North champions break the trend

Clean Ireland Recycling County SHC Q Final Replay Kildangan 3-13 Clonoulty Rossmore 2-13

Clean Ireland Recycling County SHC Q Final Replay Kildangan 3-13 Clonoulty Rossmore 2-13

Yes, the north is alive and kicking with three teams now in the semi’s to accompany Loughmore Castleiney as the only infiltrator. And, going on the evidence of Saturday’s showing, the fourth side to claim their spot could well have a big say in the destination of the Dan Breen Cup when they meet neighbours Nenagh Eire Og on Sunday next in Semple Stadium - a repeat of the North semi-final which Kildangan won.

While much will be made of Kildangan’s victory, and rightly so, so much more could be said of Clonoulty Rossmore’s failure to turn up. In fact, how they ended up only three points in arrears is a mystery and is probably testimony to their spirit and fight - traits which seemed to have been left in the dressingroom for the first half. Indeed, with ten minutes remaining they were a beaten docket and eight in arrears. But, they stormed back and had the deficit down to two points with three to go and looked as though they could snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Didn’t work though and Kildangan, by far the better side on the day, held on to win out and claim their place in the last four.

The big difference between them was that Kildangan took their chances - Clonoulty Rossmore didn’t. The north men were 0-3 to 0-2 in front thanks to Ruairi Gleeson (2) and Tadgh Gallagher, when a long ball in from Tommy Connors in the 6th minute ended up in the Clonoulty Rossmore net. This set the tone for a very insipid display from the west men and Kildangan’s pace and energy caused them untold problems. They didn’t help their cause either by leaving a free Kildangan defender who swept all before him and helped pin point ball for the fast running attackers who enjoyed the expanses.

Jack Loughnane, Gleeson (2) and Joe Gallagher all pointed again for them against a Timmy Hammersley pointed free for Clonoulty Rossmore. But, when Darragh Egan came from his goals to crash a 21 yard free to the Clonoulty Rossmore net in the 20th minute, the gap had opened to nine points. That was to be the same gap at the break as Kildangan enjoyed a 2-9 to 0-6 advantage - Hammersley grabbing two more, but missing four which would have been vital, especially since his side would play wind assisted in the second half.

The story could have been better and worse for Clonoutly Rossmore by the interval - Declan O’Dwyer saving well from Ruairi Gleeson in the 12th, and then a John O’Neill penalty in the 27th was beaten away, indicitive of the kind of afternoon O’Neill had, he was gone by the end of the third quarter.

Six scores to two gave an indication of the way the game was going, but with the breeze to aid them, more was expected of Clonoulty in the second half.

Padraig Heffernan had an inspiring score for them after the break and points followed from Hammersley (2) and Fiachra O’Keeffe. And, sub Aidan White banged in a fine goal in the 20th after Tom Butler passed to him to reduce the deficit to five. Kildangan were chipping away with scores too though and just when the lead was back to three, Joe Gallagher bagged a fine goal in the 23rd after taking on the defence and exploiting the space.

Game over? No, Clonoulty Rossmore somehow found the net again in the 27th through Fiachra O’Keeffe to leave two in it again, but that man Ruairi Gleeson who bagged 0-10 on the day and was a real star, hit the insurance score to seal the win.

Kildangan should have been more comfortable especially considering the displays of Gleeson, Joe Gallagher, Tommy Connors, Gerry Slattery and Tadhg Gallagher, but they were made to fight all the way by a well under par Clonoulty Rossmore for whom John O’Keeffe, John Devane, Fiachra O’Keeffe, Sean Maher and Padraig Heffernan were best.

Teams and scorers:

Kildangan: D Egan 1-0, D Sweeney, M Minehan, F Hayes, H Flannery, G Slattery, G Byrne, J Loughnane 0-1, T Connors 1-0, R Gleeson 0-10, J Gallagher 1-1, E Kelly, W Connors 0-1, D Hackett, T Gallagher 0-1. Subs: E Gleeson, B Kelly.

Clonoulty Rossmore: D O’Dwyer, Joey O’Keeffe, J Devane, K Horan, S O’Connor, John O’Keeffe, P Heffernan 0-1, P White, C Hammersley, S Maher 0-2, Tom Butler 0-1, J Forrestal, T Hammersley 0-6, J O’Neill, F O’Keeffe 1-1. Subs: Thomas Butler, A White 1-0, A Quirke.

Referee: P Ivors (Ballingarry)