Éanna McBride starred for JK Bracken's against Mullinahone in their Séamus Ó Riain Cup semi-final. Picture: Eamonn McGee
JK Bracken's staged an impressive second half comeback to oust Mullinahone in a rousing FBD Insurance Séamus Ó Riain Cup semi-final (Roinn II of the FBD Insurance County Senior Hurling Championship) at Littleton on Saturday to claim their place in the final against Mid Tipperary rivals Holycross-Ballycahill.
FBD Insurance Séamus Ó Riain Cup Semi-Final
JK Bracken's 1-20 Mullinahone 2-14
Seven points down at half-time after an error-strewn first half, the Templemore lads really got their act together in the second period. JK Bracken's drew level by the end of the third quarter and once they hit the front they were never going to be caught despite some anxious moments towards the finish.
It all seemed to be going pear-shaped for JK Bracken's as Mullinahone’s more direct approach was paying dividends in marked contrast to the Mid lads, who conceded two goals somewhat naively, and whose shooting was also very erratic with eight wides in the period.
JK Bracken's running game, which featured short passing, too frequently ran into trouble with possession easily surrendered, but they were a different team on the change-over and ran out worthy winners.
Mullinahone got off to an ideal start with an Eoin Kelly goal inside a minute poached at the expense of a hesitant defence and by the end of the quarter they were 1-4 to 0-1 ahead as the JK Bracken's wides tally mounted. Points from Eoin Fitzpatrick, Lyndon Fairbrother and Cathal Scully steadied JK Bracken's, but then their defence was caught flat as Graham Horan fired home Mullinahone’s second goal after seventeen minutes for a 2-4 to 0-4 lead.
With Eoin Kelly his usual reliable self off frees and Kevin Walzer and Michael O'Shea also chipping in Mullinahone were looking good and might have had a third goal, but for Darren Russell’s fine save off a Sean Curran effort in the 25th minute.
At the other end JK Bracken's might have had a badly-needed goal, but Eoin Fitzpatrick did not make proper contact when Shane Doyle’s shot was well saved by Mullinahone goalie Alan Walsh.
Martin Keogh also saw his shot whizz across the face of the JK Bracken's goal just before the break - another let-off for the struggling Templemore side who trailed at the interval 0-9 to 2-10.
Five minutes into the second half JK Bracken's got the boost they needed when Shane Doyle was set up by Lorcan Egan and his shot fell kindly to Dean McEnroe who tested the netting to ignite the Templemore challenge.
Though Michael O'Shea had a Mullinahone point, JK Bracken's quickly tacked on five without reply to draw level. The momentum was with the Mid lads, but Eoin Kelly’s point restored the lead to Mullinahone.
In the 48th minute JK Bracken's were awarded a penalty when Shane Doyle was fouled, but Darren Russell’s effort went over the bar to level.
Points from Cathal Scully and Shane Bourke edged the Mid side ahead. Luke Mullally responded for Mullinahone before another Templemore brace from David O'Shea and Lyndon Fairbrother put them three clear with four minutes to play.
Eoin Kelly pointed for Mullinahone, but in the 59th minute Lyndon Fairbrother pointed a free to set the seal on their win.
BIG WIN FOR JK BRACKEN'S
This was a big win for JK Bracken's. Shane Doyle was the star of their attack. Paddy Cadell led the charge when Templemore got going in the second half with the Scullys, Lorcan Egan, Dean McEnroe and Shane Bourke others to make significant contributions.
Mullinahone will be disappointed with the drop in the tempo of their game in the second half. They had Jack Shelly back to strengthen their challenge, but, once again, they relied heavily on Eoin Kelly’s scoring prowess. Paul Curran, Colin Shelly, Jack Shelly, Kevin Walzer and Eoin Fennelly were others to fly the flag for Mullinahone.
JK Bracken's: Darren Russell (0-1 free), Martin Delaney, Tom Murphy, Keith Kennedy, Neil Quinlan, Paddy Cadell (0-2), Cathal Scully (0-3, 0-3 frees), Lorcan Egan, Eanna McBride, Shane Scully, Lyndon Fairbrother (0-4, 0-3 frees), Shane Doyle (0-4), Dean McEnroe (1-0), Eoin Fitzpatrick (0-2), Shane Bourke (0-1). Sub: David O'Shea for Fitzpatrick (45th).
Mullinahone: Alan Walsh, Gary Cronin, Paul Curran, Colin Shelly, Luke Mullally (0-1), Eoin Fennelly, Alan Curran, Kevin Walzer (0-1), Sean Curran, Martin Keogh, Graham Horan (1-0), Enda Keane, Eoin Kelly (1-8, 0-8 frees), Michael O'Shea (0-2), Jack Shelly (0-2). Subs: Daire O'Brien for Cronin (45th), Gerard Horan for Keane (50th), Paul Kelly for Keogh (58th),
Referee: Peter Carroll (Burgess).