Nenagh Éire Óg's Barry Heffernan in action against Upperchurch-Drombane at Dolla on Saturday. Picture: Eamonn McGee
Nenagh Éire Óg overcame a slow start to win convincingly against a very disappointing Upperchurch-Drombane side at Dolla last Saturday evening in the opening round of the Tipperary Water County Senior Hurling Championship.
Tipperary Water County Senior Hurling Championship
Nenagh Éire Óg 2-21 Upperchurch-Drombane 1-15
Nenagh went four points in arrears after six minutes before eventually finding their feet to grab four unanswered points of their own through Barry Heffernan (three - one each from play, a free and a ’65) and Jake Morris added a fourth.
Tommy Heffernan gave Éire Óg the lead, but Nenagh’s joy was short-lived when Loughlin Ryan put Upperchurch-Drombane back in front with a goal in the 13th minute. Pádraig Greene increase the Upperchurch lead, but Nenagh levelled matters when Jake Morris ghosted past the Upperchurch cover to send a low angled shot out of the reach of goalkeeper Ciarán Short to force Éire Óg 1-6 to 1-5 in front after fifteen minutes.
But in an end-to-end contest, which provided many good scores, both Jake Morris (free) and Jack Butler swapped efforts before Upperchurch-Drombane stormed into a two-point lead after Jack Butler made it 1-9 to 1-7 in the 21st minute.
However, Nenagh responded when points by Michael Heffernan and Jake Morris (from a free) had the scores level at 1-9 each. Then Pádraig Greene scored his fourth point to edge Upperchurch in front, but another Jake Morris free and a lead score by James Mackey presented the 2018 county finalists with a 1-11 to 1-10 half-time lead.
In the opening ten minutes of the second half it was all Nenagh as Jake Morris (free), Barry Heffernan and James Mackey scored a point each. But Upperchurch-Drombane were never far away and ace marksman Pádraig Greene scored four unanswered points in a four-minute blast to bring the teams level for the sixth and final time.
Once again Nenagh Éire Óg regained the advantage and six unanswered points - which arrived courtesy of Jake Morris, Andrew Coffey, Paddy Murphy and Tommy Heffernan with Andrew Coffey and Paddy Murphy doubling their personal tallies - saw Nenagh move well clear and when Tommy Heffernan notched his team’s second goal the Blues were out well out of sight.
Nenagh Éire Óg: Shane Hennessey, Mark Flannery, Adam Gratton, Conor McCarthy, Conor Ryan, Dáire Quinn, Adam Carey, Barry Heffernan (0-4, 0-2 frees, 0-1 ’65), Killian Gleeson (0-1), Michael Heffernan (0-2), Tommy Heffernan (1-1), Paddy Murphy (0-2), Jake Morris (1-7, 0-5 frees), Philip Hickey, James Mackey (0-2). Subs: (24th) Andrew Coffey (0-2) for M Flannery.
Upperchurch-Drombane: Ciarán Shortt, Gerard Grant, Matt Ryan, Pádraig Stapleton, Gavin Ryan, James Barry, Colm Ryan, Niall Grant, Pádraig Greene (0-9, 0-7 frees, 0-1 ’65), Paul Shanahan, Jack Butler (0-2), Michael Lee (0-1), Loughlin Ryan (1-0), Colm Stapleton (0-1), Paul Ryan (0-2). Subs: (29th) John Ryan for P Stapleton, (50th) Diarmuid Grant for N Grant, (51st) Pat Shortt for C Stapleton.
Referee: Paddy Ivors (Ballingarry).