Clean Ireland Recycling Tipperary Junior A Hurling Championship Final
Moycarkey-Borris 2-15 Knockavilla Kickhams 2-13
Report by Ed Donnelly
Moycarkey-Borris secured a hard-earned two point victory over Knockavilla Kickhams at a windswept Leahy Park in Cashel on Saturday November 2nd. A 47th minute penalty by Pat Ralph proved the decisive score in an entertaining game, the result of which was in doubt up to the final whistle.
Knockavilla won the toss and elected to play against the strong wind in the first half. In order to combat the effects of the strong wind, Knockavilla placed Paul Breen as a spare defender and this tactic worked well during the opening period. Knockavilla opened the scoring with a first minute point from play by corner-forward Killian Loughman before Moycarkey opened their account with a Phil Kelly point from play in the third minute. Three further Moycarkey points from Pat Ralph (2 frees, 1 from play) helped the Mid champions in to a 0-4 to 0-2 lead after ten minutes.
With Knockavilla winning many of the 50/50 battles at this stage, Moycarkey needed a goal to push home their wind advantage and the green flag was duly raised in the 12th minute. Moycarkey’s Donie Bergin worked hard to win possession on the wing before setting up Phil Kelly who hit a rasper to the net after a short run to put Moycarkey five points in front. Moycarkey stretched their lead to seven points by the 20th minute with further points by Ralph (2) and Niall Heffernan.
Knockavilla needed to keep in touch at this stage and scored a goal in the 22nd minute to do just that. Wing-forward Peter Comerford got in behind the Moycarkey defence and after a long solo run, saw his goalbound shot well saved by Moycarkey goalkeeper John Kelly. Comerford kept going however and was in the right place to dispatch the rebound to the net despite the best efforts of the Moycarkey rearguard to reduce the deficit to three points. There was little between the sides for the remainder of the half as the Knockavilla defence were on top in most areas and by the interval, Moycarkey were in front by 1-10 to 1-5.
Moycarkey made a change at midfield at the start of the second half with Aidan Maher replacing Ger Carey. From the throw-in, Moycarkey worked the ball upfield and Donie Bergin added a point from play to stretch their lead to six points. Knockavilla responded with three unanswered points from Brendan Ryan (free), Shane Morrissey and Daniel Breen to leave just a goal between the teams. Pat Ralph responded with two pointed frees for Moycarkey sandwiched between a Conor Horan point for Kickhams. In the 40th minute, a long delivery in to the Moycarkey full-back line got a deflection from Paul Breen (now operating to good effect at wing-forward) with the ball ending up in the Moycarkey net to leave just one point between the sides – 1-13 to 2-9.
The next score would be crucial from here and during a period of stoppages, Moycarkey made some alterations to their team, bringing Phil Kelly back to centre-back and moving Eamon Flanagan up to full-forward with Robert Doran going to centre-forward. It didn’t take long for these changes to have the desired effect as Eamon Flanagan won possession in front of the Knockavilla goal only to be pulled down by the Kickhams defenders at the expense of a penalty. Pat Ralph stepped up and while his goalbound shot was partially blocked on the line, it was not sufficient to stop the ball going over the line and this goal put Moycarkey in to a four point lead again.
The final stages of the game were played out mainly in front of the Moycarkey-Borris goal as the Kickhams piled on the pressure. The West champions reduced the deficit to three points on two occasions only to see Pat Ralph responding with unerring accuracy from frees. As the game entered injury time, Moycarkey were still in front by four points. Given that there was a significant number of stoppages during the second half, there was still plenty of time for Kickhams to seek the scores that could rescue the game. Injury time points by Paul Breen and Tommy Comerford (free) left just two points between the teams but alas, the Moycarkey defence stood firm to run out the clock and secure a hard earned victory by two points.
Afterwards, Mid Board Chairman John Devane presented the cup to the Moycarkey-Borris captain Phil Kelly.
Moycarkey-Borris: John Kelly; Jeff Fallon, Gary O’Connell, Joseph O’Sullivan; Gerry McGuire, Eamon Flanagan, Mossy Bracken; Ger Carey, Brian Moran; Pat Ralph (1-11, 1-9 frees), John Bergin (0-1), Robert Doran; Donie Bergin (0-1), Phil Kelly (1-1), Niall Heffernan (0-1)
Subs: Aidan Maher for Ger Carey, Matty Ryan for Donie Bergin, Kieran Shortall for Gerry McGuire
Knockavilla Kickhams: Thomas Ryan; Davy Horgan, Rory O’Dwyer, David Shanahan; Padraig Morrissey, Tommy Comerford (0-1 free), Stephen Griffey; Shane Morrissey (0-2), Conor Horan (0-2); Ger Farrell, Daniel Breen (0-1), Peter Comerford (1-0); Killian Loughman (0-1), Paul Breen (1-1), Brendan Ryan (0-5, 0-4 frees, 0-1 sideline cut)
Referee – Johnny McDonnell (Roscrea)
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