Munster Club SHC Final – De La Salle v Thurles Sarsfields

De La Salle take Munster hurling honours

From the web site

Sunday, November 28, 2010

De La Salle (Waterford) 0-9 Thurles Sarsfields (Tipperary) 0-8

De La Salle of Waterford claimed their second Munster senior club hurling title in three years as they held on to defeat Thurles Sarsfields at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Despite only scoring two points in the second half, the Déise club did enough to withstand late pressure, though a tally of 17 wides by the Tipperary champions did their cause no good at all. Playing in a first provincial decider, it’s possible that big-day nerves paralysed them in the first half, when just two points were scored compared to nine wides, and while they did improve after half-time, their attack never got going in the way that it had earlier in this campaign. They were not helped by the conditions, of course. While a lot of the rest of the country was struggling with snow, Cork had avoided it but it was still bitterly cold and the part of the pitch in the shadow of the covered stand was rock-hard, making flowing play very difficult.

The weather no doubt had an effect on the attendance too, with just 1,613 paying spectators, and with the bulk of that crowd being made up of Thurles fans, the atmosphere was fairly quiet in the first half. While John Mullane opened the scoring in the first minute with a free for De La Salle – one of five points he would score – Thurles were enjoying the better of the play in general, but some early poor wides provided a pointer as to what kind of day lay in store for them. Brian Phelan’s free from his own 65 doubled De La Salle’s lead and though Thurles were level by the 11th minute, thanks to a well-worked move which ended with Aidan McCormack pointing before Pa Bourke profited from a lovely Richie Ruth flick.

That would prove to be as good as it good for them, however, as it was the last time the sides were all-square, and three points in as many minutes from Mullane meant that De La Salle had breathing space by the 16th minute. Only for Padraic Maher, who was brilliant at centre-back for Sarsfields, then De La Salle could have been out of sight but as it was they led by five, 0-7 to 0-2, as half-time approached, thanks to points from John Keane and another from Mullane. Thurles’ troubles were manifesting themselves in the form of five bookings – three for fouls on De La Salle’s impressive centre-back Kevin Moran – and by half-time they had shot nine wides, needing something special if they were to turn things around after the restart.

To give them their credit, they took the game to De La Salle at the outset of the second period, and Denis Maher threatened with a goal effort in the 31st minute but his low shot was wide. Lar Corbett’s point from halfway a minute later helped to lift things for them, with the supporters beginning to find their voice and while it took a good Michael Doherty interception to deny Richie Ruth a goal chance on 35, wing-back Stephen Lillis converted the resultant 65 to cut the lead to just three points. Keane’s second point for De La Salle, after he had done well to win a Stephen Brenner puckout, edged them ahead again, but the momentum was with Sarsfields now.

A Lillis free from the middle of the field and another from McCormack, after Michael Gleeson and Corbett had linked well, made it 0-8 to 0-6, but the poor shooting was continuing to cost them, with more chances being wasted. Pa Bourke’s free after Corbett had been fouled in the midst of a good run, left just the minimum between the sides with 12 minutes left, but again De La Salle’s response was impressive, David Greene finding Eoin Madigan on the left touchline and the sub produced a brilliant shot which split the posts. Another Bourke free made it a one-point game again, but though Sarsfields pressed in search of what would have been an equaliser, they could not find it, Denis Maher’s wide in the 62nd minute proving to be their final chance before referee John Sexton, who took charge of the game a day after burying his father, called for the ball.

Thurles Sarsfields will see this as a great opportunity missed, but De La Salle’s journey goes on, with Galway champions Clarinbridge awaiting them in the All-Ireland semi-final after Christmas.

DE LA SALLE: S Brenner; D Russell, I Flynn, M Doherty; B Phelan (0-1f), K Moran, S Daniels; C Watt, D Twomey; P Nevin, D Greene, E Barrett; J Mullane (0-5 0-3f), J Keane (0-2), J Dillon.

Subs: E Madigan (0-1) for Barrett (45), D McGrath for Watt (60).

THURLES SARSFIELDS: P McCormack; D Maher, K O’Gorman, M Cahill; D Kennedy, P Maher, S Lillis (0-2, 0-1 65, 0-1f); A Kennedy, M Gleeson; A McCormack (0-2), D Maher, P Bourke (0-3, 0-2f); L Corbett (0-1), R Ruth, J Enright.

