Burgess battled brilliantly at Borrisoleigh on Saturday evening to earn a draw with a disappointing Loughmore-Castleiney side. Noel Morris’ men led by seven at the break (2-14 to 1-10) and by five with twelve minutes to play, but Burgess clung on and out-scored their opponents 1-4 to 0-2 in a frantic finish.
Tipperary Water County Senior Hurling Championship
Loughmore-Castleiney 2-21 Burgess 2-21
From a scoring point of view Burgess’ Stephen Murray (1-14) and Loughmore-Castleiney’s Liam McGrath (1-5) caught the eye, but Loughmore-Castleiney supporters will probably be disappointed to learn that their opponents out-fought Noel Morris’ men when the ball was there to be won. Loughmore-Castleiney played the sweeter hurling for the majority of this contest, but it was Burgess’ determination to commit men to the rucks and get on the breaks which yielded a huge dividend for the side coached by Paul Keane (Adare, Limerick).
Right from the off it was obvious that Burgess were in determined mood and would not be willing to play the victim in a group which also features Upperchurch-Drombane and Nenagh Éire Óg. Burgess were absolutely ravenous for the contested ball throughout this clash and raced into an early lead thanks to a Stephen Murray goal in the fifth minute (1-1 to 0-1).
Once on the ball Loughmore-Castleiney pieced together some terrific moves and none more so than in the 14th minute when Brian McGrath’s delivery found Liam Treacy who, in turn, passed to Liam McGrath. The corner-forward set up Anthony Ryan for a smashing goal off his right and Loughmore led by one (1-4 to 1-3).
Burgess stuck at it, however, and the game was tied (1-6 apiece) with twenty-two minutes on the clock when Liam McGrath buried a terrific three-pointer from a tight angle following good work from Tomás McGrath.
Loughmore-Castleiney upped their performance a gear or three for the remainder of the half and added a further eight points to their tally to lead 2-14 to 1-10 at the break. Noel McGrath scored two of these efforts (one sideline) while Liam McGrath (two), John McGrath, Liam Treacy and Tomás McGrath helped themselves to the others.
Burgess, however, were stilling hanging tough and must have drawn encouragement from Donagh Maher who was hurling great stuff on Noel McGrath and fired over two terrific points late in the opening period. And, with Johnny Mulqueen doing as well as anyone could be expected to on John McGrath the Burgess men were far from out of the reckoning.
Stephen Murray flashed over two points (one free) during the opening minute of the second half and although Loughmore responded with a brace of their own Burgess out-scored their opponents 0-4 to 0-1 between the 37th and 43rd minutes to leave just four between the sides entering the final quarter (2-17 to 1-16).
Stephen Murray - who often found himself completely unmarked - regularly tormented Loughmore, but when Peter Nyland forced Noel Morris’ men five clear (2-19 to 1-17) in the 48th minute it appeared as if Burgess were doomed.
Just then, however, the menacing Bill O’Flaherty was sprung from the bench and caused absolute havoc in the Loughmore-Castleiney full-back line.
A Stephen Murray free reeled the hot favourites in before Johnny Mulqueen’s long-range free in the 56th minute found O’Flaherty who broke the ball down and into the path of Danny Ryan who delivered a composed finish off his right. A minute later another back-to-front delivery found the hand of O’Flaherty and he sensibly looked for Stephen Murray who had all the time in the world to flash over the equaliser (2-19 apiece).
To be fair Loughmore-Castleiney steadied up nicely and won two late frees which John McGrath drilled over to force Noel Morris’ men two clear in the first minute of injury time.
Burgess, however, came roaring back into contention once more when Tony Dunne notched a point from play. And, Pat Gibson’s were denied a potential equalizer in the 63rd minute when Stephen Murray was penalized for over-carrying when two defenders were swinging out of the Burgess attacker deep inside the Loughmore-Castleiney half.
The Burgess lads mustered one final attack, however, in the 64th minute - Bill O’Flaherty caused consternation, the ball broke and following a fierce contest for possession Donagh Maher flicked over the equalizer.
Loughmore-Castleiney: Evan Sweeney, Lorcan Egan, Joseph Hennessy, Dinny Brereton, John Ryan, Brian McGrath, John Meagher, Eoghan Ryan, Willie Eviston (0-1), Noel McGrath (0-4, 0-1 sideline), Anthony Ryan (1-0), Tomás McGrath (0-1), Liam McGrath (1-5), Liam Treacy (0-3), John McGrath (0-6, 0-4 frees). Subs: (47th) Peter Nyland (0-1) for Eoghan Ryan.
Burgess: Ronan Tucker, John Mulqueen, Shane Maher, Pat Woods, Donagh Maher (0-4), Kieran Ryan, Tadhg O’Halloran, Willie Ryan, Stephen Murray (1-14, 0-9 frees, 0-1 ’65), Jack O’Flaherty (0-1), Danny Ryan (1-1), Tony Dunne (0-1), Eoin Hogan, Stephen Kirwan, Conor Gill. Subs: (26th) Ben Cooney for Tony Dunne (blood - reversed in the 28th minute), (41st) Ben Cooney for Conor Gill, (54th) Bill O’Flaherty for Tadhg O’Halloran.
Referee: Johnny Ryan (Boherlahan-Dualla).
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