The second South Tipp senior hurling semi-final played in Fethard on Sun. afternoon resembled a piece of classical music.
It opened slowly, and gradually gathered pace before ending in an exciting climax. The game was decided in the 31st minute of the second half when in a last desperate Swan raid the ball was crashed to the Killenaule net having been initially stopped. Some gave the credit for the winning score to Gerry Walsh who was here, there and everywhere for much of the game, but indeed it could have been anyone as Swan threw attackers forward. In the previous minutes the Swans had been halted by two great clearances by Killenaule full-back Tony Doyle and by another from Declan Fanning who had moved back to centre back when Niall O’Dwyer saw red in the 11th minute of the second half. When Fanning was fouled late, in the 29th minute of the half, Killenaule were awarded a free from where the ball landed and John O’Dwyer duly pointed to put his side two points in front. It looked curtains for Swan, but there was one more twist in the tail, in this game of many twists.
Swan started poorly and in the first 12 minutes the men from the Hills built up a four point lead. Swan came back in the next ten minutes, but seemed to suffer a hammer blow in 21 minutes when M.J. Walsh saw red. They were now in arrears by 0-05 to 0-03.Swan picked up the challenge and hit three unanswered points to take a one point lead. As half time approached, Declan Fanning playing at full forward was fouled and John O’Dwyer levelled to send the sides in at the break 0-06 each. It looked as if Swan had an uphill task. They didn’t make it any easier on themselves by striking four frees wide.
Swan began the 2nd half with spirit and two points. The game upped in tempo from what had been a sluggish 1st half. Both sides especially Swan began to ring the changes. Then we had the O’Dwyer sending off. The sides exchanged points as Swan lead by 0-10 to 0-09. Shortly after coming on Keith Walsh goaled for Swan, but then Killenaule took over and began to tighten the screw. They hit three points inside three minutes with Pat Kerwick breaking John O’Dwyers 2nd half monopoly in the 20th minute. Two more points from the duo saw Killenaule take the lead and then we had Killenaule’s 6th point in a row in the 29th minute.
Goals win games. Swan had already scored one. They had seconds to score another and they did in that final desperate attack. It should be noted that John “Bubbles” O’Dwyer scored seven of Killenaule’s nine second half points and three more in the first half. Perhaps the real turning point of the game was in the 5th minute of the second half when Swan goalie Tom Kennedy pulled off a brilliant save. A goal then when they had the extra man could have ignited the Killenaule challenge. Others will question Killenaule’s decision to go for a goal from a free in the 19th minute of the 1st half, but this was early stages.
These were only some of the conversation pieces arising from what turned out to be a most exciting game for a rather good sized crowd. Both free takers opened with wides before Daniel Guinan, John O’Dwyer, Declan Fanning and Peter Kennedy gave Killenaule a four point lead. During this time Niall O’Dwyer was Killenaule’s leading light. Danny O’Hanlon, Stephen Hahessy and Kevin Lanigan pulled three back for Swan. John O’Dwyer and Hahessy exchanged points before a Swan brace from Dwane Fogarty and Kieran Reade. When Declan Fanning was fouled John O’Dwyer levelled from the resultant free. Half time Carrick Swan 0-06, Killenaule 0-06. A Danny O’Hanlon free and Mikey Loughman put Swan two points up. The came Tom Kennedy’s save, but two O’Dwyer points levelled. Kenneth Browne came on for Killenaule as Jack Walsh and Keith Walsh came on for Swan. Niall O’Dwyer’s dismissal was sandwiched between O’Hanlon and Hahessy points. “Bubbles” pointed yet another free before Killenaule brought on Thomas Keavney. Keith Walsh’s goal was major for Swan in the 17th minute. They didn’t score again until the final attack, but again it was a goal. In between Killenaule’s six points O’Dwyer (4) and Kerwick (2) only balanced the two goals. One had to admire Swan. In boxing parlance they were on the ropes, but they came back and landed two knockout blows. Final score Carrick Swan 2-10, Killenaule 0-15. It is difficult to cast one’s mind back to the first night of the championship when Killenaule defeated Swan by 3-22 to 1-10. Another point to ponder is the fact that this years South final will be contested by the two teams Carrick Swan and Mullinahone C.J.K. who finished in 3rd and 4th positions in the league section of the championship and who themselves drew in their league section game. An interesting final is in prospect.
Carrick Swan: Tom Kennedy, Darren Murphy, Gerry Walsh, Darren Fahy, Aaron Walsh, Kevin Lanigan, Johnny Grace, Mikey Loughman, Stephen Hahessy, Kieran Reade, M.J. Walsh, Danny O’Hanlon, Bill Walsh, Dwane Fogarty, Anthony O’Donnell.
Killenaule: Gerry Kennedy, Aaron Conran, Tony Doyle, Stephen Browne, Paddy Codd, Niall O’Dwyer, Declan Ryan, Cathal Bergin, Peter Kennedy, Danial Guinan, John O;Dwyer, Patrick Kerwick, Matthew O’Donnell, Declan Fanning, Michael Doyle.
Referee: Noel Cosgrove (Marlfield).
Carrick Swan 2-10