Loughmore-Castleiney’s dominance over Templemore neighbours JK Bracken’s was every bit as pronounced as their eight-point win in the Tipperary Water County Senior Football Championship group one at Templetuohy on Monday night suggests.
Tipperary Water County Senior Football Championship
Loughmore-Castleiney 1-16 JK Bracken’s 2-5
There was no sign of Loughmore soft-pedalling through this game which was a must-win fixture for JK Bracken’s following a defeat suffered at the hands of Kilsheelan-Kilcash in the opening round.
Even without Brian McGrath, Tommy Maher and John Meagher Loughmore-Castleiney were far superior to their opponents who operated at a slower pace and with considerably less efficiency.
Winners over Drom & Inch in their opening game Loughmore-Castleiney are rightly short-listed as potential county champions and they underlined their pedigree with a solid performance which was not their best, but certainly more than enough for the test that which confronted them.
JK Bracken’s started well enough and enjoyed a fair deal of possession, but poor finishing and a slow build-up, which allowed Loughmore crowd their defence, cost the Templemore lads scores. They found themselves trailing 0-3 to 0-1 after ten minutes with Loughmore far more clinical in front of goal.
By the end of the first quarter JK Bracken’s had drawn level at 0-3 each and things were looking up for them, but then Loughmore took complete control when adding six points without reply before the interval for a 0-9 to 0-3 lead - Liam McGrath, Aidan McGrath, Liam Treacy and Conor Ryan being the chief flag-raisers for Loughmore.
JK Bracken’s were experiencing a lot of problems on their own kick-outs in the first half and things did not improve on the change-over as Loughmore stretched their lead by three further points by the 42nd minute.
Éanna McBride got Templemore’s first score of the second half, but three further Loughmore points had them looking easiest of winners - Loughmore-Castleiney were 0-15 to 0-4 to the good at the three quarters stage.
Then came a Templemore rally inspired by full-back Cathal Scully who assumed an attacking role. In the 50th minute he was hauled down and the resultant penalty was confidently struck home by his brother Shane.
From the kick-out JK Bracken’s were attacking again and Shane Scully slipped through for a second goal and then pointed a free to leave only four points in it with six minutes to play (0-15 to 2-5).
JK Bracken’s were throwing everything into attack and the inevitable happened as in a counter-attack Liam McGrath was put through on goal and the Loughmore man made no mistake to take the starch out of the JK Bracken’s recovery. Noel McGrath added a fine point in injury time for a 1-16 to 2-5 win.
Loughmore-Castleiney’s remaining game is against Kilsheelan-Kilcash and all appears to be going well for them as they continue to do the business in both hurling and football. They were comfortable all the way in this encounter with Aidan and Liam McGrath leading by example, ably abetted by Liam Treacy, Joseph Hennessy and newcomer Conor Ryan who made an impressive championship debut.
JK Bracken’s played neat possession football at times, but the tempo was short of what is needed at senior level and they were also guilty of faulty distribution. Their last group game is against Drom & Inch, an encounter that is of immense importance to both clubs. Cathal Scully and Lorcan Egan worked their socks off to get them going with Aidan Fogarty, Paddy Cadell, Éanna McBride and Shane Doyle also doing their bit.
Loughmore-Castleiney: Dominic Brennan, Lorcan Egan, Joseph Hennessy, Tomás McGrath, John Ryan, Ciarán McGrath, Eoghan Ryan, Noel McGrath (0-1), Joseph Nyland, John McGrath (0-1), Liam Treacy (0-2), Evan Sweeney, Conor Ryan (0-3), Aidan McGrath (0-3), Liam McGrath (1-6, 0-3 frees).
JK Bracken’s: Radek Natkaneicz, Michael Egan, Cathal Scully, Martin Delaney, Tom Murphy, Éanna McBride (0-1), Lorcan Egan, Paddy Cadell (0-1), Jordan Moloney, David O’Shea, Shane Doyle (0-1), Aidan Fogarty, Neil Quinlan, Lyndon Fairbrother, Shane Scully (2-2, 1-1 frees). Subs: Jack Fogarty for Moloney (44th), Moloney for A Fogarty (57th).
Referee: Derek O’Mahoney (Ardfinnan).