Joey Lyons (Grangemockler/Ballyneale) gets his shot away despite the best efforts of Alan O'Connor (Fethard). Also included in picture are Willie Morgan and Richie Anglim. Pics: Michael Boland.
FBD INSURANCE COUNTY INTERMEIDATE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI-FINAL
GRANGEMOCKLER/BALLYNEALE 2-17 FETHARD 0-4
Grangemockler-Ballyneale cruised into the County IFC final following a 2-17 to 0-4 semi-final win over Fethard at Clonmel on Saturday that was every bit as convincing as the 19 points winning margin would suggest.
More might have been expected in intensity from a clash between two of the big names in Tipperary football’s proud history. But while both may have fallen from previous lofty heights, it’s Grangemockler who look closer to regaining lost glory.
They dominated the tie with a classy brand of free-flowing football, often building from deep and taking the ball the length of the field to finish with a score.
And in Manus McFadden they had the game’s most clinical forward. His final tally of 1-2 doesn’t reflect his impact on the game. He led the Fethard defence a merry dance and apart from his own scoring exploits, in the first ten minutes he won four frees, three of which were converted by ace marksman Colin O’Shea.
Manager Paul Cahill even enjoyed the luxury of taking McFadden off midway through the second half with the final in mind.
For Fethard this was a game of grim statistics.
They didn’t score for 34 minutes, between the game’s opening point from Brian Healy in the third minute, to their second from a Healy free seven minutes into the second half.
During that time Grangemockler hit 2-11 without reply.
Indiscipline also cost the Blues dearly as they ended the match with 13 players – captain and corner back Alan O’Connor dismissed on a second yellow card after 25 minutes and Willie Morgan getting a straight red for comments to referee Brian Tyrrell near the end.
Fethard had actually started stronger with Morgan in fine form at midfield, setting up scoring opportunities into the town goal and after Healy and Conor Harrington were wide with efforts and another dropped into the keeper’s hands, Healy gave them a deserved lead after good work from Morgan.
But a loose pass from defence cost them dearly at the other end and McFadden capitalised to tie the scores for the one and only time after six minutes. Nine minutes later the score was 0-5 to 0-1, with four pointed free from Colin O’Shea, three won by McFadden.
In the 13th minute Ben Comerford and Mickie Lyons tore open the Fethard defence and when a loose ball fell at the feet of McFadden, he didn’t need a second opportunity to shoot to the net off the ground past Charlie Manton.
It was now all one-way traffic and the game was finally decided six minutes from the break when a move started deep in defence by Ian Brett cut open the Blues’ defence and John Lyons picked his spot for Grangemockler / Ballyneale’s second goal.
Just before it Fethard had upped their tempo but scoring chances were spurned by both Jack Purcell and Harrington.
Going down to 14 players with O’Connor’s dismissal made their task a hopeless one as late points from John Lyons and O’Shea frees put Grangemockler 2-8 to 0-1 ahead at the break.
Little changed in the second half and five minutes in, the lead had increased by three with points from Mickie Lyons, McFadden and Comerford. The scoring blitz was finally interrupted by Brian Healy with a pointed free following a foul on Harrington but O’Shea and Lyons hit back with two immediate points in reply.
Grangemockler-Ballyneale continued to dominate possession with Fethard struggling to put any meaningful moves together as the final quarter petered out to its inevitable conclusion.
The winners had no need to maintain such intensity and their thoughts had already switched to the final with the withdrawal of talisman McFadden.
Fethard managed two further points from substitute Stephen Crotty and Darragh Hurley but were still outscored four to two in the closing stages with Grangemockler points from sub Enda Fogarty, O’Shea, Mickie Lyons and Sean Daly.
Their clinical brand of football will make Grangemockler serious contenders in the final. They were rock solid in defence, where Ian Brett, Jack O’Hanlon and Conor Hahessy were outstanding, Colin O’Shea and Thomas Dineen dominated midfield and Manus McFadden led an attack in which John Lyons, Mickie Lyons and Ben Comerford also starred.
On a bad day for Fethard, players such as Conor Harrington, Brian Healy, Richie Anglim, Darragh Hurely and Willie Morgan, before his late dismissal, showed best.
Grangemockler-Ballyneale – David Power, Ian Brett, Jack O’Hanlon, James Daly, Leon Kennedy, Conor Hahessy, Darragh Shelly, Colin O’Shea 0-7, 0-5 frees; Thomas Dineen, Sean Daly 0-1; John Lyons 1-2, 0-2 frees; Denis Hanrahan, Manus McFadden 1-2; Ben Comerford 0-1; Mickie Lyons 0-3, 0-1 free. Subs – Tom Brett for McFadden, Mark O’Meara for Dineen, Enda Fogarty 0-1 for John Lyons, Kean O’Shea for O’Hanlon, Michael Meagher for Kennedy.
Fethard – Charlie Manton, Joe Morgan, Paul Moloney Alan O’Connor, Ryan Walsh, Alex O’Donovan, Richie Anglim, Willie Morgan, Peter Wall, Darragh Hurley 0-1; Jack Purcell, Jessie McCormack, Conor Harrington, Cathal Hurley, Brian Healy 0-2, 0-1 free. Subs – Stephen Crotty 0-1 for McCormack, David Morgan for Moloney, Ciaran Moroney for Joe Morgan, Darragh Byrne for Hurley, Tom Condon for Wall.
Ref – Brian Tyrrell ( Commercials).