Subs: M O’Brien for Enright (42), J Corbett for Ruth (45), B O’Dwyer for Kennedy (56, injured).

Referee: J Sexton (Cork)

De La Salle (Waterford) - 2010 Munster Club SHC Champions(Photo courtesy of John O'Loughlin)

De La Salle captain Ian Flynn(Photo courtesy of George Hatchell)

AIB Munster Club Junior Football Championship Semi Final – St. Mary’s (Kerry) 3-20 Nenagh Eire Og (Tipperary) 1-4

St. Mary’s (Kerry) defeated Nenagh Eire Og (Tipperary) by 3-20 to 1-4 in the AIB Munster Club Junior Football Championship Semi Final on Sunday in Con Keating Park, Caherciveen.

AIB Munster Club Intermediate Football Championship Final – Gneeveguilla (Kerry) 1-11 St. Breckans (Clare) 0-7

St Breckan’s are blitzed

BY JOE O MUIRCHEARTAIGH for the Clare People newspaper

Gneeveguilla (Kerry) 1-11 – St Breckan’s 0-07 at The Gaelic Grounds, Limerick

MIKO Russell in the St Breckan’s corner over Johnny Leary in the Gneeveguilla corner. We said this confidently last week when parsing this impending football battle down how things would go if traditional music instruments were to be taken out for play. Alas, doubling it up by saying St Breckan’s over Gneeveguilla when it came to football wasn’t for this Munster final day – not by as many jigs, reels, polkas and slides that Miko and Johnny could possibly have dreamt up and played in their day.

Indeed, The Last Post was sounded on this one-sided provincial decider long before the end as Gneeveguilla showed that when it comes to football, there’s no tradition like the Kerry tradition. It was catch and kick and much more as they blitzed St Breckan’s in most departments to continue Kerry’s dominance of the intermediate club championship when it comes to Munster – the fifth time in a row that the title has been won by Kerry.

And, there was little St Breckan’s could do to stop this latest Kerry train. They were second best in too many positions, most notably in the key battleground of midfield and didn’t possess any scoring forward bar Pat Nagle, whose points carried them to this provincial final. With these failings manifesting themselves early on, it wasn’t long before this tame provincial decider, played on the coldest day of the winter so far, descended into a mission impossible for St Breckan’s. In fact, endgame can be traced back to Michael Murphy’s stunning 16th minute goal that represented the crowning glory of a Gneeveguilla purple-patch of ten minutes when they racked up 1-4 without reply.

From being 0-2 to 0-1 down to a spirited and pumped up St Breckan’s side after six minutes, Gneeveguilla proceeded to move through the gears in auto-pilot fashion to effectively kill the game just beyond the first quarter. The qualities of John Paul Brosnan and Don Murphy at midfield were well flagged beforehand, but sometimes being forewarned isn’t forearmed as St Breckan’s were unable to gain anything approaching parity in the sector and it was from there that Gneeveguilla had the platform to power their way to this double-scores triumph. And it was one of Don Murphy’s many soaring catches that helped set Don Murphy on his way to that all-important goal, albeit that Murphy shouldn’t have been allowed an uninterrupted run of some 35 yards before blasting to the net to put his side 1-5 to 0-2 ahead.

It was finger in the dyke stuff from there on, after real hope had floated in the early exchanges when two Pat Nagle points in response to a DJ O’Connor point inside 14 seconds seemed to steel St Breckan’s for the mammoth task at hand. And, even after Gneeveguilla stretched their lead to seven points in the 24th minute thanks to Fergus McAuliffe’s point, there was still hope for the second half thanks to two late Pat Nagle points from frees pegged it back to a five-point game. When Nagle brought it back to four two minutes after the resumption, the prospect of another famous comeback to park along side the semi-final against Clashmore lingered, but only for a few minutes before Gneeveguilla responded with another blast of four points in ten minutes to kill off Breckans’ challenge for once and for all.

It was damage limitation stuff in the closing 20 minutes, but by then all the damage had been done with St Breckan’s second best by a long way. The fact that Gneeveguilla hit 1-6 from play as against only 0-2 for St Breckan’s told it’s own story, while the red cards shown to Conor Cormican and John McDonagh in the 49th and 56th minutes respectively had little bearing on the result.


