Thurles Sarsfields proved much too strong for Shannon Rovers when the sides met in the weekend’s second Tipperary Water County Intermediate Hurling Champions semi-final which was staged at Borrisoleigh last Sunday.
Tipperary Water County Intermediate
Hurling Championship Semi-Final
Thurles Sarsfields 1-17
Shannon Rovers 0-12
Sarsfields will meet Cashel King Cormacs in the final in two weeks' time and with a talented side they will be difficult to beat as they possess so many score getters in midfielder Pa Crone as well as Seanie Butler, Richie Ruth and Mossie McCormack in attack. David Kennedy did well at centre-back while Seosamh Ryan and Paul Maher never put a foot wrong on the wings.
Indeed, Sarsfields wasted no time in taking charge of this contest when registering 1-3 without reply during the opening ten minutes. They led by eleven points at half-time, but Richie Ruth was a big loss when he departed the scene with an injury in the 27th minute.
There was a strong resistance from Rovers in the third quarter where Andy Byrne, Alan Hogan and Alan Hannigan were to the fore, but it was the all-round ability, skill and speed that won the day for the Mid Tipperary side.
The impressive Pa Crone opened proceedings in the third minute followed by a pointed free from Seanie Butler a minute later. The pressure continued as the experienced Richie Ruth increased his side’s lead in the eighth minute after a poor clearance by the Rovers defence.
A minute later Mathew Tierney was deemed to have thrown the ball resulting in a fifty-metre free to Seanie Butler whose free failed to reach the target. Backs and forwards fought for possession before Richie Ruth flashed the ball to the net with a question of a square ball ignored.
Andy Byrne opened Rovers account in the eleventh minute. Seanie Butler replied with a seventy-five metre free before Jack O’Sullivan scored a fine point for Rovers in the 13th minute.
However, Sarsfields had all the answers as Butler (free) and Richie Ruth increased the Blues' lead. A ninety-metre free by Derek Horan kept Rovers in the frame, but Thurles had other ideas as Butler, Mossie McCormack, Dylan Burke, followed by a super point from Pa Crone with Dylan Burke grabbing another in added time to see the teams move to the dressing rooms with Thurles leading 1-11 to 0-3.
The management had words of encouragement for the Rovers fifteen who returned to the fray for the second half with a mission and they dominated play and the scoreboard with four unanswered points beginning with substitute Alan Hannigan followed by another from Alan Hogan. Hogan was involved again when he added a sixty-five before Byrne and Hogan combined for the latter to score and leave the Northmen eight in arrears.
But Thurles eventually found their feet as Cian Treacy scored. Alan Hannigan replied closely followed by Andy Byrne great point leaving a six point difference. It looked manageable, but Thurles had other ideas. A defence-splitting run by Dylan Burke allowed the wing-forward to find Kevin Dunne who scored. Dunne was involved in Sarfields next telling run as he switched play to Seanie Butler who scored and Sarsfields led by eight with fifteen minutes remaining.
Alan Hogan picked off his third point, but two Mossie McCormack points kept Thurles in safe hands. Derek Horan had a point disallowed as it was deemed that Rovers had sixteen players on the field with Barry Cahalan arriving to replace Horan.
By then both sides had begun to empty their respective benches as Alan Hogan scored his fourth, but in the closing stages it man of the match Pa Crone who had the final say with his third and final point of the day.
Thurles Sarsfields: Willie Tierney, Tom Tierney, Aidan Ryan, Kieran Moloney, Seosamh Ryan, David Kennedy, Paul Maher, Pa Crone (0-3), Harry Fitzgibbon, Dylan Burke (0-2), Michael Russell, Kevin Dunne (0-1), Richie Ruth (1-2), Mossie McCormack (0-3), Seanie Butler (0-5, 0-3 frees). Subs: Cian Treacy (0-1) for Ruth (26th), Conor Lanigan for Treacy (56th), Barry O’Dwyer for K Moloney (57th), Michael O’Dwyer for Russell (58th).
Shannon Rovers: Paddy Heenan, James O’Sullivan, George Hannigan, Jack McLoughney, Austin Tierney, Alan Byrne, John Flannery, Jack O’Sullivan (0-1), Derek Horan (0-1 free), Matthew Tierney, Andrew Byrne (0-3), Padraig O’Meara, Paul Burke, Alan Hogan (0-4, 0-1 '65), Conal Moran. Subs: Alan Hannigan (0-2) for Tierney (HT), Conor Ryan (0-1) for P Burke (46th), Barry Cahalan for Horan (51st), Danny Burke for Andy Byrne (59th).
Referee: John O’Grady (Rosegreen).