After an absence of two years owing to Covid-19 restrictions, the finals of the highly regarded Jim Power Under 14 football tournament took place last month in County Waterford. Such are the great strides being made at development level in Tipperary currently, the Premier County fielded two teams in the competition.
Both teams had qualified for the finals by topping their respective groups back in June. Tipperary Blue topped their group which contained Limerick and Offaly in Dr Morris Park Thurles, while Tipperary Gold travelled to Fenagh, Carlow, and claimed top honours in a group including Wexford, Carlow, and Limerick Green. Top spot in their respective qualifying groups placed both Tipperary sides in the “Cup” edition of the tournament proper.
On finals day, Saturday 23rd July, both Tipp teams were hosted by Brickey Rangers, outside Dungarvan. Tipperary Blue took to the field in their quarter-final against Waterford Blue, coming out on top in a keenly fought contest by 2-7 to 2-4. Mullinahone’ Ned O’Meara led the way with an impressive 1-3. Arravale Rovers’ Donnacha Quigley helped himself to 1-01, while Charlie Barrett (Killenaule) and Padraic O’Shea of JK Brackens completed the scoring.
Also, Clerihan’s Shane Cooney orchestrated affairs brilliantly from midfield. Tipperary Gold, helped in no small way by captain Paul Cummins’ (Ardfinnan) contribution of five points, accounted for Waterford’s White side by 0-8 to 0-3. Spectacular long-range points from halftime substitute Aiden Gorey and an outside of the boot beauty from Commercials’ Killian Smith illustrated the difference between the sides.
This set up an all-Tipperary clash in the semi-final and saw Tipperary Gold overcome Tipperary Blue on a score-line of 5-6 to 1-4. Tipp Gold’s ability to find the net paid great dividends and the full time scoreboard was probably a bit harsh on Tipperary Blue who brought a lot to the tournament. Tipperary Gold scorers: Gary Slevin 2-0, Paul Cummins 1-2, Darragh Maher 1-1, Luke McKeogh 0-2, Conor Campion 0-1. Tipperary Blue scorers: Philip O’Dwyer, Harry Lawlor 0-1, Padraic O’Shea 1-1, Shane Cooney 0-1.
Tipp Gold faced Wexford, who came through after extra-time against Offaly in the final. Extra time exertions may have taken their toll on the Model County, but nevertheless Tipperary Gold produced a stunning performance, taking the “Cup” by 1-10 to 0-3. That said, Tipperary only held a three-point advantage at halftime. Three points from play by Paul Cummins were added to by a point from Durlas Og’s Euan Murray, with Wexford responding with their solitary point of the half.
After the break it was a different story, Paul Cummins, a contender for player of the tournament, blasted 1-1 and ended the game as a contest.
Dara Maher had a point midway through the half as the Tipperary Gold management gave all substitutes a taste of the action. Killian Smith, Luke Mckeogh and Gary Slevin got on the scoreboard late on. It was Tipperary’s first success in the competition for seven years and richly deserved.
Tipp Blue: Donnacha Morgan, Andy Williams, Padraic O’Brien, Harry Lawlor, Dylan Hennessy, Jamie Brunnock, Cillian Tobin, Darragh Doyle, Zak Doyle, Sean Griffin, Sean Cooney, Ned O’Meara, Charlie Barrett, Danny Barry, Igor Miguel, Philip O’Dwyer, Padraig O’Shea, Sam Coen, Charlie Hall, Denis O’Callaghan, Donnacha Quigley, Liam Kelly, Dan Coffey.
Tipp Gold: Donagh Hickey, Carl Hennessy, Conor Kennedy, Darragh Hoare, Jack McGonagle, Niall Delaney, Aidan Gorey, Killian Fitzgerald, Jack Garrett, Killian Smith, Fred Perry, Conor Campion, Charlie Tobin, Alex Maher, Aaaron Twomey, Jaye Cilvinas, Luke McKeogh, Gary Slevin, Dara Maher, Euan Murray, Paul Cummins, Darragh O’Dwyer.
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