Bubbles O'Dwyer hit two late points to give Killenaule a winning start in the race for the Dan Breen Cup.
Killenaule kick-started their Tipperary Water county senior hurling championship campaign with a two point win, 1-18 to 1-16, over Burgess in division one, group 4 on Friday evening last but could have paid the penalty for some slack finishing.
In a keenly contested affair Killenaule looked the better side for much of the game, showing some neat touches but eleven second half wides left them vulnerable to a Burgess outfit, which despite some absentees, was giving a good account of itself.
Indeed, with time running out the sides were level but Killenaule finished strongly, and county man “Bubbles” O Dwyer fired over two points to clinch a victory which puts them in a strong position in their very competitive group which also includes Mullinahone and Eire Og Anacarty.
Killenaule hit the front early on and when Eoin Barry was fouled in the 6th minute, “Bubbles” blast for a goal from the twenty meter free rebounded to Tony Doyle who banged it to the net for a 1-2 to 0-1 lead.
Burgess settled after this and by the 20th minute had drawn level. Two Bubbles’ points eased Killanaule clear but in the 28th minute Eoin Hogan grabbed a John O’Dwyer line ball and netted for Burgess and a lead of 1-9 to 1-8.
Killenaule kept their composure however and finished with a flourish, points from Declan Fanning, Tony Doyle and Kieran Bergin giving them an interval lead of 1-11 to 1-9.
Advantage Killenaule, but Burgess were very much in the contest and started the second half with a Keith Nealon point after two minutes. Daniel Guinan had a rasping shot saved by Burgess goalie Niall McGrath before Bubbles and Eoin Barry points put Killenaule three clear after ten minutes.
Burgess again responded, with the accurate Stephen Murray their main source of scores and the sides were level at 1-14 each going into the last quarter.
Killenaule continued to push on despite some erratic shooting. Bergin and Fanning points were cancelled by a Murray brace for Burgess but Bubbles again hit the target in the 60th minute and after Anthony Dunne missed a levelling chance for Burgess, Bubbles set the seal on the Killenaule win with a sweet injury time point off a Tom Stakelum pass.
With Mullinahone and Eire Og Anacarty also in this group, the importance of this win for Killenaule cannot be overstated, and it gives them some breathing space going into their final two games.
On the other hand, Burgess now find themselves under pressure with victory in their next outing imperative if they are to challenge for one of the two qualifying spots in the group. The North side’s hope will be to have the full complement of players available next time out, and at full strength they could still figure in the shake-up. They were without county man Donagh Maher, Peter Gill and Tossy Hogan and lost Bill O’Flaherty to injury in the second quarter, greatly over-stretching their resources.
It was the championship start Killenaule wanted and there was much to admire about how they went about their business. Some poor finishing was the only black mark in an otherwise excellent display with Joe O Dwyer, Paidie Feehan, Paddy Codd, Daniel Guinan, Kieran Bergin, Tony Doyle and scoring star of the show, John “Bubbles” O’Dwyer taking individual honours.
Stephen Murray and Eoin Hogan(Leahy) were the biggest threat in attack for Burgess, with Keith Nealon, Shane Maher, Jack Flaherty, and Johnny Mulqueen also to the fore.
Killenaule scorers- John O’Dwyer (0-10, 7fs), T Doyle(1-2), D Fanning, K Bergin(0-2 each), E Barry, M Doyle(0-1 each);
Burgess scorers- S Murray (0-8,6fs, E Hogan(1-2), C Gill, K Nealon(0-2 each), B Flaherty, D Ryan (0-1 each);
Killenaule- Jonathan Gleeson; Stephen Browne, Paddy Codd, Killian O Dwyer; Stephen Hannigan, Joe O’Dwyer, Paidi Feehan; Daniel Guinan, Dean O’Connor; John O’Dwyer, Declan Fanning, Kieran Bergin; Tony Doyle, Michael Doyle, Eoin Barry; Sub- Tom Stakelum for O’Connor (38mins);
Burgess- Niall McGrath Pat Woods, Jack Flaherty, Willie Ryan; John O’Dwyer, Johnny Mulqueen, Kieran Ryan; Shane Maher, Conor Gill; Brian Hogan, Keith Nealon, Bill Flaherty; Eoin Hogan(L), Stephen Murray, Danny Ryan; Subs- Damian O’Brien for Flaherty(23 minutes) Andy Dunne for Hogan(45 mins);
Ref- Fergal Horgan, Knockavilla Kickhams