Patrick O’Riordan, Brendan Sheahan, Eoghan Lawlor, Michael B Murphy, John Sheahan, Padraig O’Connor, Danny O’Connor, John Paul Brosnan, Don Murphy, Michael Murphy (1-1), Fergus McAuliffe (0-1), DJ O’Connor (0-2), Barry O’Leary (0-3), Liam Murphy (0-4f), Donie O’Connor. Subs Gerard Moynihan for McAuliffe [57 Mins], PJ Murphy for Donie O’Connor [58 Mins], Mark Sheahan for Michael Murphy [58 Mins], Donal Murphy for DJ O’Connor [59 Mins], Timmy O’Leary for Danny O’Connor [61 Mins].

St Breckan’s

Craig Flanagan, Daniel Carey, Conor Howley, Sean Howley, Sean Cormican, Darragh Considine, Stephen Tierney (0-1), John McDonagh, Sean O’Connor, Mikey Keating, Sean Rouine, Pat Nagle (0-6, 5f), John Stack, Conor Cormican, Denis O’Driscoll. Subs Cathal Blood for Rouine [19 Mins], Cormac Ó hEithir for Stack [Half-Times], Tony McGann for Sean Howley [39 Mins], Neil Hawes for O’Connor [46 Mins], Declan Curtin for Keating [59 Mins].

Man of the Match – Don Murphy (Gneeveguilla)

Referee Michael Collins (Cork)

AIB Munster Club Junior Football Championship Semi-Final – Bruree (Limerick) 1-8 Tallow (Waterford) 0-6

Bruree (Limerick) defeated Tallow (Waterford) by 1-8 to 0-6 in the AIB Munster Club Junior Football Championship Semi-Final on Sunday in Kilmallock.

2010 Bord Gáis Energy Munster GAA Awards


24th. November 2010

Senior Winners and Manager of the Year Announced for 2010 Bord Gáis Energy Munster GAA Awards

WATERFORD hurler, Michael Walsh, Kerry’s Colm Cooper and Waterford Hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald were today named the top winners of the Bord Gáis Energy Munster GAA Awards 2010. The awards will be presented on Saturday night at a gala dinner in the Malton Hotel in Killarney where over 30 players, officials, referees and legends will receive accolades.

Waterford centre back Michael “Brick” Walsh was outstanding for this year’s Munster Champions winning his third Munster title to add to his NHL medal. He’s been a constant fixture for his county for the last seven years. Kerry’s Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper was announced as Senior Footballer of the Year and he will also be presented his award in Killarney on Saturday night. The footballer has brought his county four All Ireland titles, four Munster titles and three NFL titles since he was first called up to the Kerry team in 2002. Meanwhile Davy Fitzgerald was named Manager of the Year for his leadership of Munster Champions Waterford senior hurling team, a role the Clare man took up two years ago.

Speaking on the announcement of these winners, Bord Gáis Energy Sports Sponsorship Manager Ger Cunningham said “I am delighted that the hard work and achievements of both the Brick and the Gooch will be recognised at the awards this weekend. Both players have been outstanding for their respective counties over the last few years. And I would also like to congratulate Davy Fitzgerald on his well deserved award for his role as manager to the Waterford hurling team”.

Sean Walsh, Chairman of Munster GAA congratulated all the Award winners and said ‘’All Award winners have made a huge contribution to the GAA in the Province and all are deserving recipients of a Munster GAA Award’’

The Bord Gáis Energy Munster GAA Awards will take place this Saturday, 27 November at 8pm.

Full list of winners of the Bord Gáis Energy Munster GAA Awards for 2010 are as follows:

o Hall of Fame Award Hurling – Mick Roche, Tipperary

o Hall of Fame Award Football – Declan Barron, Cork

o Senior Hurling Award – Michael Walsh, Waterford

o Senior Football Award – Colm Cooper, Kerry

o Special Merit Award – Dr. Con Murphy, Cork

o Media Award – Michael Dundon, Tipperary Star

o Referee Award – Batt Moriarty, Kerry

o Education Award – Tom Collum, Tipperary

o Manager of the Year – Davy Fitzgerald, Waterford

o Distinguished Service to GAA Award – Gerald McKenna, Kerry

o Under 21 Hurling Award – Seamus Hennessy, Tipperary

o Under 21 Football Award – Peter Acheson, Tipperary

o Minor Hurling Award – Niall Arthur, Clare

o Minor Football Award – Brian Hurley, Cork

o Camogie Award – Patricia Jackman, Waterford

o Ladies Football Award – Geraldine O’Flynn, Cork

o Intermediate Hurling Award – Eoin Conway, Cork

o Handball Award – Padraig O’Carroll, Limerick

o Junior Football – Michael O’Donoghue, Kerry


19th. November 2010

Camogie, Ladies Football and Handball Winners Announced for 2010 Bord Gáis Energy Munster GAA Awards

