The two leading contenders to land the Dan Breen Cup collided at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh in the quarter-finals of the Hibernian Inn North Tipperary Senior Hurling Championship on Saturday evening and Kiladangan prevailed with three points to spare against an injury-hit Kilruane MacDonagh’s.
Hibernian Inn North Tipperary Senior
Hurling Championship Quarter-Final
Kiladangan 1-22 Kilruane MacDonagh’s 2-16
Barry Hogan, Darren Moran and Paul Flynn were outstanding for a Kiladangan team which led by four points at the break (1-12 to 1-8) and by six entering second half injury time before Kilruane launched a late rally.
Kiladangan lost key leader Joe Gallagher to injury early on in this contest, but Kilruane’s progress was much more restricted by casualties: Justin Cahill was ruled out prior to this quarter-final while the highly-influential Jerome Cahill and Darragh Peters also had to be replaced.
The MacDonagh’s won’t be pleased to surrender their divisional crown, but Kilruane now enjoy time to re-group before facing into the quarter-finals of the FBD Insurance County Senior Hurling Championship. Ultimately, this defeat may resemble a blessing in disguise for Liam O’Shea’s men.
Meanwhile Kiladangan will be very hard to stop in North Tipperary.
This was an odd kind of game. It’s rare to see a corner-back score 0-3 from play, but Kilruane man Eoin Hogan finished with that tally while Kiladangan wing-back Darren Moran also helped himself to another three from play; perhaps such odd patterns could be put down to both sides knowing each other so well.
Irrespective of such issues Kiladangan appeared the more accomplished outfit even though the sides were locked on 0-3 apiece with eleven minutes on the clock - Eoin Hogan already had two points scored before Conor Cleary tied the game.
Darren Moran edged Kiladangan in front, but when Jerome Cahill and Cian Darcy notched points Kilruane led 0-5 to 0-4. Tadhg Gallagher responded with an absolute cracker of a point in the 16th minute before the sides traded frees. And, the tit-for-tat nature of the contest continued until the 22nd minute when Eoin Hogan tied the game at 0-7 apiece.
Kilruane fired nine first half wide (Kiladangan: three) while their opponents were much more efficient in front of goal and scooted two clear thanks to efforts from Billy Seymour and the highly-impressive left-hander Paul Flynn.
Cian Darcy (free) hit back for Kilruane, but when Johnny Horan and Willie Connors (sideline) landed fine efforts Kiladangan were three clear. And, that advantage was extended to six in the 31st minute when Tadhg Gallagher batted in Willie Connors’ searching sideline ball.
Four minutes into first half injury time Kilruane trailed by seven when Cian Darcy fired home a bullet of a free from the 21-yard line (1-12 to 1-8).
Points from Darren Moran and Ruairí Gleeson left six between the sides early in the second half and although Kilruane responded in kind (courtesy of Thomas Cleary and Niall O’Meara) the MacDonagh’s trailed by four entering the final quarter (1-14 to 1-10).
By now the Kilruane challenge was diluted somewhat by injuries to key players while Kiladangan appeared reasonably comfortable.
This was certainly a lively, hard-hitting and tactical contest, but you always felt that Kiladangan were in control. And, Brian Lawlor’s team franked their dominance when out-scoring their opponents 0-3 to 0-1 between the 45th and 48th minutes to establish a six-point advantage (1-17 to 1-11). David Sweeney scored a super point during this period while Andy Loughnane also saw a reasonable goal chance blocked.
Kilruane rallied well with two Cian Darcy frees and another point from Brian O’Meara to close the gap significantly, but Kiladangan, once more, responded with three of their own - Tadhg Gallagher and Paul Flynn were responsible for cracking efforts which helped to propel their side toward a six-point advantage (1-20 to 1-14).
There was still six between them entering second half injury time when Brian O’Meara created a chance for Cian Darcy, but Darren Moran performed a timely block. Kilruane, to their credit, stayed the course and another Cian Darcy point closed the gap to five before Darcy buried a second 21-yard free in the 62nd minute.
With just two between them there was every chance that Kilruane could still rescue the situation, but Kiladangan, in a real illustration of their maturity as a side, calmly worked the ball into the hand of a shooter and Ruairí Gleeson notched the final point of the evening.
Kiladangan: Barry Hogan, Declan McGrath, James Quigley, Martin Minehan, David Sweeney (0-1), Alan Flynn, Darren Moran (0-3), Johnny Horan (0-1), Andy Loughnane, Willie Connors (0-1 sideline), Joe Gallagher, Seán Hayes (0-2), Tadhg Gallagher (1-5, 0-3 frees), Paul Flynn (0-5), Billy Seymour (0-2). Subs: (12th) Ruairí Gleeson (0-2) for Joe Gallagher.
Kilruane MacDonagh’s: Séamus Hennessy, Jack Peters, Darragh Peters, Eoin Hogan (0-3), William Cleary, Niall O’Meara (0-1), Craig Morgan, Ray McLoughney, Seán McAdams, Jerome Cahill (0-1), Kieran Cahill, Cian Darcy (2-8, 2-6 frees), Thomas Cleary (0-1), Conor Cleary (0-1), Kian O’Kelly. Subs: (32nd) Mark O’Neill for Jerome Cahill, (HT) James Cleary for Darragh Peters, (42nd) Brian O’Meara (0-1) for Kieran Cahill, (46th) Conor Austin for Ray McLoughney.
Referee: Kieran Delaney (Toomevara).
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