine championship game.
More of the same please.
Teams and Scorers:
Loughmore Castleiney: J Scully, T McGrath, D Bourke, W Eviston, A McGrath 0-2, E Connolly, T King, N McGrath 0-5, L Treacy 0-1, J Campion, C McGrath 0-3, J McGrath, L McGrath 0-6, D Kennedy 1-0, C Hennessy 1-2. Subs: J Ryan for J Campion; L Egan 0-1 for J m
Drom-Inch: D Young 0-1, P Stapleton, M Butler, M Costelloe, E Walshe, E Buckley, James Ryan, J Woodlock 0-2, Johnny Ryan 0-2, D Collins 0-1, S Callanan 1-10, S Buler 1-3, P Lupton, D Butler 0-1, K Butler. Subs: S Delaney for D Collins; M Ryan for Delaney; P Collins 0-1 for D Butler; J Moloney for E Walshe; S Delaney for James Ryan; J Lupton for P Lupton.
Referee: J Ryan (Boherlahan Dualla)
Loughmore Castleiney 2-21
(After Extra Time)