Two goals in the last seven minutes swept Upperchurch-Drombane to an encouraging win over Moneygall in the county senior hurling championship first round at the Ragg on Sunday evening.
Although they did not hit the front until eight minutes from the final whistle, Upperchurch richly deserved their win against a Moneygall side that had opened impressively, but which relied much too heavily on accurate free-taker, Willie Greene, for their scores.
Upperchurch-Drombane had the injured James Barry back at the heart of their defence and his presence and lengthy deliveries were important, but the man of the match for them was surely Pat Shortt, who looked the best player on the field and helped himself to nine points in the process.
Moneygall started with a flourish. Backed by the fresh breeze, they raced into a five points to no score lead after eleven minute, Ger Kirwan’s point separating two braces from Greene. The North side were sharp and speedy and had Upperchurch at full stretch but points from Pat and Eoin Shortt in the 13th and 14th minutes opened The Church account.
Still Moneygall held the initiative but Upperchurch were now more in the game and Mikey Ryan’s shot almost made the Moneygall net in the 27th minute but at the break, Moneygall were 0-9 to 0-5 clear.
Considering the strength of the breeze into the road goal, it was not a great lead, a belief quickly endorsed as Upperchurch whipped over three points per Mikey Ryan, David Carey and Paul Ryan inside eight minutes of resuming.
Moneygall struck back emphatically, Mike Ryan’s delivery blasted to the Upperchurch net by Phil Fanning. Pat Shortt and Willie Greene swapped points but then came a flood of Upperchurch points, four without reply, to level the game.
Willie Greene briefly restored Moneygall’s lead but Shortt levelled again before Colm Stapleton put Upperchurch in front for the first time eight minutes from the end.
It was hard to see Upperchurch losing now. Their confidence was high, and they had the momentum, and when Eoin Shortt latched on to Seamus Barry’s well-directed delivery in the 23rd minute for their first goal, Paudie Greene immediately added a point followed by another from Pat short to have them six clear with five minutes to play .
Billy McCormack tried to stem the tide with a Moneygall point but Mikey Ryan popped up in the right place, unmarked, to deliver Upperchurch’s second goal in the 28th minute which sealed their win.
Upperchurch-Drombane – Ailbe O’Donoghue; Matt Ryan, Paudie Stapleton, Lenny Purcell; John Ryan(J), James Barry, John Quinn; David Carey(0-1), Colm Ryan; Pat Shortt(0-9), PaulRyan (0-2), Mikey Ryan (1-2); Paudie Greene (0-1), Colm Stapleton (0-1), Eoin Shortt (1-2);
Moneygall – John King; Ger Ryan, Sean Ryan, Michael Bergin; Stephen Maher, Mike Ryan, Martin Deane; Eamon McCormack, Eoghan Ryan; Conor Ryan, Phil Fanning (1-0), Ger Kirwan(0-1); Billy McCormack(0-2), Willie Greene (0-9), Tommy Devereaux(0-1); Sub – Michael Cahill for Deane;
Referee- John Ryan,Cashel.