Although the circumstances associated with this semi-final in the Tipperary Water County Under-21A Hurling Championship were wholly unsatisfactory from an administrative point of view Kiladangan impressively saw off the challenge of Clonoulty-Rossmore.
Tipperary Water County Under-21A
Hurling Championship Semi-Final
Kiladangan 1-18 Clonoulty-Rossmore 1-7
The West men were crowned divisional champions on Saturday when beating Cashel King Cormacs (2-16 to 2-7) and were then asked to take on Kiladangan just twenty-four hours later. On Sunday at Templetuohy Clonouty-Rossmore tried hard against the North champions, but struggled against a Kiladangan side who now find themselves pitted against Holycross-Ballycahill in the county under-21A hurling final.
Dillon Quirke, Jimmy Ryan, David Egan, Mikey Ryan and Enda Heffernan had their moments, but the Clonoulty-Rossmore team struggled to make a significant impact on this contest with the Kiladangan half-back line of Ciarán Kelly, James Quigley and Decky McGrath were utterly dominant. Goalkeeper Barry Hogan picked the opposition apart on re-starts, Willie Connors made a big impression at midfield and Billy Seymour caught the eye at full-forward while Andy Loughnane put in an extraordinary shift at half-forward.
The sides traded frees initially before Billy Seymour grabbed a ball in the ninth minute, turned smartly and fired Kiladangan into a 0-3 to 0-2 lead. Two minutes later a Cathal Bourke free tied the game, but between the 11th and 20th minutes Kiladangan dominated and out-scored their opponents 0-4 to 0-1 to force themselves into a 0-7 to 0-4 lead. Willie Connors converted three placed balls during this period while Billy Seymour added a cracker from play - Clonouty-Rossmore’s response arrived courtesy of Dillon Quirke.
Kiladangan then conjured a terrific goal-scoring opportunity in the 22nd minute when Dan O’Meara played in Tom O’Meara, but the corner-forward kicked wide. Two minutes later Clonoulty-Rossmore threatened when Cathal Bourke tried to barge his way toward goal, but disciplined defending from the Kiladangan forced an over-carry.
Cathal Bourke cracked over a terrific point in the 28th minute to leave two between the sides (0-7 to 0-5) before Clonoulty-Rossmore ‘keeper David Egan pulled off a great save when denying Bryan McLoughney a goal following terrific work from Andy Loughnane. Willie Connors converted the resultant ’65 and Kiladangan led 0-8 to 0-5 at the break.
A Mikey Ryan point during the opening minute of the second half reduced the deficit to two, but Kiladangan then proceeded to hit 1-3 without reply to take a commanding lead (1-11 to 0-6).
In the 33rd minute Kiladangan looked certain to open their goal-scoring account when Dan O’Meara raced through and fired in a blistering shot, but Clonoulty goalkeeper David Egan saved brilliantly at the expense of a ’65 which Willie Connors converted.
Ciarán Kelly landed a long-range free from inside his own 65-yard line soon after before Andy Loughnane’s goal-bound effort was blocked by Ronan Heffernan. Willie Connors converted another free soon after before, finally, Kiladangan plundered the goal that their dominance deserved. When a Clonoulty half-back dithered on the ball Dan O’Meara and Bryan McLoughney pounced; the ball was turned over and McLoughney belted home the opening goal of the game in the 39th minute (1-11 to 0-6).
Clonoulty-Rossmore struck back with a three-pointer of their own a minute later when Odhran Quirke pulled on Dillon Quirke’s searching sideline ball.
That strike failed to check the progress of the Kiladangan men, however, with three successive left-handed points from Bryan McLoughney, Billy Seymour and man of the match Andy Loughnane helping the North champions toward a 1-14 to 1-6 advantage by the 44th minute.
Clonoulty-Rossmore were now reduced to going for goal from 21-yard frees - in the 46th, 48th and 51st minutes Cathal Bourke and Dillon Quirke alternatively had a go at beating Barry Hogan in the Kiladangan goal, but failed on each occasion.
Meanwhile Ciarán Kelly, Darren Ryan and Willie Connors (two, one free) added to the Kiladangan tally while a Cathal Bourke free brought the scoring to a conclusion from a Clonoulty-Rossmore point of view in the 51st minute.
Kiladangan: Barry Hogan, Darragh Molloy, Darren Moran, Darragh Flannery, Ciarán Kelly (0-2, 0-1 frees), James Quigley, Decky McGrath, Willie Connors (0-10, 0-7 frees, 0-2 ‘65s), Darren Ryan (0-1), Andy Loughnane (0-1), Dan O’Meara, Bryan McLoughney (1-1), Eoin Meagher, Billy Seymour (0-3), Tom O’Meara. Subs: (47th) Ben Banaghan for Tom O’Meara, (57th) Eoghan Sharkey for Darren Ryan, (60th) Mathew Cleary for Bryan McLoughney, (60th) Ronan Ducie for Darragh Flannery.
Clonoulty-Rossmore: David Egan, Aidan Loughman, Ronan Heffernan, Adam Fryday, Jimmy Ryan, Enda Heffernan, Donnachadh Quirke, Martin Ryan, Stevie Quinn, Odhran Quirke (1-0), Dillon Quirke (0-1), Cathal Bourke (0-5, 0-4 frees), James Hammersley, Mikey Ryan (0-1), Nathan Slattery. Subs: (39th) Dylan Kennedy for Adam Fryday, (46th) Ger Mockler for Martin Ryan.
Referee: Paddy Ivors (Ballingarry).