Port enjoyed wins over Templederry (3-14 to 1-16), Borrisokane (0-17 to 2-7) and Lorrha (3-13 to 0-11) during their group campaign, but suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of 13-man Burgess (1-13 to 0-17) in their final group game. Although Portroe had already secured their place in the knock-out stages prior to that outing the management team of John Sheedy (manager), Liam Sheedy (coach), Fr Séamus Gardiner (selector) and John Hogan (selector) had it all to do to get their side moving in the right direction once more.
Portroe then faced Roscrea in the quarter-finals and beat (3-15 to 0-18) John Carroll’s men thanks to a spectacular display.
Portroe were, once again, superb in their 1-14 to 0-16 semi-final win over Nenagh Éire Óg. Portroe trailed Éire Óg 1-11 to 0-16 in 52nd minute, but three late points propelled John Sheedy’s men to a famous, famous win.
On Sunday Portroe will make their second appearance in the divisional decider. Darren Gleeson captained Portroe to their first appearance in the North Tipperary senior hurling final in 2009. On that occasion however Nenagh Éire Óg proved too strong for Portroe and won on a 0-24 to 2-12 scoreline - barring the inaugural final in 1901 only Silvermines (1974) have claimed the North title when also making their first appearance in the divisional decider.
The Toomevara management team is led by Kilruane’s Liam O’Shea (manager) while Philip Shanahan coaches the side and Tommy Carroll acts as selector.
Toome cruised through their group campaign thanks to wins over Borrisokane (3-19 to 2-10), Lorrha (5-22 to 0-18), Burgess (3-17 to 0-14) and finally Templederry (1-22 to 1-17). Toomevara topped their group before meeting age-old rivals Borris-Ileigh in the semi-finals.
The Greyhounds were almost dumped out of the North championship when trailing Borris-Ileigh by six points with twenty minutes to play, but Liam O’Shea’s men recovered to force extra-time and then win 2-17 to 0-22.
It is worth noting of course that Toomevara and Portroe have already encountered one another during the group stage of this year’s championship. In a dramatic second half Portroe recovered a six-point second half deficit to take the lead when only a late, late David Kennedy earned a share of the points for Toomevara following a spectacular Mark Gennery goal (1-14 to 0-17).
The teams as they lined out in their respective semi-finals -
Portroe: Darren Gleeson, Christopher O’Riordan, Noel O’Halloran, Dermot O’Halloran, Michael Creamer, Colm Gleeson, Simon Kelly, Jimmy Creamer, Justin Conroy, James Ryan, Michael Sheedy, Kevin O’Halloran, Mark Gennery, John Ryan, John Sheedy.
Toomevara: Darren Cuddihy, Cathal Kennedy, Andrew Ryan, Denis Kelly, David Young, Denny Dunne, Darren Delaney, David Kennedy, Francis Devaney, Conor O’Meara, John O’Brien, Ken Dunne, Mark McCarthy, John Delaney, Willie Ryan.