Borris-lleigh's Jody Harkin and goalkeeper James McCormack pictured in action against Loughmore-Castleiney’s Ciarán McGrath at The Ragg. Photo: Eamonn McGee
Loughmore-Castleiney got their Tipperary Water County Senior Hurling Championship campaign back on track at The Ragg on Wednesday evening thanks to an eleven-point win over Borris-Ileigh. Having lost their opening round contest against Kiladangan the Loughmore-Castleiney men badly needed a win and got so, but at a significant cost with both Tomás McGrath and John Ryan shipping straight red cards.
Tipperary Water County Senior Hurling Championship
Loughmore-Castleiney 2-22 Borris-Ileigh 0-17
Both red cards appeared needless as Loughmore-Castleiney dominated this contest for the most part. Indeed, Loughmore-Castleiney led by eight points when Tomás McGrath was sent off in the 48th minute while John Ryan was dismissed in the 60th. Fergal Horgan brandished red cards at both players for striking.
As a result of this clash in group four of the Tipperary Water County Senior Hurling Championship Kiladangan are top on four points (+5), Loughmore-Castleiney are second on two points (+10), Borris-Ileigh are third on two points (-7) and Portroe are fourth on zero points (-8).
On Saturday evening at MacDonagh Park in Nenagh the Kiladangan men got the better of Portroe (1-22 to 1-18). Borris-Ileigh beat Portroe (2-10 to 0-12) in the opening round while Loughmore-Castleiney lost a thriller against Kiladangan (1-11 to 0-15).
In the third round of games Loughmore-Castleiney will be expected to book their place in the quarter-finals courtesy of a victory over Portroe while Borris-Ileigh will require a seven-point win over Kiladangan in order to progress on scoring difference. This is a tall order for a Borris-Ileigh team who are already without Brendan Maher and Niall Kenny while Dan McCormack and Paddy Stapleton are most obviously carrying injuries.
Loughmore-Castleiney led at the break having played with the breeze (1-12 to 0-8). Noel McGrath played the deep-lying centre-forward role to perfection while John and Liam McGrath wreaked havoc on the inside line. Indeed, the opening six minutes featured a smashing Loughmore-Castleiney move: Liam Treacy, Liam McGrath and John McGrath combined beautifully before Ciarán McGrath delivered the composed finish and Declan Laffan’s men led 1-2 to 0-1.
Borris-Ileigh steadied nicely with Conor Kenny in outstanding form and managed to trade scores with Loughmore-Castleiney for some time although James McCormack was asked to make a terrific double save in the 13th minute to deny John McGrath and then Ciarán McGrath in quick succession.
An exhibition of free-taking from Conor Kenny kept Borris-Ileigh in touch and there was a very manageable three points between the sides (1-7 to 0-7) with twenty-three minutes played.
Loughmore-Castleiney, however, stepped it up there after and out-scored their opponents 0-5 to 0-1 during the closing minutes of the half. Loughmore-Castleiney’s combination play during this dominant period was, to say the very least, eye-catching.
Three successive points during the opening eleven minutes of the second half - one an absolute beaut from Conor Kenny - dragged Borris-Ileigh back into contention (1-12 to 0-11), but Loughmore-Castleiney responded to the challenge brilliantly when out-scoring their opponents 0-5 to 0-1 between the 42nd and 47th minutes. Noel and John McGrath were central to Loughmore-Castleiney’s best work and now Declan Laffan’s men led 1-17 to 0-12.
In the 48th minute a Conor Kenny raid was brought to an unceremonious end by Tomás McGrath and the Loughmore-Castleiney midfielder was sent off. Borris-Ileigh, however, struggled to take advantage of their numerical superiority. Indeed, Johnny Kelly’s men only managed 0-6 from play during this encounter.
There was still eight between the sides entering the final five minutes when Noel McGrath cracked over a superb shot into the wind and from inside his own half to open a nine-point gap (1-20 to 0-14). Borris-Ileigh chased late goals, but to little avail.
John Ryan was dismissed on the hour mark for what appeared a wild pull on Ray McCormack, but Loughmore-Castleiney finished impressively when John McGrath buried a goal in the 62nd minute following a gritty burst up the field from Brian McGrath.
Loughmore-Castleiney: Evan Sweeney, Lorcan Egan, Joseph Hennessy, Denis Brereton, John Ryan (0-1), Brian McGrath, John Meagher, Ciarán Connolly, Tomás McGrath, Liam Treacy, Noel McGrath (0-3), Aidan McGrath (0-2), John McGrath (1-12, 0-7 frees), Ciarán McGrath (1-0), Liam McGrath (0-3). Subs: (HT) Eoghan Ryan (0-1) for Liam Treacy, (40th) Joseph Nyland for Denis Brereton, (62nd) Anthony Ryan for Ciarán McGrath.
Borris-Ileigh: James McCormack, Thomas Fahy, Ciarán Cowan, Paddy Stapleton, Jody Harkin, Séamus Bourke, Liam Ryan, Seán McCormack (0-1), Jack Hogan, Conor Kenny (0-14, 0-11 frees), Shane Kenny, Jerry Kelly, Mathew Stapleton, Dan McCormack (0-1), Ray McCormack. Subs: (HT) Maurice Ryan for Thomas Fahy, (40th) David O’Connor (0-1) for Mathew Stapleton, (58th) Keith Ryan for Jack Hogan, (61st) Michael Ryan for Ray McCormack (blood - reversed in the 62nd minute).
Referee: Fergal Horgan (Knockavilla Kickhams).
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