McGrath brothers propel Loughmore to a narrow Tipperary division two league final win over Kilruane

Brian McDonnell

Reporter:

Brian McDonnell

Email:

bmcdonnell@tipperarystar.ie

McGrath brothers propel Loughmore to a narrow Tipperary division two league final win over Kilruane

Captain Noel McGrath pictured collecting the Jim McDevitt Cup from County Board vice-chairman Joe Kennedy following Loughmore-Castleiney’s win over Kilruane MacDonagh's.

Noel and John McGrath inspired Loughmore-Castleiney to a one-point win over Kilruane MacDonagh’s in the division two final of the Tipperary Water County Hurling League at St Flannan’s Park, Moneygall on Wednesday evening, August 1st. Although Kilruane trailed by six points entering the final quarter the MacDonagh’s mounted a terrific comeback and appeared to have earned Liam O’Shea’s men a shot at extra-time only for Noel McGrath to set up brother John for a winner in the 63rd minute.

Tipperary Water County Hurling
League Division Two Final
Loughmore-Castleiney 4-14
Kilruane MacDonagh’s 3-16

Loughmore-Castleiney regularly appeared the more accomplished outfit in this decider. Indeed, Declan Laffan’s men led 1-8 to 0-5 late in the opening half. However, Liam O’Shea’s men fought back brilliantly and battled their way into a 2-8 to 1-8 interval lead. Loughmore did dominate the third quarter, thanks in no small part to two Liam McGrath goals, but Kilruane hit back in a thrilling finish with the re-location of Séamus Hennessy to full-back working the oracle for a Kilruane side coached by Cormac McGrath (Ballinahinch).

Please note that one notable aspect of this final was the outstanding (and sensible) refereeing of Clonoulty-Rossmore’s Fiachra O’Keeffe who expertly guided the respective players through his decisions and never put a foot wrong.

Watch captain Noel McGrath collect the Jim McDevitt Cup from County Board vice-chairman Joe Kennedy following Loughmore-Castleiney’s 4-14 to 3-16 win over Kilruane MacDonagh's in the division two final of the Tipperary Water County Hurling League at Moneygall.

FIRST HALF

The sides traded points initially before efforts from Tomás Hogan and Séamus Hennessy (free) opened a two-point gap (0-4 to 0-2) in favour of the Kilruane men with ten minutes played. However, with Noel McGrath pulling the strings from centre-forward Loughmore-Castleiney proceeded to out-score their opponents 0-3 to 0-1 to tie the game before John Meagher’s long-range free broke to John McGrath in the 18th minute and the inter-county star buried his shot in the top left-hand corner (1-5 to 0-5).

John McGrath added two more efforts to the Loughmore tally (one ’65) before a Noel McGrath strike opened a six-point gap by the 26th minute (1-8 to 0-5).

To their absolute credit Kilruane thundered back into this contest when blasting 2-3 without reply during the closing minutes of the opening half. The MacDonagh’s rallied with points from Séamus Hennessy (free), Mark O’Neill and Eoin Williams before Seán McAdams’ swirling sideline ball flew into the top corner of the net in the 29th minute. Seconds later Thomas Cleary buried a second Kilruane three-pointer and Liam O’Shea’s men led 2-8 to 1-8 at the break.

SECOND HALF

During the opening two minutes of the second half Loughmore hit 1-1 and duly wrestled back the initiative - John McGrath notched the point and then featured during the build-up to a Liam McGrath three-pointer.

A Séamus Hennessy free tied it up once more, but Loughmore then conjured a brace of goals to race six points clear - Liam McGrath scooted in to score the first and although Kilruane ‘keeper Thomas Williams saved brilliantly from Noel McGrath in the 38th minute John McGrath was on hand to smash in the rebound (4-9 to 2-9).

Showing plenty of smarts the Kilruane management reorganised their side and despite trailing 2-11 to 4-11 entering the final quarter the MacDonagh’s surged back into this contest. Conor Lillis helped himself to a smashing goal in the 48th minute before Niall O’Meara smacked over a free. Noel McGrath responded soon after for Loughmore, but Kilruane were benefitting from Darragh Peters’ presence in the middle third and successive points from Niall O’Meara (two, one free) and Peters tied the game (3-15 to 4-12) with just three minutes to play.

John McGrath converted a late ’65 to edge Loughmore back in front, but extra-time appeared a distinct possibility when Séamus Hennessy cantered forward and drilled over a free in the third minute of injury time.

Just then, however, the McGrath brothers sparkled: Noel found space in the middle third of the field and called for the ball. Goalkeeper Evan Sweeney picked Noel out with an absolute laser beam of a puck-out and Noel raced into the Kilruane half of the field. John McGrath looped out from corner-forward, positioned himself neatly in the pocked behind his brother; Noel recycled and John fired over. Game over.

Pictured are the Loughmore-Castleiney panel of players celebrating their division two league final win over Kilruane.

MATCH DETAILS

Loughmore-Castleiney: Evan Sweeney, Lorcan Egan, Joseph Hennessy, Denis Brereton, John Ryan, John Meagher, Tom King, Tomás McGrath, Eoghan Ryan, Ciarán Connolly, Noel McGrath (0-3), Liam Treacy (0-1), John McGrath (2-8, 0-3 ‘65s, 0-1 frees), Ciarán McGrath (0-1), Liam McGrath (2-1). Subs: (52nd) Anthony Ryan for Tom King.

Kilruane MacDonagh’s: Thomas Williams, James Cleary, Darragh Peters (0-1), Eoin Hogan, Caoilainn Conroy, Niall O’Meara (0-4, 0-3 frees), Ray McLoughney, Justin Cahill (0-1), Mark O’Neill (0-1), Tomás Hogan (0-1), Conor Cleary (0-1, 0-1 frees), Séamus Hennessy (0-4, 0-4 frees), Seán McAdams (1-0, 1-0 sideline), Thomas Cleary (1-1), Eoin Williams (0-1). Subs: (HT) Conor Lillis (1-1) for Mark O’Neill, (42nd) Declan Barrett for Seán McAdams, (50th) Conor Austin for Eoin Williams, (50th) Rob Austin for Tomás Hogan.

Referee: Fiachra O’Keeffe (Clonoulty-Rossmore).

FURTHER READING

To keep up to date with all the sporting news in Tipperary please click here - to follow the Tipperary Star sports team on twitter please click here - to follow sports editor Brian McDonnell on Twitter please click here. Alternatively, you can also like the Tipperary Star on Facebook.