Waterford star, Patricia Jackman has been announced as the winner of the Camogie Award for 2010 Bord Gáis Energy Munster GAA Awards. The All Ireland Poc Fada Champion will be awarded her prize at the awards ceremony which is taking place in the Malton Hotel, Killarney on 27 November. Another player to be honoured in ladies GAA is Geraldine O’Flynn, Cork defender and Liscarroll Ladies player who has been named as the recipient of the Ladies Football Award for 2010.

Meanwhile the Handball Award went to Limerick’s Padraig O’Carroll who recently took the Minor Doubles crown at the All Ireland Handball Championship. Speaking on the announcement of these award winners Bord Gáis Energy Sports Sponsorship Manager Ger Cunningham said “All of these winners that have been announced today have achieved superb results for their counties in their respective fields and Bord Gáis Energy is delighted to be associated with the Munster GAA Awards once again for 2010”. The winners of the Senior Football Award, Senior Hurling Award, Manager of the Year and special Merit Award will be announced next week.


16th. November 2010.

Under 21 and Minor Winners Announced for 2010 Bord Gáis Energy Munster GAA Awards

TIPPERARY dominated the Under 21 Bord Gáis Energy Munster GAA Awards for 2010, with winners in hurling and football from the county announced today. Influential Tipperary mid-fielder Seamus Hennessy has scooped Under 21 Hurler of the Year while Tipp football star Peter Acheson was crowned Under 21 Footballer of the Year, The players will be receive their awards at the upcoming Bord Gáis Energy Munster GAA Awards which is taking place on 27 November 2010 in the Malton Hotel, Killarney.

Meanwhile the Minor Hurler award went to Clare’s Niall Arthur and Cork’s Brian Hurley took the Minor Footballer award.

Speaking on the announcement of the Under 21 and Minor winners for 2010, Bord Gáis Energy Sports Sponsorship Manager Ger Cunningham said “There is some amazing talent coming through at U21 and Minor level in GAA and it is fitting that we are recognising our future GAA stars at the Bord Gáis Energy Munster GAA Awards which also honours GAA legends, past and present.”

The Club of the Year for 2010 was also announced today. Thurles Sarsfields, who will play in the Munster Club Senior Hurling Final the day after the Awards Banquet, were selected as Club of the Year in Munster.

Also speaking on the announcement of these awards Sean Walsh, Chairman of Munster GAA said ‘’The Minor and Under 21 players being honoured made significant contributions during this year’s championship’s while Thurles Sarsfields crowned a great year by reaching the Munster Club Hurling Final for the first time in their glorious history’’


11 November 2010

Hall of Fame Winners Announced for 2010 Bord Gáis Energy Munster GAA Awards

Tipp and Cork Legends to join Elite Band

CORK footballing hero Declan Barron and Tipperary hurling star Mick Roche are the latest Munster legends to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, it was announced today. The two greats will be receive their awards at the upcoming Bord Gáis Energy Munster GAA Awards which is taking place on 27 November 2010 in the Malton Hotel, Killarney.

Declan Barron spent most of his footballing career with Bantry Blues and Cork where he won five All-Ireland medals, two at minor, two at under-21 and one at senior in 1973, and two All-Star awards. Tipperary hurler Mick Roche played with Carrick Davins and Tipperary where he won three All-Ireland medals and four Munster medals. Barron and Roche join fellow GAA greats in the Hall of Fame including Seamus Durack, Eamon Cregan, Mick O’Connell and Billy Morgan

Speaking on the announcement of the Hall of Fame winners for 2010, Bord Gáis Energy Sports Sponsorship Manager Ger Cunningham said “Bord Gáis Energy is delighted to be sponsoring the Munster GAA Awards once again for 2010. It is a great event to honour and reward all those who have made significant contributions to Munster’s GAA.”

Sean Walsh Chairman of Munster GAA said ‘’The Munster Council is delighted to be honouring people who have made a huge contribution GAA affairs in the Province. I would like to congratulate all the Award recipients and thank Bord Gais Energy for their continued sponsorship’’.

