Super Valu Senior
Cashel King Cormacs 1-12
Cashel King Cormacs survived a stiff challenge from Aherlow in the Tipperary Co-Op Super Valu senior hurling championship at Golden on Friday evening, winning by three points in the end and doing enough to qualify for the semi-final of the competition.
Cashel had the ideal start when Turlough Bonnar goaled in the opening minute. He ran on to a fine delivery from Simon Delaney and his shot gave the goalie no chance. That was as good as it got for Cashel; everything that followed in the game fell short of that standard.
Playing against the breeze Cashel didn’t score again until the tenth minute, when Mickey Coleman pointed and they added six more points by half-time, two from frees by Jonathan Grogan, for a total of 1-7. Not a great score in the circumstances in the light of the amount of ball they received from a very effective half-back line. They found the Aherlow backs difficult to get through. They were given very little space and time on the ball and a great number of their attacks broke down and were cleared by an effective Aherlow defence.
Aherlow played well but, as they showed against Golden, they lacked scoring power. They scored four points, two of them in the last few minutes of the half, and three of the four were from placed balls. The half-time score was 1-7 to 0-4.
Cashel had the breeze in the second half and the perception was that they should motor ahead and win the game handily. Such was not to be the case.
They scored four points in thirteen minutes and two of these were from placed balls by Grogan. Not a great return and it reflected the difficulty the forwards encountered against a very sticky Aherlow defence. The inside line was, to all intents and purposes, ineffective. They had a number of chances when whipping the ball on the ground could have brought goals but they insisted on rising it and by the time this was achieved they found a selection of Aherlow backs swarming all over them.
Aherlow had one point from a Sean Dillon free during the same period so that the score entering the final quarter was 1-11 to 0-5, a fairly comfortable position for Cashel even if they weren’t in the safety zone.
Aherlow dominated the final period, scoring 2-1 to Cashel’s lone point from a 65.
The latter was the only score they had in twenty minutes hurling and it reflected the resilience of the Aherlow side as well as the inability of Cashel to put away the opposition, when they were leading by nine points.
Aherlow’s first goal came in the twenty-third minute when Cashel backs had moved out a good bit from their goals and Sean Dillon got in behind them. Cathal O’Shea scored a point six minutes later and the same player hit a free from centrefield all the way to the net in the thirty-second minute to reduce Cashel’s lead to a precarious two points!
It was a dramatic turn of events and Cashel’s victory, which seemed so certain midway through the half, was anything but guaranteed. During the remaining couple of minutes Cashel forced a 65 and Grogan duly sent it over the bar to give Cashel a 1-12 to 2-6 victory and it brought a sigh of relief to their supporters.
There was the belief that Cashel needed a three-point victory to qualify for a semi-final position in front of Golden-Kilfeacle, who had beaten the same opposition by two points. In fact all Cashel needed to do was to win because they scored more than Golden.
Because Aherlow failed to get a point in their two games they now play Kickhams, who finished at the bottom of the table in group 2, to decide who plays Golden in the quarter-final of group 1.
Cashel will happy to have qualified for the semi-final but will be disappointed with the way they finished after such a promising start. While the backs and centrefield played well their forward play left a lot to be desired. Simon Delaney impressed with his attacking play but will have to curtail his tendency to give away so many frees. Others who left their mark were Lee Burke, Ross Doyle, John Darmody, Ronan O’Donoghue and Adrian Cummins.
Aherlow can hold their heads high. In their first year of senior hurling they performed well and, but for forward poverty, might have found themselves in a higher place. Steve Chapman, Paddy Hennessy, Cathal O’Shea, Brian Moroney and Thomas Hanley made notable contributions.
Cashel King Cormacs: Kevin O’Sullivan, Tony Hewitt, Ronan O’Donoghue, John Darmody, Edmond O’Dwyer, Lee Burke (0-1), Ross Doyle, Simon Delaney (0-2), Eddie Walsh, Darren O’Dea, Michael Coleman (0-1), Adrian Cummins (0-1), Jonathan Grogan (0-5), Turlough Bonnar (1-0), Dylan Fitzelle (0-2). Subs: Gearóid Slattery for Dylan Fitzelle, Eoin Laffan for Turlough Bonnar.
Aherlow: Gordon Peters, Mark Hanley, Mark O’Shea, Ed O’Meara, Brian Moroney, Cathal O’Shea (1-1), Bernard O’Brien, Tom Hanley, Stephen Chapman, Paddy Hennessy (0-1), Laurence Coskeren, Peter McKnight, Sean Dillon (1-4), Thomas Fahey, Danny Noonan, Sub: John Moloney for Danny Noonan.
Referee: Tom McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney).