Thanks to an eleven-point win over Kilsheelan-Kilcash on Tuesday, September 4th at Leahy Park in Cashel Loughmore-Castleiney have topped group one of the Tipperary Water County Senior Football Championship.
Tipperary Water County Senior Football Championship
Loughmore-Castleiney 2-12 Kilsheelan-Kilcash 0-7
Prior to this contest both sides had already qualified for the quarter-finals and this game was played early in order to facilitate the Mid men who face Thurles Sarsfields in their divisional senior hurling championship final on Sunday next.
Loughmore-Castleiney got through this encounter easily and unscathed. And, the exact opposite was the case for the South Tipperary outfit. Already without their influential county pairing of Bill Maher and Evan Comerford through injury, things went from bad to worse for Kilsheelan-Kilcash with their injury list growing by game’s end.
The contest was marred by a serious first half shoulder injury to Sean Martin when Loughmore-Castleiney’s Noel McGrath came down heavy on the Kilsheelan youngster leaving him grimacing in agony on the ground. After Sean Martin was initially helped to the sideline for treatment the game resumed.
But, strangely, the urgency of the situation was relayed back to match referee Paddy Russell by a doctor in attendance and the game was held up further. The Kilsheelan-Kilcash player was then removed to hospital from the pitch side.
It was a situation that greatly annoyed the Kilsheelan-Kilcash management team who were already agitated by the circumstances of the injury.
And, before half-time came another injury to Kilsheelan-Kilcash corner-back Kevin Larkin who was also carried off the field after falling heavily when contesting a high ball with Aidan McGrath.
Already understrength before the game, these latest setbacks will do absolutely nothing for Kilsheelan-Kilcash's prospects as the senior football championship comes to the real business end.
But they started this game positively and had the first two points on the board through Mark Kehoe and Brendan Martin within three minutes. The experienced Loughmore then settled and levelled matters by the 12th minute with points from Eamon Connolly and Conor Ryan, the latter a possible goal chance if more composure was forthcoming.
The Martin brothers, Brendan and Sean, combined in a flowing move before Sean, who was showing very well up to the time of his injury, fisted Kilsheelan back in front in the 18th minute.
However, from the kick-out Loughmore worked a move through the middle and in a one-two between Joseph Nyland and Liam Treacy, Nyland got on the end of the move to blast to the net for the lead for Declan Laffan’s side.
A high-sailing effort for a point by Brendan Martin inched just inside the top of the upright to pull the lead back to 1-2 to 0-4 after twenty minutes, but Kilsheelan wouldn’t score again in a 41-minute first half (and indeed for another eight after the break).
Following the hold up for Sean Martin’s injury Loughmore began to control the middle of the park with Liam Treacy, John McGrath and Noel McGrath showing prominently.
From there to the break they scored three unanswered points through John McGrath, Aidan McGrath and Eoin Ryan, the last point a length of the field effort before Ryan kicked from out on the left side for a 1-5 to 0-4 lead at the interval.
Inside a minute of the resumption John Smyth in the Kilsheelan goal was forced to make a full-length save to deny Loughmore captain John Meagher before Loughmore stretched their lead to five points in the 33rd minute thanks to a Noel McGrath effort.
Kilsheelan’s best player on the night, Mark Kehoe, had a fine solo point eight minutes after the restart as his side were finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the stronger and faster moving Loughmore lads.
A nice cross-field pass from Liam Treacy found its way to John McGrath who pointed in the 40th as Loughmore further asserted their authority around the centre. And, then mid-way through the half they should have had a goal when Eamonn Connolly somehow palmed over when it looked easier to score. And, when John McGrath again pointed from forty metres to make it 1-9 to 0-5 it seemed a lost cause for Adrian Walsh’s charges.
Soon afterwards it was exactly that when Loughmore banged in their second goal - once again it was Joseph Nyland, combining, as he had in the first half, with Liam Treacy, before soloing forty metres to drive low to the left corner.
Thereafter is was a case of playing down the clock with both sides in the last seven minutes or so.
Eoghan Kelly finished a good move with a deserved point for Kilsheelan after Donnacha Lonergan and Eoin Kehoe created the chance.
Joseph Nyland kicked a point to add to his brace of goals before Conor Ryan, for a hard-working effort, was rewarded with a white flag for Loughmore three minutes from time.
Brendan Martin and Eamon Connolly completed the scoring.
Loughmore-Castleiney: Dominic Brennan, Lorcan Egan, John Meagher, Tomás McGrath, Eoghan Ryan (0-1), Ciarán McGrath, Joseph Hennessy, Noel McGrath (0-1), Joseph Nyland (2-1), Aidan McGrath (0-1), Liam Treacy, Eamon Connolly (0-3), Liam McGrath, John McGrath (0-3), Conor Ryan (0-2). Subs: Ciaran Connolly for N McGrath (36th); Tommy Maher for Ryan (47th); John Ryan for L McGrath (51st).
Kilsheelan-Kilcash: John Smyth, Shane Egan, David Corcoran, Kevin Larkin, Eoin Kehoe, Daire Brennan, Eoghan Kelly (0-1), Paul Maher, Adrian Maguire, Martin Gibbs, Mark Kehoe (0-2), Niall Walsh, Sean Martin (0-1), Brendan Martin (0-3), Donncha Lonergan. Subs: Jimmy Ryan for S Martin (20th); James Geraghty for Larkin (39th); Tadgh Lonergan for Walsh (44th); Michael Halpin for D Lonergan (53rd); Kevin O’Donovan for Gibbs (55th); Darragh Kelly for Egan (58th).
Referee: Paddy Russell (Emly).