Other 2010 winners also announced today are Michael Dundon of the Tipperary Star who won the Media Award; Bart Moriarty, Kerry for services to Refereeing; Tom Collum, Tipperary took the Education Award for his work with Schools:; Gerald McKenna, Kerry won the award for Distinguished Service to GAA ; Cork’s Eoin Conway won the Intermediate Hurling Award and Kerry’s Michael O’Donoghue won the Junior Football Award.

This Award scheme was inaugurated in 1998 to honour and acknowledge the achievements of Players, Referees, Administrators and Clubs as well as Special Merit Awards while two former greats are inducted into the Munster Hall of Fame each year.

Colm Cooper accepting the Munster Senior Footballer of the Year award

Mick Roche accepting the Hurling Hall of Fame award

Declan Barron being presented with the Football Hall of Fame award (Photos courtesy of George Hatchell)

Launch of Munster Club Nursery Programme

The Launch of the Munster Club Nursery Programme took place in the Mallow GAA Complex on Tuesday November 23rd.

The idea for the Munster Club Nursery came about by the phenomenal growth of the club nursery system (6 to 10 year olds) over the last number of years in the province. With the surge of new nurseries there has been an increasing demand for guidelines and advice on how to set up, promote and operate club nurseries. This Programme is a direct response to that.

Developing a strong club nursery is an important component of the overall juvenile structure and it is essential that appropriate resources and training procedures are developed to support the best possible nursery programme in club.

The Munster Nursery Programme compliments the ‘’Fun Do’’ resource which was launched a number of years ago and this training and development programme will be an essential tool in supporting our volunteers in the field.

The Munster Club Nursery Programme will be delivered the Games Development Administrators (GDA’s) in the Province and will be delivered on a Divisional basis with two clubs from each of the Divisions initially. It is hoped to have visited and completed the programme in all clubs in the province within four years.

Munster GAA spent €3,000,000 on Coaching and Games development across the Province in 2008 and 2009.

Pictured at the launch of the "Club Child Development Programme "at Mallow GAA Complex are L-R Robert Frost Vice Chairman Munster Council ,Joey Carton Provincial Coaching Manager, Liam O Neill National Chairman of Coaching and Games ,Sean Walsh Chairman Munster Council and Pat O Shea Provincial Coaching Manager pic George Hatchell

Pictured at the launch of the "Club Child Development Programme" at Mallow GAA Complex back row l-rJim Forbes PRO Munster Council Oliver Mann Limerick Delegate to Munster Council, Joey Carton and Pat O Shea Provincial Coaching Managers Front Row Robert Frost Vice Chairman Munster Sean Walsh Chairman Munster Council, Liam O Neill National Chairman Coaching and Games ,John Landers Chairman of the programmes organising Committee pic George Hatchell

Pictured at the launch of the Child ClubDevelopment Programme l-r John o Sullivan Cllare, Michael Power Munster Council Treasurer, John Landers Chairman Organising Committe, and Oliver Mann limerick Delegate Munster Council

Sean Chaplin, Billy Archibald, Eamonn Fennessy, Tom Dwnes Michael O Neill and Pat Fitzgerald attended the launch of the Child Club Development Programme at Mallow GAA Complex

Tesco All-Ireland Intermediate Ladies Club Football Championship Final – West Clare Gaels (Clare) 3-9 St Conleth’s (Laois) 0-8

Ladies Football

by Jackie Cahill

WEST Clare Gaels captured the Tesco All-Ireland Intermediate Ladies club football title in Nenagh on Sunday thanks to a comfortable 3-9 to 0-8 victory against St Conleth’s. West Clare Gaels suffered a heart-breaking All-Ireland junior final defeat in 2007 but atoned for that loss in style with an impressive ten-point victory against their Laois opponents at Nenagh’s MacDonagh Park. Katie Geoghegan, Niamh Lardner and experienced Clare county star Majella Griffin were the scoring stars on a famous day for the club as 15-year-old Shauna Harvey claimed the player of the match award on the back of an outstanding performance.

West Clare Gaels, playing with the aid of a first half breeze, were always in control of this game and led all the way after Leanne Lynch opened the scoring with a point from play. At half-time, West Clare Gaels led by 1-6 to 0-2 and the goal was scored by Lardner six minutes before half-time, following an inspirational run from defence by Sinead Kelly.

