Toomevara leap-frogged defending champions Clonoulty-Rossmore in group two of the FBD Insurance County Senior Hurling Championship courtesy of a two-point win at The Ragg on Sunday evening - the Greyhounds duly booked their place in the quarter-finals while Clonoulty-Rossmore must now win the West Tipperary Senior Hurling Championship in order to progress to the knock-out stage of the competition.
FBD Insurance County Senior Hurling Championship
Toomevara 1-18 Clonoulty-Rossmore 0-19
Although there was no member of the Dunne family on the field the Toomevara team played with the spirit of the Dunnes during this famous win. Manager Denis Kelly pieced together a management team featuring Ken Dunne, Kevin Cummins and, of course, Tommy Dunne and got the result he was looking for. The Greyhounds were aggressive, went smartly about their business, tackled with discipline and although they were held scoreless for the last nineteen minutes (ten minutes of second half injury time) of this contest Toomevara were good value for the victory.
Clonoulty-Rossmore showed the pedigree of champions when they fought back from seven points down at the break (0-8 to 1-12) to close the gap to two and although Toome ‘keeper Rory Brislane was also asked to make two critical saves from Thomas Butler in the 12th and 30th minutes the West men will surely admit that the Greyhounds deserved their win.
James Ryan, John O’Keeffe, Dillon Quirke and Timmy Hammersley stood out for Clonoulty-Rossmore and although Rory Brislane, Jason Ryan, Robbie Quirke and Mark McCarthy had fine games for Toomevara the outstanding candidate for the man of the match award had to be Joey McLoughney. It is rare to see a team have to man mark an opposition wing-back, but that was the situation that Clonoulty-Rossmore found themselves in such was the influence of the Greyhounds’ veteran. Indeed, it is probably fair to say that Joey McLoughney (especially during the opening half) gave an exhibition of raw leadership and pure hurling ability.
Timmy Hammersley (free) presented Clonoulty-Rossmore with an initial lead, but Joey McLoughney responded for Toome before Mark McCarthy beat Declan O’Dwyer at his near post with an absolute rasper in the fifth minute. Robbie Quirke grabbed a puck-out soon after and, suddenly, the Greyhounds led by four (1-2 to 0-1).
Clonoulty-Rossmore rallied thanks to three Timmy Hammersley efforts (two frees) and an equalising point from James Hammersley in the 14th minute (1-2 to 0-5). Toomevara, however, hit back with six successive points - Mark McCarthy (four frees), Josh McCarthy and Russell Quirke were responsible for these efforts.
Cathal Bourke responded for Clonoulty-Rossmore, but soon after Joey McLoughney played a smart one-two with Mark McCarthy and the inside forward landed the score of the game off his left in the 25th minute.
The sides traded scores thereafter and retired with seven between them at the break (1-12 to 0-8).
SETTLED TO THEIR TASK
Clonoulty-Rossmore appeared a little distressed at this juncture, but they settled down to their task and out-scored their opponents 0-5 to 0-2 during the third quarter as centre-back John O’Keeffe grew into the game. Dillon Quirke landed two smashing points during this period and the deficit was reduced to a manageable four (1-14 to 0-13).
Against an outstanding team like Clonoulty-Rossmore the Toome lads could have been forgiven for wobbling at this juncture, but the Greyhounds hit four points during a whirlwind five-minute period in response (46th to 51st) to open an eight-point gap (1-18 to 0-13) - Mark McCarthy notched two frees during this frantic period of play while an excellent Jack Delaney effort also featured.
Once more during this highly-entertaining clash Clonoulty-Rossmore found themselves at the wrong end of the broken bottle and responded to the challenge like the champions that they are. Dillon Quirke launched the comeback with two terrific efforts before points from Timmy Hammersley, John O’Keeffe and Seán Maher closed the gap to three.
With the hour played referee Kevin Jordan announced that he intended to play seven minutes of injury time and the Thurles Gaels man was forced to add another three due the treatment of further injuries meaning that Toome were asked to defend their narrow lead for almost ten additional minutes. And, protect that lead they did. Indeed, Clonoulty-Rossmore could only manage to add one more to their tally (Timmy Hammersley in the 66th minute) during a frantic finish.
Are Toome back? Based on this performance you would suspect that they are. Watch out.
Toomevara: Rory Brislane, Jake Ryan, Cathal Kennedy, Liam Ryan, Joey McLoughney (0-1), Jason Ryan (0-2), Luke Ryan, Josh McCarthy (0-2), Russell Quirke (0-1), Jack Delaney (0-1), Robbie Quirke (0-1), Kevin McCarthy (0-1), Paul Ryan, Colm Canning (0-1), Mark McCarthy (1-8, 0-6 frees). Subs: (46th) Shane Nolan for Luke Ryan, (57th) Alan Ryan for Jack Delaney, (62nd) Eoin Grace for Kevin McCarthy, (69th) Darren Delaney for Josh McCarthy.
Clonoulty-Rossmore: Declan O’Dwyer, James Ryan, Ciarán Quirke, Joey O’Keeffe, James Heffernan, John O’Keeffe (0-1), Enda Heffernan, Michael Ryan, Conor Hammersley (0-1), Dillon Quirke (0-4), Cathal Bourke (0-2), Seán Maher (0-1), Fiachra O’Keeffe, Thomas Butler, Timmy Hammersley (0-8, 0-4 frees, 0-1 ’65). Subs: (10th) James Hammersley (0-1) for Fiachra O’Keeffe, (40th) Paudie White (0-1) for Thomas Butler, (52nd) Jimmy Maher for Michael Ryan, (52nd) Seán O’Connor for James Heffernan.
Referee: Kevin Jordan (Thurles Gaels).
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