MacLochlainn Road Markings
Mid Tipperary Senior
Drom & Inch 1-21
David Butler whipped over an injury time point to give county champions, Drom-Inch the narrowest of victories over Mid title-holders, Loughmore-Castleiney in the MacLochlainn Road Markings Mid senior hurling championship at Templetuohy on Saturday evening.
The win maintained Drom-Inch’s one hundred per cent record and means that they head their group with six points from three games. Loughmore-Castleiney, with only one success from three outings, were left to watch anxiously the outcome of the Sarsfields v Moycarkey contest the following day when a Sarsfields win would also send Loughmore through to the quarter-finals, but if Moycarkey were to triumph, the three clubs would finish level on points.
Much was expected of this encounter and while it never reached real championship intensity, it was nevertheless a most enjoyable contest that could have gone either way. Drom deservedly shaded the verdict as they created more scoring chances, but really there was little or nothing between the sides.
Loughmore-Castleiney had the benefit of the fresh downfield breeze in the first half, and when Noel McGrath and Evan Sweeney combined in the 7th minute for Cian Hennessy to net, it looked as though they would establish a decent lead by the interval.
They were 1-4 to 0-2 ahead by the 12th minute when Kevin Butler set up his brother David for a Drom goal to keep right in touch.
That’s how it went in the first period. Loughmore-Castleiney had the edge with the McGraths, Noel, and Liam, and Liam Treacy, popping over points, but Seamus Callanan and the Butlers responded with like scores, to continue the chase.
At the interval, Loughmore led 1-11 to 1-7 but the game was finely balanced and with the fresh breeze to help them in the second period, Drom-Inch had every reason for optimism.
It took Drom-Inch sixteen minutes to draw level with their rivals. David Collins from play, and Seamus Callanan from frees were the main sources of the county champions points while Liam McGrath, and a sweet effort from Johnny Campion, maintained Loughmore’s momentum.
At 1-15 each at that stage, one fancied Drom to press on but Loughmore’s great spirit showed as Liam McGrath pointed them ahead three minutes later.
Seamus Callanan levelled but then Loughmore went two clear through Liam McGrath and Liam Treacy. David Collins notched his third point of the evening for Drom, but Noel McGrath restored the two point advantage for Loughmore in the 25th minute.
Exciting stuff now as the two sides engaged in a shoot-out.
Three points from Seamus Callanan(one free) saw Drom ahead by the 59th minute. Now Loughmore responded, Liam McGrath holding his nerve to shoot a difficult long-range free for parity in the 60th minute.
A draw would have done Loughmore-Castleiney but there was one further twist as in injury time, Seamus and Kevin Butler linked up to create the chance for brother, David, to sweep over the winning point.
The county champions, who have five first-team men on the injured list, have every reason to be pleased with this outcome which guarantees their place in the divisional semi-final as table-toppers in their group. Defensively they coped well with the threat posed by the Loughmore attack, ten of whose scores came from placed-ball situations, including two delightful line cuts by Noel McGrath.
Seamus Callanan carried the scoring responsibility comfortably with twelve points, eight frees, but David Butler, the industrious Kevin Butler, and David Collins, operating from wingback, also made significant contributions. Enda Walsh and Eamon Buckley had fine games while county men James Woodlock and Johnny Ryan did their bit.
A second defeat is not helpful to Loughmore’s cause as they seek to come to terms with the absence of such as Derek Bourke, James Egan and Miceal Webster. A few of their side were not at their best in this encounter but Loughmore will still be a force to be reckoned with as the year progresses. While Noel and Liam McGrath did most of the scoring, Liam Treacy, Tom King, Johnny Campion, John McGrath, and Eddie Connolly all worked hard .
Drom-Inch – Damian Young; Shane Delaney, Michael Butler, Mike Costello; Enda Walsh, Eamon Buckley, David Collins(0-3); James Woodlock, Johnny Ryan(0-1); Pat Lupton(0-1), Seamus Butler(0-1), Mattie Ryan; Seamus Callanan(0-12), David Butler(1-3), Kevin Butler; Subs- Jamie Moloney for M Ryan;
Loughmore-Castleiney – John Scully; Tomas McGrath, Willie Eviston, Tommy Long; Tom King, Eddie Connolly, Johnny Campion(0-1); Noel McGrath(0-5), Kieran McGrath; David Kennedy, Liam Treacy(0-3), John McGrath(0-2); Cian Hennessy(1-0), Evan Sweeney, Liam McGrath(0-9); Sub – John Ryan for Sweeney;
Ref: Fergal Horgan (Knockavilla).