Early in the second half, West Clare Gaels were awarded a penalty and Geoghegan made no mistake with a comprehensive finish. Geoghegan netted again five minutes from time and was unlucky not to complete a hat-trick of goals as she rattled a late drive against the St Conleth’s crossbar. Overall, this was a most impressive display from West Clare Gaels, who had ten starters from the team that lined out in the 2007 junior decider. West Clare Gaels dominated proceedings but for St Conleth’s, Claire O’Connell enjoyed a fine game and finished with a personal tally of seven points, including five frees.

Scorers for West Clare Gaels: K Geoghegan 2-1 (1-0 pen), N Lardner 1-2, M Griffin 0-4 (3f), M Kelly & L Lynch 0-1 each.

Scorers for St Conleth’s: C O’Connell 0-7 (5f), M Allen 0-1

Munster Club IHC Final – Ballymartle 2-14 Borrisokane 0-8

Dwyer brace sinks Borrisokane

From the Irish Indepedent newspaper

Ballymartle 2-14 Borrisokane 0-8

Monday November 22 2010

Dan Dwyer was the toast of Ballymartle after his two first-half goals ensured his side of victory in a lopsided decider at the Gaelic Grounds. The Cork champions had the benefit of the stiff breeze in the first half during which they racked up an amazing 10 wides. However, they chalked up 2-8 in the same period when all the Tipperary side could manage was a single point.

The sides were level at 0-1 each after seven minutes, but Ballymartle tacked on points by Barry Dwyer and Brian Corry to open up an 0-4 to 0-1 advantage. Then came the first of Dwyer’s goals. He ran on to a long delivery out of defence and rifled to the net past Declan McCarthy. That goal came after 10 minutes and when the same player scored his second 10 minutes later, it left his side 2-5 to 0-1 clear. Three further points from Barry Dwyer made it 2-8 to a solitary point at half-time. Borrisokane made a better fist of matters in the second half, but their cause was lost having fallen so far behind before the break.

Scorers — Ballymartle: D Dwyer 2-1, B Dwyer 0-6 (0-4f, 0-1’65), B Corry 0-4,J Dwyer 0-2, R O’Dwyer 0-1. Borrisokane: A Hogan, C Larkin (0-2f), T Slevin (0-2f) 0-2 each, B Davis, S Dooley 0-1 each.

Ballymartle — D McCarthy; D Coleman, M Tobin, D Dwyer; D Edmonds, P O’Dwyer, N Sheehan; S Corry, G Webb; R Dwyer, B Corry, B Dwyer; P Coughlan, J Dwyer, D Dwyer. Subs: S O’Mahoney for Coughlan (h-t), J Kelly for Sheehan (55), E Kelly for Webb (58), C Sheehan for S Corry (59).

Borrisokane — P Egan; C Dooley, K Gleeson, P Moriarty; R Davis, E Forde, D Kennedy; T Slevin, S Cleary; P Austin, E Larkin, G McMahon; A Hogan, C Larkin, G Harding. Subs: C Forde for Davis (16), A Comerford for Larkin (27), S Dooley for McMahon (33), B Davis for Harding (47), R Guest for Kennedy (59).

REF– M O’Connor (Limerick)

Munster Council Chairman Sean Walsh presents the Hoare Cup to Ballymartle Captain Patrick Dwyer (Photo courtesy of George Hatchell)

2010 Munster Intermediate Club Hurling Champions Ballymartle (Cork) (Photo courtesy of George Hatchell)

AIB Munster Club Junior Football Championship – St. Mary’s (Kerry) 1-12 Cloyne (Cork) 2-4

St. Mary’s (Kerry) defeated Cloyne (Cork) by 1-12 to 2-4 in the AIB Munster Football Junior Club Championship on Sunday in Carrigtwohill.

AIB Munster Club Senior Football Championship Semi-Final – Dr. Crokes (Kerry) 2-11 Aherlow (Tipperary) 0-9

Amazing escape for Crokes

Dr Crokes (Kerry) 2-11 Aherlow (Tipperary) 0-09

By Diarmuid O’Flynn for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, November 22, 2010

IF ever a final scoreline told a blatant lie, this was it. At half-time of this defence-dominated Munster club SFC semi-final in Cashel yesterday, red-hot favourites Dr Crokes trailed by three points, 0-6 to 0-3, and a major shock looked on the cards. After 60 minutes, heading into the three signalled minutes of injury-time, they had managed just one more score – a very fortunate goal – and still trailed by two points, 0-8 to 1-3. In the fourth minute of that injury-time, however, Crokes centre-back Luke Quinn stole forward for his second point in two minutes and denied Aherlow a win that even the most partisan of Crokes supporters would not have begrudged them.

