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2010 North Tipperary Minor ‘C' Hurling Championship Final

posted 7 Jan 2011, 14:21 by Unknown user

Rovers Gaels win first Minor ‘C’ title

Shannon Rover Gaels 3-15
Ballinahinch 2-07

Ger Gavin North Tipperary Minor ‘C’ Hurling Championship Final

Report by Liam Hogan in Nenagh Photographs by Bridget Delaney.

A fantastic third quarter helped Shannon Rovers Gaels capture their first North Minor ‘C’ Hurling title following an eleven point win over Ballinahinch on Sunday afternoon.

Rovers Gaels produced a more determined performance which helped them overcome a first quarter deficit of five points before taking a 1-7 to 1-6 lead at half time. The winning margin stretched to eleven by hours end, suggesting that the win was easy.

However it far from easy as Ballinahinch proved to be a tough net to crack. Brendan Ryan’s 51st minute goal was all they could muster but their plight may have been made much easier but for the brilliance of Rovers Gael’s goalkeeper, Eanna McLoughney who made three fantastic saves.

The fifteen year old marked his first appearance in goal, as a replacement for Paddy Heenan, who was unable to play due to a broken thumb with saves in the 38th, 50th and 52nd minute following in the footsteps of his father, Patrick, who managed the same deeds not so long ago.

McLoughney shared the limelight along with the remainder of the team who worked so hard for the cause including Eamon Costello, Collie Browne, Padraig O’Meara, Andrew Byrne, Austin Tierney, Tom Hogan and Philly Kennedy.

Ballinahinch battled to the end and had they secured those three goals, the margin would be much closer at the end. Brendan Ryan and Kevin Fitzgerald were very prominent with John Ryan Bawn, Patrick Lynch and Paddy Kelly never giving up at half back. James Healy caught the eye at corner back as Darragh McGrath could not be faulted in goal.

Rovers Gaels began in whirlwind fashion but missed at least three goal opportunities in the opening five minutes. Eventually, Paraic O’Meara opened the scoring with a seventh minute free.

Two points by Brendan Ryan and David Ryan gave Ballinahinch the lead after 11 minutes. A quick reply by Austin Tierney point following a supply by Andrew Byrne left the teams level.

Further points by Brendan Ryan, the first from a free followed by a superb score from play saw Ballinahinch begin to find their feet. Just on the quarter hour mark, Ryan went for another point but the ball dropped short. Eanna McLoughney collected but lost possession and corner forward, David Ryan, was in like a flash to probe the ball over the line.

By moving Andrew Byrne to midfield, Rovers began to regain lost ground. Pio Downey moved to the inside forward line and his first touch from the left flank created danger in front of the Ballinahinch goalmouth before Austin Tierney first timed to the Ballinahinch net. By the 20th minute Rovers were level after Padraig O’Meara added a free and this was followed by an Austin Tierney point from the right wing.

A pointed free by Padraig O’Meara followed by a good score by Andrew Byrne put Rover two ahead with O’Meara this time a difficult twenty metre free from the touchline.

But Ballinahinch stood manfully to their task and by half time they had whittled back the lead as Brendan Ryan and Kevin Fitzgerald made it 1-7 to 1-6 at the break.

Whatever breeze was available, it favoured Rovers Gaels in the second half and within five minutes of second half action, they stretched their lead to six points. The scoring spree began with a Padraig O’Meara pointed free on the 33rd minute. One minute later, some clever play by Steve Stack put Andrew Byrne through for another point. The follow up was lethal as Austin Tierney cut through the Ballinahinch cover and following a high lob, Pio Downey gained possession before kicking low to the net.

Ballinahinch responded which forced Eanna McLoughney make a point blank save. Once the Gaels cleared, Tom Hogan then found Philly Kennedy who went through to grab a point.

Ballinahinch rallied again with Brendan Ryan, Cathal Ryan and Kevin Mulcahy leading the way and when play had reached the 40th minutes, substitute, Sean Finn scored on his first touch. But Rovers Gaels wanted victory more and following lengthy clearances by Eamon Costello and the ever present Andrew Byrne, they brought play into opposition territory from where Padraig O’Meara raced through for his team’s third goal.

Three rapid points followed the first by O’Meara from play, followed by a Downey special with another O’Meara free leaving day light between the teams, 3-13 to 1-7 and thirteen minutes on the clock.

Despite being in arrears, Ballinahinch displayed real spirit and they forced

McLoughney to make another great save in the 50th minute. A minute later, McLoughney was beaten with a Brendan Ryan rasper. One minute later, Cathal Ryan bore down on goal but he brought the best out of McLoughney once more.

The save took the last ounce of life from Ballinahinch and realising that the game was in the bag, Rovers Gaels raised their lead with two more points thanks to Padraig O’Meara and Steve Stack.