A Michael Heffernan '65 at the end of two periods of extra time earned Nenagh Éire Óg a draw against Kiladangan following a highly-entertaining Hibernian Inn North Tipperary Senior Hurling Championship semi-final played at a showery Templederry last Friday night.
Hibernian Inn North Tipperary Senior Hurling Semi Final
Kiladangan 2-22 Nenagh Éire Óg 2-22 after extra-time
Heffernan showed nerves of steel to bring parity for the eleventh time after eighty minutes of a sea-saw battle - Alan Flynn had given Kiladangan what looked like the winner two minutes earlier.
The sides finished level at 1-17 each in normal time after Tommy Heffernan had grabbed his fifth point of the night. In the end a draw was the fairest result while both sides will feel they had their chance of clinching it especially Nenagh who hit a massive twenty-three wides over the eighty minutes.
Nenagh dominated the opening quarter to take a 0-5 to 0-2 lead, but Kiladangan came level at 0-5 each after new freetaker Bryan McLoughney had levelled after twenty-one minutes. McLoughney was the star forward. He took over the free-taking duty from Darragh Egan who limped off after five minutes to finish top scorer on 2-6 with 2-2 from play. Andy Loughnane - who replaced Egan - hit a great evening and matched Tommy Heffernan with five points from play. However forward play was not the only shining star as Joe Gallagher and Alan Flynn shone for Kiladangan while Daire Quinn and Conor McCarthy shone best for Nenagh.
Kiladangan goalkeeper Barry Hogan caused endless worry for Nenagh with his lengthy puck-outs. He had accuracy and he picked out Johnny Horan at midfield for the latter to score from half way to give Kiladangan a 0-8 to 0-7 lead. The game sparked to life with that score and Killian Gleeson levelled with an equally impressive score a minute before the break.
Barry Hogan’s next puck-out had Nenagh under pressure when Billy Seymour raced through and set up Bryan McLoughney who gave Shane Hennessey no chance for the game’s opening goal. Tommy Heffernan hit back with a point, but Tadgh Gallagher secured his second point of the half to leave a goal separating the teams at half-time: Kiladangan 1-9 Nenagh Éire Óg 0-9.
FIVE IN FRONT
Andy Loughnane increased Kiladangan’s lead ten seconds after the restart and Ciaran Kelly moved Kiladangan five in front with a great score three minutes later. Kiladangan were gaining momentum, but their run received a set-back two minutes later when Philip Hickey slipped past the hard-working Darren Moran to score Nenagh’s opening goal.
Another Ciaran Kelly point moved Kiladangan three in front. Killian Gleeson replied with his second before Billy Seymour moved Kiladangan three in front with a great score from out on the wing.
Jake Morris took over from Michael Heffernan on the frees and the Tipp under-21 player scored the first of three unanswered points for Nenagh with Paddy Murphy (now operating half-forward) and Tommy Heffernan on target. Jake Morris added another free to give Nenagh the lead for the first time in twenty-six minutes, a lead which only lasted seconds as Declan McGrath levelled before Barry Hogan scored a free for the lead from ninety five metres.
Kiladangan upped the tempo as Loughnane and McLoughney stretched their lead to three with four minutes remaining.
Both defences were at full stretch, but Nenagh’s wides were mounting with the number now reaching fourteen. However it began to come right in the final minutes of normal time with Jake Morris securing two frees before Tommy Heffernan drew the sides level.
In the first period of extra-time Nenagh won a penalty when Michael Heffernan was fouled. Kiladangan might feel that Declan McGrath should have been given a free out, but the decision stood and Barry Heffernan fired home a low ball beyond Barry Hogan’s reach.
Bryan McLoughney replied with a free, but Paddy Murphy put three between the teams once more. Not to be outdone Andy Loughnane added two more, the second from a poor clearance after Tadgh Gallagher’s low shot was saved by Shane Hennessy.
With the opening period was coming to a close James Mackey became Nenagh’s sixth forward to score. Nenagh looked good, but another Barry Hogan puck-out dropped close to the Nenagh thirty-metre line and Alan Flynn collected before putting Bryan McLoughney through for his second goal. Kiladangan were two in front 2-21 to 2-19.
Nenagh fought back. Andrew Coffey was fouled and Morris was on target.
The teams changed ends one more time, but seven minutes of the second half elapsed before James Mackey levelled following a lengthy puck-out from Shane Hennessey.
As expected Kiladangan responded. Eoin Kelly had replaced Fergal Hayes and Kelly’s first touch made space for a supporting Alan Flynn to give Kiladangan the lead one more time.
There was two more minutes of nail-biting tension and Nenagh won a disputed '65 which Michael Heffernan pointed to bring the teams level and force a replay.
Kiladangan: Barry Hogan (0-1, 0-1 free); Darren Moran, Martin Minehan, Fergal Hayes; Declan McGrath (0-1), Joe Gallagher, Jack Loughnane; Alan Flynn (0-2), Johnny Horan (0-1); Tadgh Gallagher (0-2), Dan O’Meara, Ciaran Kelly (0-2); Bryan McLoughney (2-6, 0-3 frees, 0-1 '65), Darragh Egan (0-1, 0-1 free), Billy Seymour (0-1). Subs: Andy Loughnane (0-5) for Egan (5th); Darragh Flannery for C Kelly (67th); Eoin Kelly for F Hayes (75th).
Nenagh Éire Óg: Shane Hennessey; Conor Ryan, Noel Maloney, John Brennan; Conor McCarthy, Barry Heffernan (1-0, 1-0 penalty), Daire Quinn (0-1); Killian Gleeson (0-2), Andrew Coffey; Philip Hickey (1-0), Michael Heffernan (0-2, 0-1 free, 0-1 '65), Jake Morris (0-8, 0-5 frees); Tommy Heffernan (0-5), Paddy Murphy (0-2), James Mackey (0-2). Subs: Adam Gratton for Brennan (64th); Hugh Maloney for McCarthy (ET); Adam Healy for P Hickey (77th).
Referee: Conor Doyle (Silvermines).
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