Loughmore's Lorcan Egan is challenged by Paul Maher, Kilsheelan/Kilcash, during Saturday evening's County Senior Football Championship clash at Golden - Picture: Michael Boland
Loughmore/Castleiney 2-9 Kilsheelan/Kilcash 0-4
What had been a close and competitive game turned into a procession for Loughmore/Castleiney in this opening round tie in the Tipperary Water County Senior Football Championship at Golden on Saturday evening.
Loughmore led by 0-7 to 0-3 at the break. But on the evidence of their spirited first half performance, and with the strong wind to assist them in the second period, Kilsheelan/Kilcash looked to have every chance of causing an upset.
However the south team had flattered only to deceive, failing to raise a gallop in a one-sided second half. Drawing on all of their craft and experience, Loughmore used the ball intelligently to retain possession, while frustrating their opponents and strangling the life out of the contest.
Scores were at a premium in the third quarter, but crucially both points scored in that period came from Loughmore. Conor Ryan had the first when his lobbed effort was pushed over the bar by Kilsheelan’s Jason Madigan, and Ryan again found the target following a move that started with a peach of a pass from John McGrath.
Kilsheelan suffered a setback when they lost county player Daire Brennan to a black card 16 minutes into the second half; and their hopes were dealt another hammer blow within a minute when Liam McGrath fired home the opening goal after he had been picked out by Noel McGrath.
That left the score at 1-9 to 0-3, and confirmation that the game was over as a contest duly arrived three minutes later when Kilsheelan’s Jason Madigan failed to prevent Conor Ryan’s shot from crossing the line for Loughmore’s second goal.
Kilsheelan only managed a single score in the second half, from Brendan Martin’s free seven minutes from the end. But by the time that final score of the game was signalled, the outcome had long since been decided.
This result, and their overall performance, only served to illustrate that Loughmore are on course to have another major say in the destination of this year’s championship. Tomas McGrath was at the heart of many of their best moves, combining particularly well with top scorer Conor Ryan.
John McGrath grew in prominence as the game progressed while their performance was also underpinned by the solid displays of Noel McGrath, John Meagher, Liam Treacy and Liam McGrath.
Kilsheelan will take some encouragement from their form in the first half, when they worked overtime while playing into the teeth of the strong wind on a blustery, raw and damp evening.
Loughmore laid down a marker within seconds of the throw-in with Noel McGrath’s point, which Tomas McGrath added to a couple of minutes later.
Kilsheelan opened their account with a converted free from county goalkeeper Evan Comerford in the fourth minute. In the build-up to that score Loughmore’s Lorcan Egan was fortunate to escape a black card when he hauled down Mark Kehoe, whose pace and directness caused Loughmore problems in the early stages.
Kehoe drew Kilsheelan level with a neat point following Conor Davin Murphy’s pass in the fifth minute.
Kilsheelan, thanks to the best efforts of Eoin Kelly, Bill Maher, Mark Kehoe, Brendan Martin, Daire Brennan and Paul Denn, were well in the game at this stage. But they always found scores hard to come by, which ultimately proved their downfall, and Loughmore stretched their advantage courtesy of points from Tomas McGrath and a pair of Liam Treacy frees.
Kilsheelan drew closer when Mark Kehoe found his range after they had built steadily from defence, with Paul Maher supplying the final pass. But that was their last score for well over a half an hour, as the game slipped away from them.
As Loughmore pressed Noel McGrath had a dangerous low shot well blocked by Conor Davin Murphy, before two Liam McGrath frees gave Loughmore that four-points advantage at the interval.
Despite playing into the elements on the turnover, Loughmore underlined their resoluteness and strength to run out comfortable winners.
Kilsheelan/Kilcash - Evan Comerford (0-1 free), David Corcoran, Conor Davin Murphy, Jason Madigan, Bill Maher, Eoin Kelly, Billy Murphy, Daire Brennan, Paul Denn, Aidan Keane, Paul Maher, Cathal Kelly, Padraig Hickey, Brendan Martin (0-1 free) and Mark Kehoe (0-2).
Substitutes - Jamie Roche for Conor Davin Murphy (35 minutes), Kevin Larkin for Padraig Hickey (42 minutes), Billy O’Connor for Daire Brennan (black card 46 minutes), Shane Egan for Bill Maher (48 minutes) and Adrian Maguire for Paul Denn (53 minutes).
Loughmore/Castleiney - Dominic Brennan, Lorcan Egan, John Meagher, Tomas McGrath (0-2), John Ryan, Ciaran McGrath, Joseph Hennessy, Noel McGrath (0-1), Brian McGrath, Aidan McGrath, Eoghan Ryan, Liam Treacy (0-2 frees), Liam McGrath (1-0 and 0-2 frees), Conor Ryan (1-2) and John McGrath.
Substitute - Peter Nyland for John McGrath (53 minutes).
Referee - David Grogan (Aherlow).
For more Tipperary sport read Clonmel Commercials beat Arravale Rovers in County Senior Football Championship