Galtee Rovers got the defence of their Shane Hennessy Agri-Advisor West Tipperary Senior Football Championship title off to a winning start as they just edged out Aherlow Gaels in glorious sunshine at Sean Treacy Park on Sunday.
Shane Hennessy Agri-Advisor West Tipperary Senior Football Championship
Galtee Rovers 1-10 Aherlow Gaels 0-10
Adam McGrath’s goal ultimately proved to be the difference between the sides. Aherlow appeared to be in control during the opening quarter, but failed to make their dominance count on the scoreboard. Meanwhile Galtee Rovers will wonder why they were playing possession football and holding on for the final whistle having missed two or three good goal-scoring opportunities.
Aherlow Gaels dominated the opening quarter with their running game causing serious problems for Galtee Rovers, but they failed to make this count fully and led by just two points (0-3 to 0-1) after twelve minutes.
Barry Grogan opened the scoring with a superb point in the second minute. It took Galtee Rovers six minutes to register their opening score (a point from a free from Shane Egan) before Kevin Franks and Mark Russell pointed to open up a two-point lead.
Tony Egan cut the deficit to the minimum in the second quarter before Kevin Franks restored Aherlow Gaels' two-point cushion. Daire Egan got his name on the scoreboard before Cathal Dillon responded in kind.
Now Galtee Rovers were getting more into the game. Tony Egan placed a ball in front of the on-running Darren McGrath who was through on goal, but his effort went the wrong side of the post.
Minutes later Shane Egan worked his way through the Aherlow Gaels defence to go one-on-one with 'keeper Gordon Peters, but his shot also went the wrong side of the post.
Aherlow Gaels suffered a blow just before the break when Sean Mullins (who was having a big influence on the game) received a black card.
Shane Egan pointed a free in injury time to leave just the minimum between the sides at the interval 0-5 to 0-4 to Aherlow Gaels.
A Tony Egan free levelled matters on the resumption, but another Barry Grogan point (this time from a place ball) kept the Aherlow Gaels noses in front.
The game changed, however, during the next four minutes with four points from play which arrived courtesy of Rhys Byron, Darren McGrath, Shane Egan and Adam McGrath. Now Galtee Rovers enjoyed a three-point advantage.
Aherlow Gaels were struggling in front of the posts, but Barry Grogan did cut the deficit from a placed ball. At the opposite end Daire Egan cut a hole in the Gaels' defence before setting up his brother Shane, but he found the side netting.
Barry Grogan pointed another free before Adam McGrath eventually raised a green flag to rapturous cheers from the Galtee Rovers supporters.
With six minutes to go Shane Egan pointed to put Galtee Rovers five points up and in the driving seat. Aherlow Gaels never gave up, however, and points from Laurence Coskeran and Barry Grogan (free) left just a goal between the sides as the clock went into the red.
Galtee Rovers finished the game with fourteen men and held possession as they worked the ball through the hands in an attempt to wind down the clock. And, referee Mark Jordan’s final whistle was greeted with big cheers from the Galtee Rovers supporters - for the third year in-a-row they have defeated Aherlow Gaels in the West championship.
Best for Galtee Rovers were Shane Power who defended well, but was also well able to go forward. Daire Egan was always a threat while Shane Egan finished as their top scorer with 0-4. The two corner-forwards, Darren McGrath and Adam McGrath, caused plenty of problems for the Aherlow Gaels defence.
Best for Aherlow Gaels were Thomas Hanley and Laurence Coskeran. Cathal Dillon and Mark Russell got onto plenty of ball while Barry Grogan was the go-to man in the forwards. He finished with 0-5 while Kevin Franks was their top scorer from play with 0-2.
Galtee Rovers: Callum Fanning, Conor O’Sullivan, Eamon O’Connell, Tony O’Brien, Shane Power, Colin Morrissey, Daire Egan (0-1), Eric Grogan, Kevin Power, Shane Egan (0-4, 0-2 frees), Rhys Byron (0-1), Darren McGrath (0-1), Tony Egan (0-2, 0-1 free), Adam McGrath (1-1). Subs used: Ian O’Brien.
Aherlow Gaels: Gordon Peters, Danny Cunningham, Thomas Hanley, Sean Mullins, Tom O’Donoghue, Laurence Coskeran (0-1), Shane Russell, Cathal Dillon (0-1), John Hennessy, Stephen Moloney, Mark Russell (0-1), Shane Neville, Kevin Franks (0-2), Ed O’Meara, Barry Grogan (0-5, 0-4 frees). Subs used: John Moloney, Tadgh Carew, Patrick O’Donoghue, Sean Landers.
Referee: Mark Jordan (Golden-Kilfeacle).