John Meagher captains Tipperary under-21s to Shield win

Under-21 Football Hastings Cup Shield Final Tipperary 2-10 Mayo 2-8

Under-21 Football Hastings Cup Shield Final

Tipperary 2-10 Mayo 2-8

The first silverware of 2014 to arrive in the county came courtesy of our U21 Footballers who last Saturday afternoon put up an impressive performance to see off Mayo with a well deserved two point margin win in the inaugural Hastings Shield Final, on a score line of 2-10 to 2-8.

Having won the toss at a gale swept Keenan Park in Ardagh Co. Longford team captain John Meagher opted to play with the strong wind. Stephen O’Brien eventually broke the deadlock to get the scoring underway with a pointed free after six minutes.

With the Tipp backs giving little away Mayo’s corner forward Kevin Gibbons on one of the very rare occasions he got inside Conor O’Sullivan, raced in to give Gearoid Slattery no chance with their first goal and a two point lead with ten minutes gone. However this would be the only occasion over the hour where Mayo would hold the lead and it was short lived as straight away from the kick out the ball found Colin O’Riordan who worked his way past the Mayo defence to put Tipp back in front with a cracking goal.

With the Mayo backs now soaking up continuous Tipp pressure the inevitable cracks appeared and Tipp took full advantage as Colin O’Riordan slotted over a further two points, Paul Shanahan who had a goal bound shot well saved by Mayo goalie Michael Moore also pointed while Sean Flynn with three points including two frees left Tipp comfortably ahead by seven points. But in the remaining five minutes of the first period Mayo proved why they are a major football stronghold as they came storming back with three unanswered points to leave it 1-7 to 1-3 at the break with full forward Anthony Jordan who was well marshalled up to then by John Meagher landing two points (1play/1free) while centre forward Adam Gallagher was also on target pointing from a close in free. While the wind eased a little in the second half it was it was still advantage Mayo but it would be Tipp’s Colin O’Riordan within a minute of the restart who would open the second half scoring with a pointed free.

Mayo’s Diarmuid O’Connor and Liam Casey both exchanged points and with the opposition enjoying more possession as they pushed forward, both Anthony Jordan and Adam Gallagher were on hand to punish any Tipp fouling with pointed frees narrowing the gap to three, 1-9 to 1-6, with fifteen minutes remaining. Mayo continued to ask questions of the Tipp backs and with Kevin Fahey, Niall and Conor O’Sullivan along with John Meagher all putting their bodies on the line, Mayo would have to produce an almighty closing final quarter if they were to lift the Hastings Shield. Twelve minutes to go Tipp had stretched the lead to six points when a high ball from Paul Shanahan which bobbled around the square was finished to the net by Dean McEnroe, and for Mayo at that stage it looked an uphill task if they were to get back in the game.

And showing a never say die attitude back came Mayo as they did in the closing stages of the first half grinding out several attacks with centre forward Adam Gallagher spearheading the revival with a goal and two pointed frees ensuring an anxious last couple of minutes for Tipp.

However Tipp survived the onslaught and when Stephen O’Brien landed a long range point to stem the tide, it steadied everyone’s nerves helping Tipp to a well deserved victory.

Tipperary: Gearoid Slattery (Cashel KC), Niall O’Sullivan (Moycarkey Borris), John Meagher (Loughmore/Castleiney) Capt, Conor O’Sullivan (Galtee Rvs), McGuire (Kilsheelan/Kilcash), Kevin Fahey (Clonmel Comms), Tom Meade (Moyne/Templetuohy), Stephen O’Brien (Ballina) 0-2 (1free), Colin O’Riordan (JK Brackens) 1-3, Liam Casey (Cahir) 0-1, John McGrath (Loughmore/Castleiney), Sean Flynn (Fr Sheehys) 0-3 ( 0-2 frees), Paul Shanahan (Upperchurch/Dtrombane) 0-1, Mark Russell (Lattin/Cullen), Dean McEnroe (JK Brackens) 1-0. Subs: Adrian), Shane Hassett (Drom/Inch), Josh Keane (Golden/Kilfeacle) for Dean McEnroe, Pierce Richardson (Arravale Rvs) for Adrian McGuire, Ed O’Meara (Aherlow) for Tom Meade, Jamie Moloney (Drom/Inch for Paul Shanahan.

Mayo: Michael Moore, Darragh Ruane, Liam Kiterick, Aidan Butler, David O’Reilly, Stephen Coen, Joe Geraghty, Diarmuid O’Connor 0-1, Gareth O’Donnell, Ronan Neary, Adam Gallagher 1-4 (0-4 frees), Steven Conry, Brian Heneghan , Anthony Jordan 0-3 (0-2 frees), Kevin Gibbons 1-0. Subs. Cian Burke for David O’Reilly, Padraig O’Hora for Aidan Butler, Tom Clarke for Ronan Neary, Aidan O’Sullivan for Brian Heneghan.

Referee: Michael O’Brien.