Killenaule beat Carrick Swan in Tipperary SHC relegation play-off to remain in hurling's top tier

Michael Heverin


Michael Heverin

Killenaule beat Carrick Swan in Tipperary SHC relegation play-off to remain in hurling's top tier

Kieran Bergin was in top form for Killenaule

Killenaule will still be competing for the Dan Breen Cup next season after winning their County SHC relegation play off with Carrick Swan at Monroe today, 2-20 to 3-6.

But Swan will be down in the Seamus O Riain Cup after a spirited display just fell short against the Robins.

It was a terrific contest between the South sides on a beautiful sunny afternoon but no one could question Killenaule's superiority on the day.

Declan Fanning, Eoin O'Connell and Joe O'Dwyer were outstanding in defence, Killian O'Dwyer had a storming game in the middle of the park with Kieran Bergin, Dean O'Connor and Tom Stakelum a huge threat upfront.

It looked like it would be a cakewalk for Killenaule when they led 1-5 to 0-1 after ten minutes, the goal coming from a Joe O'Dwyer free from his own half in the fourth minute that deceived Swan keeper Kieran Lonergan and went all the way to the net.

Swan needed a lifeline and they got it when Colin Waters kicked to the net past Matthew O'Donnell in the 11th minute. Killian O'Dwyer responded with a Killenaule point but Swan received another huge boost a minute later when this time O'Donnell seemed to lose the flight of the ball and a Gavin O'Halloran sideline cut nestled in the net to leave it 1-6 to 2-1.

But Swan never built on those goals and Killenaule hit three points without reply from Dean O'Connor and two from Tony Doyle, one a free.

Yet Swan hit back with three in a row from Danny O'Hanlon, two frees, to leave it 1-9 to 2-4 three minutes from the break.

The points seemed to come in threes and three in a row from a Tony Doyle free and two from Dean O'Connor put Killenaule 1-12 to 2-4 ahead at the break after a rip-roaring first half.

When Kieran Bergin hit the opener thirty seconds into the second half it looked as if Killenaule might pull clear but once more Swan character came to the fore and from a goalmouth melee, one of their forwards got a hurley to the sliothar and O'Donnell was beaten for a third time.

That brought the lead back to three points, 1-13 to 3-4 but the Carrick side were never able to narrow the gap more, despite big game from Danny O'Hanlon, Colin Waters, Gavin O'Halloran and Kevin Lanigan.

Killenaule missed some scoreable chances but still kept knocking over the crucial points to keep daylight between the sides.

Swan needed a goal to revive their challenge and keep them in the top tier of Tipperary hurling and they went close without ever troubling O'Donnell again.

Instead it Killenaule who found the net again to wrap up the win, Tom Stakelum fielding a long ball in from Killian O'Dwyer to turn and raise the green flag.

Kieran Bergin was another in attack who looked dangerous all afternoon and it was appropriate that he finished the scoring with a fine point.

The prize at stake ensured a game of great intensity before a fine attendance. Swan lost nothing in defeat and in typical fashion, never gave up the fight.

But with key players in all the right positions, Killenaule looked the better team and can start the next campaign knowing that the Dan Breen is still there to play for.