So to extra time. With Aherlow out on their feet after a colossal physical effort, it was one-way traffic; a second soft goal, a succession of points, and the expected result was realised. “That was by the skin of our teeth!” said a relieved Shane Myers, man-of-the-match for Crokes. “We had heard stories about how tough these boys are, and they really put it up to us – we were very lucky to get the draw at full-time. “Fair dues to the boys, they put their shoulder to the wheel in extra-time and we got through. But two lucky goals – we’ll take them! The physicality was huge, their sheer physical strength. We got through it in the end but we had work very hard for every single score. It was a battle right to the finish.”

It was actually that sheer physical effort that cost Aherlow, ultimately. Crokes are a running/passing/possession team, patient in the build-up, but they got no space yesterday, no time on the ball, as every Aherlow player on the pitch ran himself to a standstill. Three points was all Crokes managed in the first half with Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper man-marked brilliantly by Tipp senior Ciarán McDonald, while full-forward Barry Grogan and midfielder Stuart Moloney each kicked two excellent points for Aherlow, contributing handsomely to that three-point half-time lead.

It was the same story in the second half as the Gooch was forced outfield where his footballing genius became apparent and he pulled the strings for Crokes. Aherlow were still closing off every avenue of attack so much so that Crokes were struggling even to get out of their own half. Were it not for the goal – a long ball in the 38th minute by wing-forward Andrew Kenneally that deceived keeper Brian Moroney – it would have been a shut-out for the second half and those two injury-time Quinn points would have counted for nothing.

In these heavy conditions that work-rate was simply unsustainable for an extra 20 minutes, and where Crokes were in the luxury position of being able to introduce subs of the calibre of Kieran O’Leary, Ambrose O’Donovan and Shane O’Neill in normal time, all of whom contributed handsomely to their cause, the little club from the Aherlow glens was far more restricted and came up short. Nevertheless, it was a proud day for them, and for manager Liam Kearns though he wasn’t best pleased with the man in the middle. “I did say we were going to give them loads, and I expected we’d win this game – I’m gutted for the players. There’s no way Crokes should have got out of here with a win – we played them off the park for 60 minutes, we couldn’t have played any better. I thought the referee played for the draw, which is very disappointing from our point of view. He signalled three minutes of injury-time, played four, and where he got it from I don’t know. It was such an injustice, but that’s what always seems to happen to underdogs. I’m fierce proud of my players, they were brilliant to a man. I gave them a game-plan and they followed it better than any county team I’ve ever had. “Crokes didn’t know where they were so much of that game, didn’t know what was happening – I’m so proud of those players, and gutted for them now.”

Scorers for Dr Crokes: L Quinn 1-2; J Buckley 0-3; K O’Leary 0-3; A Kenneally 1-0; D Casey (free), C Cooper (free), B Looney, 0-1 each.

Scorers for Aherlow: B Grogan 0-4 (0-1 free); S Moloney 0-3; B O’Brien, T Hanley, 0-1 each.

DR. CROKES: C Cronin; D O’Leary, M Moloney, J Payne; S Myers, L Quinn, S Doolan; J Buckley, B McMahon; A Kenneally, E Brosnan, B Looney (c); C Cooper, D Casey, C Brady.

Subs: K O’Leary (Brady 44); A O’Donovan (Looney 53); S O’Neill (Kenneally 60+1); B Looney (McMahon 76); N O’Connell (Brosnan 78).

AHERLOW: B Moroney; M O’Brien, M Hanley, Ciarán McDonald; Chris McDonald, C Dillon, S Mullins; J Hennessey, S Moloney; B O’Brien, S Grogan, L Coskeran; T Hanley, B Grogan, D Peters.

Subs: C O’Shea (T Hanley 44); T Fahey (B O’Brien 57); B O’Brien (Coskeran 69); T Hanley (M O’Brien 75).

Referee: R Hickey (Eire Óg, Ennis)