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Gritty Our Lady’s Battle Their Way Past Midleton CBS In Atrocious Conditions

By Brian McDonnell at Cahir

Dr Harty Cup Quarter-Final

Our Lady’s Templemore 2-5

Midleton CBS 0-10

Our Lady’s Templemore, thanks to a gritty display in absolutely atrocious conditions, battled their way past Midleton CBS and duly booked a Dr Harty Cup semi-final date with Limerick’s Árdscoil Rís on Sunday, February 3rd last Wednesday afternoon.

Thanks to goals from John McGrath and Tommy Nolan Our Lady’s led 2-3 to 0-6 at the break, but despite forcing their way into a 2-4 to 0-6 lead immediately after the interval the Templemore lads were held scoreless for twenty-nine minutes of the second half as Midleton fought back to level matters. Our Lady’s never lost faith in their ability or each other however and battled gamely on before Brian Kennedy smacked over a glorious match-winning point in the 61st minute.

For Our Lady’s full-back Jason Ryan and wing-back Pádraig Hogan were terrific in defence, Colin O’Riordan and John McGrath formed a formidable partnership at midfield, Tommy Nolan was excellent at wing-forward while Brian Kennedy’s three points from play stole the show. That said the contribution of Templemore goalkeeper Seán Patrick Guerins deserves special mention. Guerins was immense in the second half when a steadying influence was required between the sticks. Spectacular saves were not demanded, but Guerins dealt with a handful of tricky situations and made a telling contribution.

Midleton CBS arrived in Cahir nursing a fine pedigree having knocked out All-Ireland champions Nenagh CBS during the group stage, but it was Our Lady’s who seized the initiative thanks to Brian Kennedy point in the opening minute.

Joe Mellerick (free) responded for Midleton before a John McGrath free forced Our Lady’s into a 0-2 to 0-1 lead by the sixth minute. A minute later a John McGrath ’65 dropped short, deceived Midleton’s Steven Beausang, snuck in under the crossbar and presented Templemore with a 1-2 to 0-1 lead.

To their credit Midleton CBS responded in style and hit Our Lady’s with five points without reply to take a 0-6 to 1-2 lead by the 18th minute. A fine catch, turn and shot from Billy Dunne launched the onslaught before a Joe Mellerick free reduced the margin to two points (0-3 to 1-2) by the 11th. In the 12th Templemore ‘keeper Seán Patrick Guerins made a brave save at the feet of the raiding Kieran Walsh. Midleton were pouring forward in waves now with a Joe Mellerick ’65 and then a Mellerick free levelling matters (0-5 to 1-2) by the 14th minute. Four minutes later yet another Joe Mellerick free gave Midleton CBS a deserved 0-6 to 1-2 lead. Within seconds however Our Lady’s responded with a second goal - Colin O’Riordan, who represented an effective option under the dropping ball, won a puck-out, charged forward and when the ball broke Tommy Nolan fired home a blistering left-handed pull from well outside the 21-yard line. Two minutes later Tommy Nolan fired over a smashing left-handed point following a John McGrath delivery and Templemore led 2-3 to 0-6.

Three minutes later Our Lady’s Templemore almost notched a third goal, but Steven Beausang denied Tommy Maher with a fine save in the 23rd minute. Indeed, the final eleven minutes (one minute of injury time) remained scoreless and the sides retired with three between them at the break (2-3 to 0-6).

Two minutes into second half Our Lady’s stretched their lead when John McGrath picked out Brian Kennedy who cracked over a terrific point to hand his side a 2-4 to 0-6 lead. Little did we realise however that Templemore would now be held scoreless for twenty-nine minutes as Midleton CBS came roaring back.

A Joe Mellerick free handed Midleton CBS their first score since the 18th minute to cut the deficit to three points before Templemore’s John McGrath was harshly penalised for over-carrying in the 40th and Midleton were presented with what looked like a vital 21-yard free. Joe Mellerick went for goal, but McGrath saved and cleared his lines.

In the 41st and 42nd minutes two Joe Mellerick frees reduced Templemore’s advantage to just a single point (0-9 to 2-4). All over the field Our Lady’s were battling hard, but all the momentum was with Midleton CBS now. Indeed, in the 44th minute Midleton CBS midfielder Niall Motherway cracked over a fine point to level matters. Thereafter a ferocious battle ensued. With the underfoot conditions now looking like an utter quagmire the hurling was not the most pleasing on the eye, but the battle for possession of the ball was utterly enthralling.

Both sides enjoyed opportunities to sneak into the lead, most notably in the 57th minute when a Jake O’Donoghue pull flew wide of the Templemore goal, but seventeen minutes of scoreless action came to a dramatic end in the 61st when Our Lady’s grabbed a spectacular winning point.

Tommy Maher won possession and shook off the attentions of two Midleton CBS defenders before passing to Brian Kennedy. Fully forty-five yards from goal the JK Bracken’s man had plenty to do, but somehow he managed a belt over a terrific left-handed point to hand Our Lady’s Templemore a famous win.

Our Lady’s, Templemore: Seán Patrick Guerins (JK Bracken’s), James Bergin (JK Bracken’s), Jason Ryan (Toomevara), Denis Brereton (Loughmore-Castleiney), Pádraig Hogan (Templederry Kenyons), Joseph Nyland (Loughmore-Castleiney), Michael Campion (Drom & Inch), Colin O’Riordan (JK Bracken’s), John McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney, 1-1, 1-0 ’65, 0-1 free), Tommy Nolan (Drom & Inch, 1-1), Dylan Carey (Templederry Kenyons), John Joe Ryan (Clonakenny), Dean McEnroe (JK Bracken’s), Tommy Maher (Loughmore-Castleiney), Brian Kennedy (JK Bracken’s, 0-3). Subs: (37th) Bill O’Connell (Loughmore-Castleiney) for John Joe Ryan, (44th) Tommy Brett (JK Bracken’s) for Michael Campion, (51st) Jamie Bergin (Drom & Inch) for Dylan Carey, (61st) Jack Fogarty (JK Bracken’s) for Tommy Nolan.

Midleton CBS: Steven Beausang, Alan Stanton, Darren Quirke, Jack McGrath, Adrian Kenneally, James McCarthy, Mark O’Keeffe, Joe Mellerick (0-8, 0-7 frees, 0-1 ’65), Niall Motherway (0-1), Jake O’Donoghue, Shane Hegarty, Kieran Walsh, David Cahill, Pádraig Nagle, Billy Dunne (0-1). Subs: (HT) Bill Aherne for Kieran Walsh, (58th) Paudie McMahon for Jake O’Donoghue.

Referee: Michael O’Connor (Limerick).

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