Kennedy, Lonergan and Cass axis pushes St Mary’s through to South final

South MHC ‘A’ semi-final

South MHC ‘A’ semi-final

St. Marys 2-19

Mullinahone CJK 3-13

The reign of Mullinahone CJK as Tipperary minor hurling ‘A’ champions came to an end in Kilsheelan on Saturday when they went under to a more balanced St. Marys team in an exciting “Chadwicks” semi-final. Earlier in the season in the league section the Clonmel lads had scored a rather easy victory over the champions but on Saturday the game went down to the wire as CJK fought to the end to hang on to their crown. Indeed had a cracking drive from Luke Mullally gone to the net in injury time when he was placed and left unmarked from a free, instead of being blocked for a 65 we would have had extra time and who knows?

However Marys were fully deserving of their win. Halfway through the first half they were nine points 3-4 to 0-4 in arrears as CJK took advantage of the wind at their backs and a slackness in the Marys backline. However they didn’t panic and they replied immediately to Luke Mullally’s second goal and Mullinahone’s third with one from Jason Lonergan. This was a vital score and it stopped the champions building up too great a lead. It is significant too that in the last three quarters of the game Mullinahone added only nine points to their total while St. Marys sealed up the centre of their defence which had been porous during the first quarter.

The new midfield triangle of Colman Kennedy, Jason Lonergan and Darren Cass eventually took over and the Mullinahone forwards were very restricted in the amount of their possession. St. Marys too were much keener to win ball in broken play. By half-time Marys had cut the gap to four points and seven minutes into the second half when Lonergan goaled again the sides were level. It looked then as if Marys would pull away but CJK hung in doggedly and were still there with a chance when Willie Barrett blew the final whistle

The game began in exciting fashion with Colman Kennedy pointing in 20 seconds. St Marys edged another point in front before Luke Mullally opened Mullinahone’s account with a point. A long Ger Horan clearance saw Micheál Dunne gather possession, round his marker and goal. St Marys had a disputed goal effort ruled out and it didn’t appear to be their day when Mullinahone came downfield for Luke Mullally to goal. Jack Shelly followed up with a point. St Marys had a 20m free blocked but the resultant 65 was pointed by Jason Lonergan. Jack Shelly pointed and Conor Vaughan pointed when placed by Micheál Dunne. The Clonmel side came back with a point before Mullally and Lonergan exchanged goals in the vital 15th minute. Dunne set up Jack Shelly for a point which was cancelled out by St Marys who added another point two minutes later and Brian Walsh added another in 20 minutes. Jason Lonergan pointed a free in 26 minutes but George Browning cancelled this out. Luke Mullally pointed from a free for Mullinahone but Marys had the last say of the half with a point. Half time: Mullinahone C.J.K 3.7, St Marys 1.9

Darren Cass and Ciaran Brady began the second half with St. Marys points. Jack Shelly now at centre forward pointed a free for Mullinahone but Lonergan’s second goal in seven minutes, aided by the blinding sun brought St Marys level. A Shelly free in 10 minutes sought to steady the ship, but three points involving Cass and Lonergan pushed the Clonmel lads ahead by two. Two Jack Shelly frees pulled St Marys back, but they remained a point ahead thanks to a 15th minute score. Shelly levelled when again placed by Micheal Dunne, but points from Colman Kennedy and Jason Lonergan pushed St Marys forward. Michaeál Dunne pointed. Goalie Richard Walsh was narrowly wide from a long range free for Mullinahone while they were made to pay for a late tackle when Lonergan pointed the resultant free. Walsh was in position to save off his post and also as the resultant 65 was about to drop over the bar. Time was running out when Mullally was set up for his do or die effort but he was just too far out and goalie Michael Boland saved the day.

St Marys now advance to next Sunday’s final against close neighbours Moyle Rovers.

St Marys: Michael Boland, Richie Gunne, Sean Gunne, Liam Ryan, Keith Browne, Ciaran Brady, Robert Lyons, Jason Lonergan, Darren Cass, David Collins, Cathal McKeever, Colman Kennedy, Eric Walsh, Christopher Walsh, Brian Walsh.

Mullinahone CJK: Richard Walsh, Kevin McGrath, Jack McCarthy, John O’Connell, David Walzer, Gerard Horan, Paul Gayson, Jack Shelly, Martin Mullally, Joe Hogan, Luke Mullally, Micheal Dunne, Shane Egan, George Browning, Conor Vaughan.

Ref: Willie Barrett (Ardfinnan).