Holders Loughmore-Castleiney saw off the challenge of neighbours JK Bracken's in the Gleeson Quarries Mid Tipperary Senior Football Championship semi-finals at Templetuohy on Friday with surprising ease. Indeed, this victory was marked by a powerful second half display which Loughmore-Castleiney outclass their opponents.
Gleeson Quarries Mid Tipperary Senior
Football Championship Semi-Final
Loughmore-Castleiney 3-14 JK Bracken's 0-5
There is a long-established rivalry between these sides and while Loughmore have enjoyed the better of things for some years Templemore are always capable of upsetting their neighbours. But those who anticipated an upset on this occasion were greatly disappointed as Loughmore called the shots all the way, though it must be said that the difference between the sides was not as pronounced as the scoreline might suggest.
At the half way stage Loughmore led by only two points(0-5 to 0-3) after a undistinguished first half in which they had the better of things, but shortcomings in front of goal prevented them from enjoying a bigger advantage. They were the more co-ordinated outfit as JK Bracken's, while having their fair share of possession, were not as smooth in their use of the ball - some untidy passing costing them hard-earned possession.
Significantly, JK Bracken's failed to score from play during the opening half (Shane Doyle converted three frees) while all the Loughmore scores came from play with Evan Sweeney showing the way with three points, Noel McGrath and Aidan McGrath notching the others.
JK Bracken's were hanging in, but needed to be more incisive in front of goal where they were making little or no headway.
ONE-SIDED SECOND HALF
At that stage nobody anticipated such a one-sided a second half, but the trend was firmly established after seven minutes when in a counter-attack Loughmore’s Aidan McGrath slotted home their first goal after too many JK Bracken's defenders were lured forward to support their attack. That put Loughmore 1-7 to 0-4 clear with Liam and Aidan McGrath having earlier extended their lead with points.
By the three quarter stage Loughmore were 1-10 to 0-4 ahead - Neil Quinlan got JK Brackens’ only point from play after further scores from Liam McGrath (two) and Evan Sweeney and their place in the final was well secured.
In the 48th minute Liam McGrath got Loughmore’s second goal, following a well-constructed move and on the hour mark Ciaran Connolly had the third to round off a most comprehensive win which underlined the potential of this side to annex both divisional and county honours this year.
The merit of Loughmore’s win could not be contested even if the margin was a bit unkind to an inexperienced Templemore team. Loughmore were short some regulars, notably county panellist Liam Treacy and Ciaran McGrath, but they had enough in reserve to cope without unduly robbing their intermediate side of some of its more prominent members as they too chase championship glory.
As ever the Loughmore charge was led by the various strands of the McGrath clan with John Meagher, Evan Sweeney, Eoghan Ryan and Joseph Hennessy adding their quality to the performances of Noel, Aidan, and Liam McGrath.
JK Bracken's must now concentrate on the county championship after a display that showed clearly how much work they have to do to get to the required level. They too were missing some regulars and while they did show flashes of their true potential they need to be more consistent and also need to be more accurate in their use of the ball. Their key men were Michael Egan, Eanna McBride, Aidan Fogarty, Cathal Scully and free-taker Shane Doyle.
Loughmore-Castleiney: Dominic Brennan; Lorcan Egan, John Meagher, Tomas McGrath (0-1); John Ryan, Joseph Hennessy, Eoghan Ryan; Noel McGrath (0-3), Joseph Nyland; Brian McGrath, Evan Sweeney (0-4), Ciaran Connolly (1-0); Liam McGrath (1-3, 0-3 frees), John McGrath (0-1), Aidan McGrath (1-2).
JK Bracken's: Radek Nathkaneicz; Eanna McBride, Cathal Scully, Michael Egan; Tom Murphy, Paddy Cadell, Lorcan Egan; Jordan Moloney, David O'Shea; Aidan Fogarty, Lyndon Fairbrother, Neil Quinlan (0-1); Jack Fogarty, Shane Doyle (0-4, 0-4 frees), Shane Scully.
Referee: Johnny Butler (Upperchurch-Drombane).
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