Mikey O'Shea (Mullinahone) and Jason Madigan (Kilsheelan/Kilcash) in action during Wednesday evening's South Minor B Football Championship Final at Cloneen which ended in a 1-15 to 1-15 draw.
Clonmel Oil South Tipperary Minor ‘B’ Football Championship Final
KILSHEELAN/KILCASH 1-15 – 1-5 MULLINAHONE
There has been some great theatre staged in the picturesqure village Cloneen over the years by the Fionn MacCumhaill Players, but has Anner Park ever seen such drama as that produced in the South Minor ‘B’ Football Final between Kilsheelan/Kilcash and Mullinahone on Wednesday evening.
It was a game that had everthing, bar a result of course, and a draw at the end of a thrilling encounter now means that both sides will have to do it all again.
Over the action-packed hour (and a bit) there were a couple of Lazarus-like comebacks, a confusing and malfunctioning scoreboard that had no reverse gear, a dubious penalty that brought Kilsheelan back into the game, almost eight minutes of added time which seemed excessive, and to cap it all, confusion at the end as to whether extra-time would be played or not. It was great drama indeed.
But the draw was the fairest result in the end as neither side – and particularly Mullinahone, deserved to lose. Both now will get a another chance and if the replay is half as exciting at this it should be another game well worth seeing.
Mullinahone with the aid of a fresh breeze got into the game the better and were three points to the good after nine minutes. In that period centre-forward Mikey O’Shea laid down his marker with two powerful points scored through the middle, on either side of a well struck 45 by full-forward Eanna Ryan.
A superb point off his left by Jamie Roche got Kilsheelan on the scoreboard 10 minutes in, soon followed by a free by Ben O’Connell to make it 0-3 to 0-2 after 13 minutes.
After Eoghan O’Brien was fouled, Eanna Ryan kicked his first free of the night for Mullinahone to double that lead but quickly Kilsheelan reduced it when a move started out of defence by Jack O’Loughlin was worked through Emmet Butler before Jamie Roche kicked over his second point of the evening to keep just a point between the sides.
The Kickhams then hit a purple patch to score 1-3 without reply in a six minutes spell. Two Eanna Ryan frees nudged them three points clear after 24 minutes. And after they won the midfield battle for the kick-out the very impressive Martin Kehoe powered through the centre to blast to the net in the 25th minute.
When the same Kehoe then kicked a point from 30 metres two minutes later suddenly Mullinahone were leading 1-7 to 0-3 with half-time closing in.
A long-range free from Jamie Roche in the 29th minute started the Kilsheelan comeback, before Mark Stokes, just on the field a minute, kicked a nice point to reduce the deficit further.
Two frees in time added-on at the end of the first half, both by Jamie Roche sent Kilsheelan to the break trailing 1-7 to 0-7 but in a much healthier position than had pertained just a few minutes earlier when they trailed by seven.
On the resumption with the wind in their sails, the Liam Stokes managed team started impressively and within four minutes had the deficit wiped out.
After 20 seconds Cathal Kelly finished a move involving Jamie Roche and Billy O’Connor to set the ball rolling, followed by two further points in rapid succession by Ben O’Connell, the second a free from 25 metres out which he had won himself.
Mullinahone then seemed unlucky when not to be awarded a penalty after keeper Adam Quigley stopped Eoghan O’Brien, somehow, but referee Patrick Fennelly gave the free out instead.
Kilsheelan hit the front for the very first time in the 38th minute with another Jamie Roche free won after a length-of the field passing movement where Mark Stokes and Jack O’Loughlin inter-changed a few times before Barry Kehoe was eventually fouled.
The pendulum had now swung Kilsheelan’s way and a fifth unanswered point in nine minutes since the restart put them two clear at 0-12 to 1-7. But the scoreboard had somehow decided Kilsheelan were 0-13 instead, much to the annoyance of the Kickhams mentors. The scoreboard – whatever about the referee – was not for changing, yet!
And when it seemed the game was slipping from Mullinahone they fought back. It seemed the trick was to get the ball to Mikey O’Shea at centre-forward and let him do the business. And two frees followed, both won by O’Shea and both converted by Eanna Ryan to tie things up at 0-12 to 1-9 (even if the scoreboard still had a mind of its own).
The pendulum was now swinging back big time towards the CJKs.
A move between Martin Kehoe and Mikey O’Shea saw the latter point to edge his side ahead once again with 10 minutes remaining.
And after Kehoe fielded magnificently in the middle of the park, O’Shea was off again and composed himself well to kick a left legged point to double the lead to two.
Kilsheelan were on the back foot as Mullinahone advanced at every opportunity and they were blessed when Adam Quigley managed to touch over a Mikey O’Shea fisted effort at goal after good work by Eoghan O’Brien and Martin Kehoe once more.
Four minutes from the end of normal time, yet another fisted point by O’Shea, his fourth white flag of the second half, put Mullinahone in an unassailable four point lead, or at least it seemed that way.
But they were thrown a lifeline in the 59th minute when John O’Dwyer was awarded a penalty – harshly it seemed after a brave block by Mullinahone’s centre-back Daire O’Brien, but the much nearer referee thought otherwise. Jason Madigan blasted home the spot kick (even if there was no spot available) and Kilsheelan were within a point.
Two minutes into time added-on the equaliser arrived when Mark Stokes was fouled and Jamie Roche obliged. No one would have minded a draw at this stage, but it wasn’t over just yet.
From the kick-out Emmet Butler fed Ben O’Connell and he kicked a fine point to edge Kilsheelan ahead once again. And when in the fifth minute of time added-on the same player landed a point from 40 metres that seemed it. Well almost!
A galloping run through the middle of the Kilsheelan defence by team captain Martin Kehoe won Mullinahone a free in the 66th minute and Kehoe landed the point to reduce the leeway to the minimum.
Amazingly, in the seventh minute of time at the mercy of the referee, Mullinahone’s Eanna Ryan won another free and was big enough himelf to land a deserved equaliser.
When the referee’s whistle blew, and with the evening closing in quickly, no one complained too much with no extra-time being played. Both sides deserved another crack at it.
Adam Quigley, Jack O’Loughlin, Cian Quinn, Shane Cosgrave, Jack O’Gorman, Jason Madigan (1-0), Conor Neville, Billy Murphy, John O’Dwyer, Billy O’Connor, Cathal Kelly (0-1), Ben O’Connell (0-6, 0-2F), Barry Kehoe, Jamie Roche (capt., 0-7, 0-5F), Emmet Butler.
Subs: Lee Ryan for O’Gorman (temporary, 20th minute); Mark Stokes (0-1) for O’Gorman (29).
Cathal Brett, Diarmuid White, Eoghan O’Dwyer, Cillian White, Conor O’Brien, Daire O’Brien, Shane Morris, Matthew Thompson, Martin Kehoe (capt., 1-2, 0-1F), Stephen Hickey, Mikey O’Shea (0-6), Conor Whelan, Eoghan O’Brien, Eanna Ryan (0-7, 0-6F, 0-1x45), Jack Lonergan.
Subs: Josh Rowan for Lonergan (41); Oisin Drennan for Hickey (47); Sean O’Dwyer for Morris (50).
Referee: Patrick Fennelly (Killenaule).