Roscrea now enjoy a huge opportunity to turn their season around. Indeed, the side coached by Laois’ Niall Rigney beat Mullinahone with eight points to spare on Saturday at Templetuohy and will now take on Clonoulty-Rossmore in the third round with a place in the quarter-finals, potentially, up for grabs.
Tipperary Water County Senior Hurling Championship
Roscrea 3-18 Mullinahone 0-19
Despite the heroics of Eoin Kelly the Roscrea lads were well on top for the most part in this contest with the searing pace of Shane Fletcher and an outstanding display from Darren O’Connor at centre-back frustrating the efforts of Mullinahone. Incidentally, Evan Fitzpatrick must surely have been crowned the man of the match following this contest - he proved himself a leader for Roscrea and belted over five points from play.
Roscrea played with the aid of a stiff breeze in the opening half and made sure to make the advantage count when roaring into a 1-12 to 0-6 interval lead. Roscrea may well have added three more goals to that tally, but Mullinahone ‘keeper Alan Walsh made a series of terrific saves during the opening five minutes from Shane Fletcher, Evan Fitzpatrick and Conor Sheedy.
John Ryan and Evan Fitzpatrick combined beautifully inside the opening sixteen seconds before Fergus Hannon buried a goal against a Mullinahone team who appeared a little shell-shocked by the pace of the Roscrea attack. Conor Sheedy (two frees) and Jason Gilmartin added points soon after and Roscrea led 1-3 to no-score with seven minutes played. Mullinahone tried valiantly to dig in, but Roscrea led 1-7 to 0-3 entering the second quarter.
Considering the breeze this was still a manageable deficit for Mullinahone, but Roscrea, with Evan Fitzpatrick running the show from the middle of the field, then fired over four points without reply thanks to Geoff Ryan, Fitzpatrick, Shane Fletcher and Conor Sheedy to leave eleven between the sides.
To their credit Mullinahone, thanks in no small part to a magnificent long-range point from Eoin Fennelly, did out-score Roscrea 0-3 to 0-1 during the closing minutes of the half, but you suspected that the damage was already done as Niall Rigney’s men led 1-12 to 0-6 at the break.
But if some in the crowd thought this contest was done and dusted Eoin Kelly did not. Indeed, the Thurles Sarsfields coach fired over six points during the opening eleven minutes of the second half to drag Mullinahone back into this contest.
Kelly landed two points from play, converted three long-range frees (one an absolute monster) and also converted a ’65 to leave just four points between the sides (0-12 to 1-13) with forty-one minutes played (Shane Fletcher managed the response for Roscrea).
At every opportunity Eoin Kelly was goading his teammates to greater efforts with a clenched fist. And, the roof threatened to cave in entirely in the 42nd minute, but Daryl Ryan saved smartly from Paul Kelly and then Michael Dunne batted Kelly’s cross over the bar with the Roscrea goal at his mercy (0-13 to 1-13).
That scare sparked Roscrea back into life and in a 45th minute Alan Walsh performed a good save to deny the raiding Evan Fitzpatrick, but Shane Fletcher was on hand to bury the rebound (2-13 to 0-13).
Graham Horan hit back for Mullinahone, but Roscrea were much more comfortable in their hurling during the final quarter and added three consecutive points to their tally - Evan Fitzpatrick drilled over two of these while Sam Conlon notched another before Shane Fletcher scooted in to bury his side’s third goal in the 50th minute (3-16 to 0-14).
Mullinahone hit back with late points from Eoin Kelly (three, two frees), Graham Horan and Paul Kelly, but even though a placed ball, which Eoin landed from the edge of his own D, drew gasps of admiration from the crowd Roscrea were very good value for this eight-point victory.
Roscrea: Daryl Ryan (0-1, 0-1 frees), David Buckley, Joe Carroll, Michael Campion, Shane Davis, Darren O’Connor, Keith McMahon, Lee Cashin, Conor Sheedy (0-6, 0-5 frees), Geoff Ryan (0-1), Fergus Hannon (1-0), Evan Fitzpatrick (0-5), Shane Fletcher (2-2), John Ryan, Jason Gilmartin (0-1). Subs: (36th) Sam Conlon (0-1) for Lee Cashin, (53rd) Luke Cashin for Jason Gilmartin, (60th) Michael Parlon for David Buckley.
Mullinahone: Alan Walsh, Kevin Walzer, Paul Curran, Luke Mullally, Jack Shelly, Niall Curran, Eoin Fennelly (0-1), Alan Curran, Colin Shelly, Michael Dunne (0-1), AJ Cronin (0-1), Paul Kelly (0-2), Eoin Kelly (0-10, 0-5 frees, 0-1 ’65), Graham Horan (0-4, 0-1 frees), Martin Keogh. Subs: (36th) Enda Keane for Martin Keogh.
Referee: Garrett Howard (Burgess).
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