Kiladangan appeared a class act when Brian Lawlor’s men beat a determined Toomevara team in the opening round of the Hibernian Inn North Tipperary Senior Hurling Championship at MacDonagh Park in Cloughjordan on Friday night. As is consistent with the tradition of the Greyhounds the Toome lads gave this contest their all and were within a point with five minutes to play (1-12 to 1-11). But, in an illustration of their composure and ability, Kiladangan out-scored their opponents 0-5 to 0-1 when it mattered post and duly progressed to the quarter-finals of the divisional series.
Hibernian Inn North Tipperary Senior
Hurling Championship First Round
Kiladangan 1-17 Toomevara 1-12
This was a terrifically entertaining contest and Kiladangan passed this test of their title credentials thanks to their grit, some really smart hurling and outstanding individual displays from James Quigley, Johnny Horan, Joe Gallagher, Billy Seymour and man of the match Paul Flynn. Meanwhile for Toomevara Jason and Jake Ryan enjoyed terrific outings at half-back while Joey McLoughney also shone brightly for the Greyhounds.
Toomevara played with the aid of the breeze in the opening half and the sides were tied at 0-2 apiece following a Mark McCarthy cracker in the seventh minute. Kiladangan, however, scooted into a significant lead in the ninth when Billy Seymour batted Tadhg Gallagher’s diagonal delivery down and into the path of Paul Flynn who buried a left-handed shot.
The sides then exchanged points before Toomevara created a terrific goal-scoring opportunity of their own when Josh McCarthy set up Mark McCarthy, but the full-forward drilled his shot wide in the 13th minute. Three minutes later Shane Nolan created another goal-scoring chance for Toome, but this time Barry Hogan saved smartly from Joey McLoughney.
Toomevara closed the gap to a single point in the 16th minute when Robbie Quirke set up Russell Quirke for a cracker (1-4 to 0-6), but you sensed all along that the Kiladangan lads were doing that bit better considering the elements. Indeed, Kiladangan proceeded to edge the remainder of the opening half 0-3 to 0-2 and led by two at the break (1-7 to 0-8).
The highlight during the closing minutes of the opening half was undoubtedly a Paul Flynn point in the 30th minute - the left-hander appeared to be bottled up when he landed a mighty effort off his right, on the run and from as close to the sideline was you can get.
Early in the second half Paul Flynn had extended his personal tally to 1-4 from play when Toomevara opted to withdraw full-back Andrew Ryan. Your heart absolutely went out to Ryan; the Toome team captain was obviously hampered by injury and it was sensible to withdraw the club stalwart at that juncture.
In the 44th minute Willie Connors played a smart sideline ball one-two with Tadhg Gallagher before landing a superb point and when Joe Gallagher sparked a move which culminated in a Seán Hayes effort four minutes later Kiladangan led by four (1-11 to 0-10).
By now both sides had opted to employ an extra defender and although it was not clear which side initiated this tactical set-up the change in shape at the respective ends of the field appeared to suit Toomevara marginally better.
Joey McLoughney and Willie Connors traded efforts before Toomevara raised the roof in the 55th minute when Jason Ryan found Paul Ryan with a pin-point delivery; the corner-forward took on the Kiladangan defence and set-up Mark McCarthy for the finish (1-12 to 1-11).
The Toomevara faithful sensed an upset and roared on their men to even greater efforts, but just then Joe Gallagher illustrated his leadership qualities; the Kiladangan captain drilled over two left-handed points in the 56th and 57th minutes while he also had a hand in a move which saw Paul Flynn demand a save from Toome ‘keeper Darren Cuddihy.
Jason Ryan managed a response from long-range for Toomevara, but Kiladangan surged toward the final whistle in very impressive fashion when Billy Seymour (two) and Tadhg Gallagher fired over in second half injury time.
Kiladangan: Barry Hogan, Martin Minehan, James Quigley, Declan McGrath, Jack Loughnane, Darren Moran, Johnny Horan, Willie Connors (0-3, 0-1 frees), David Sweeney, Tadhg Gallagher (0-1), Joe Gallagher (0-4), Ruairí Gleeson (0-1), Billy Seymour (0-3), Paul Flynn (1-4), Seán Hayes (0-1). Subs: (8th) Alan Flynn for David Sweeney.
Toomevara: Darren Cuddihy, Cathal Kennedy, Andrew Ryan, Liam Ryan, Jake Ryan, Jason Ryan (0-1), Josh McCarthy, Robbie Quirke (0-1), Russell Quirke (0-1), Jack Delaney, Joey McLoughney (0-2), Kevin McCarthy (0-1), Shane Nolan (0-1), Mark McCarthy (1-4, 0-3 frees), Paul Ryan (0-1). Subs: (34th) Darren Delaney for Andrew Ryan, (41st) Luke Ryan for Jason Ryan (blood - reversed in the 42nd minute), (51st) Eoin Grace for Shane Nolan, (58th) Luke Ryan for Robbie Quirke.
Referee: Philip Kelly (Ballinahinch).
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