By Brian McDonnell at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh
Dr Harty Cup Semi-Final
Our Lady’s Templemore 0-14
Árdscoil Rís Limerick 1-11
ALTHOUGH Our Lady’s will be disappointed that they failed to see off Árdscoil Rís at the first time of asking and required a late, late equaliser from Colin O’Riordan to force a replay the Templemore lads can take plenty of positives from their excellent display at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh on Sunday.
Our Lady’s entered this Dr Harty Cup semi-final as distinct underdogs, but Templemore, led by the brilliant Colin O’Riordan, Jason Ryan and John McGrath, gave an exhibition of hard-working and hard-tackling hurling which etched out a 0-12 to 0-7 lead by the 44th minute. Árdscoil Rís, featuring the exceptional Ronan Lynch at centre-back, did mount a late comeback, but it is fair to say that Our Lady’s should have won this encounter - in all Our Lady’s fired thirteen wides while Árdscoil Rís managed just three.
Normally highlighting a tally of wides would represent a criticism, but in this case it illustrates how well Our Lady’s played in greasy conditions.
Just consider this: Our Lady’s scored 0-14 and hit thirteen wides while Árdscoil Rís scored 1-11 and hit three wides - Templemore created twenty-seven scoring chances and restricted Árdscoil Rís to just fifteen.
Our Lady’s started at a blinding pace, but fired three wides before Árdscoil Rís took the lead thanks to a Cian O’Brien free in the fourth minute.
Three minutes later John McGrath responded for Our Lady’s, but Árdscoil Rís seized the initiative once more thanks to a second Cian O’Brien free.
A John McGrath free levelled it up, but the Our Lady’s wide tally climbed to eight before a brilliant Colin O’Riordan point gave Templemore the lead in the 14th minute (0-3 to 0-2).
A Brian Kennedy point, a superb long-range effort from O’Riordan and then two John McGrath frees helped Our Lady’s into a 0-7 to 0-2 lead by the 23rd minute.
Árdscoil Rís responded with two vital scores when Ronan Lynch drilled over a long-range free into the stiff breeze in the 24th minute and Colin Crehan added a point forty-six seconds later.
A John McGrath free in the 28th minute left four between them before McGrath cleverly worked a quick free into the hand of Dylan Carey on the stroke of half-time and the Templederry man handed his side a 0-9 to 0-4 interval lead.
Immediately after the break a smashing John McGrath point extended the Our Lady’s lead to six before Ronan Lynch converted a sideline ball in the 36th minute (0-10 to 0-5).
In the 40th minute John McGrath drove over a monster of a free into the wind, but Árdscoil Rís responded through Michael O’Loughlin to maintain the tit-for-tat nature of the second half before a Cian O’Brien free in the 44th minute left just four between them (0-7 to 0-11).
There were clenched fists all around the field from Our Lady’s when Colin O’Riordan grabbed the resultant puck-out and drove over the point of the game to hand his side a five-point lead. But this semi-final arrived at a critical juncture two minutes later when David Dempsey laid off to Colin Crehan and the corner-forward rifled home a left-handed shot to leave just two between them - 1-7 to 0-12.
Crehan’s strike sparked a considerable shift in momentum with three Cian O’Brien frees forcing Árdscoil Rís into a 1-10 to 0-12 lead by the 54th minute.
Our Lady’s had now conceded 1-3 without reply and looked doomed. That is until John McGrath’s long-range free broke to man of the match Colin O’Riordan and the JK Bracken’s man levelled it up in the 59th minute.
Árdscoil Rís seized the initiative once more in injury time when David Dempsey was fouled and Cian O’Brien converted the placed ball, but there was still time for Colin O’Riordan to win the resultant puck-out and draw a foul. John McGrath was then presented with a long-range opportunity to tie it up, but instead of taking on the low-percentage option McGrath worked it short to Colin O’Riordan and his midfield partner belted over a magnificent equaliser.
The Dr Harty Cup semi-final replay between Our Lady’s Templemore and Limerick’s Árdscoil Rís takes place next Saturday afternoon in MacDonagh Park, Nenagh - the throw-in for his encounter is 2.30pm.
These Our Lady’s lads deserve all the support they can get.
So, if you can get at all get yourself along to Sunday’s replay in Nenagh please do.
Our Lady’s Templemore: Seán Patrick Guerins (JK Bracken’s), James Bergin (JK Bracken’s), Jason Ryan (Toomevara, captain), Denis Brereton (Loughmore-Castleiney), Michael Campion (Drom & Inch), Joseph Nyland (Loughmore-Castleiney), Pádraig Hogan (Templederry Kenyons), Colin O’Riordan (JK Bracken’s, 0-5), John McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney, 0-7, 0-5 frees), John Joe Ryan (Clonakenny), Dylan Carey (Templederry Kenyons, 0-1), Tommy Nolan (Drom & Inch), Dean McEnroe (JK Bracken’s), Tommy Maher (Loughmore-Castleiney), Brian Kennedy (JK Bracken’s, 0-1). Subs: (29th) Bill O’Connell (Loughmore-Castleiney) for John Joe Ryan, (HT) Jamie Bergin (Drom & Inch) for Dean McEnroe, (37th) Tommy Brett (JK Bracken’s) for Tommy Maher, (56th) Jack Fogarty (JK Bracken’s) for Dylan Carey.
Árdscoil Rís, Limerick: Conor Houlihan, Josh O’Halloran, Mark Buckley, Barry Fitzpatrick, Andrew Carroll, Ronan Lynch (0-2, 0-1 free, 0-1 sideline), Michael Casey, William O’Donoghue, Michael Foley, David Dempsey, Cian Lynch, Colin Crehan (1-1), Michael O’Loughlin (0-1), Eoin Keogh, Cian O’Brien (0-7, 0-7 frees). Subs: (38th) Eoghan Costello for Michael Casey, (55th) Kieran Daly for Michael O’Loughlin.
Referee: Ger O’Connell (Cork).