In awful conditions at Puckane on Sunday afternoon Borrisokane battled their way to a two-point win over Lorrha Rovers in the final of the North Tipperary Under-21B Hurling Championship - this victory will taste particularly sweet for the Borrisokane lads since they got the better of three different neighbours in this decider.
North Tipperary Under-21B Hurling Championship Final
Borrisokane 3-10 Lorrha Rovers 3-8
Borrisokane raced into an initial seven-point lead (2-1 to no-score) and although Lorrha Rovers fought back to tie the game, the Borrisokane lads led by three at the break (2-5 to 2-2). A third Lorrha Rovers goal threatened to knock Borrisokane out of their stride immediately after the break, but Borrisokane steadied themselves and thanks in no small part to a Conor Ryan goal and the composed free-taking of Jack Larkin they were good value for this success.
Colm Fogarty was outstanding for Lorrha Rovers (an amalgamation of Lorrha-Dorrha, Shannon Rovers and Knockshegowna) and probably deserved to collect the man of the match award despite finishing on the losing side while for Borrisokane Mike Heenan and Mike Kelly shone brightest.
Borrisokane got off to a terrifically encouraging start when a Mike Heenan effort at a point dropped into the net as early as the fifth minute and then, just two minutes later, Heenan expertly dispossessed a dithering Lorrha Rovers defender before burying a left-handed shot to present his side with a seven-point lead (2-1 to no-score).
Lorrha Rovers, however, hit back with 2-1 of their own between the seventh and 17th minutes - Colm Fogarty created a goal-scoring opportunity for Shaun Belfry and Rovers’ second goal materialized in the 17th minute when Colm Fogarty gathered an Alan O’Meara cross and fired home from close range (2-1 each).
An Oisín Larkin free brought fifteen scoreless minutes to a conclusion for Borrisokane before we were treated to an exceptional piece of skill in the 28th minute: Colm Fogarty cut a Lorrha Rovers free over the bar after the inside forward initially failed to rise the ball.
Two minutes later Colm Fogarty created another goal-scoring opportunity for Shaun Belfry, but the full-forward’s effort flew wide. And, that miss proved costly for Lorrha Rovers as Borrisokane enjoyed a three-point interval advantage (2-5 to 2-2) thanks to efforts from Mike Kelly and Jack Larkin (two, one free).
Lorrha Rovers plundered a third goal immediately after the break when Colm Fogarty picked out Michael Tierney with a smart stick pass and Tierney tied the game (2-5 to 3-2).
Jack Larkin (free) and Michael Tierney then traded efforts and as the conditions worsened Jack Larkin turned over an opposition defender in the 40th minute, took on the Lorrha Rovers defense and set-up a third Borrisokane goal - Conor Ryan applied the finish and Borrisokane led 3-6 to 3-3.
Between the 42nd and 47th minutes Lorrha Rovers out-scored their opponents 0-3 to 0-1 to close the gap to one (3-7 to 3-6) - Colm Fogarty scored one of these efforts from play, another from a free and also set-up Daniel O’Donoghue for the other.
Although Borrisokane were wobbling a little they steadied themselves in the 54th minute when the forward unit trapped a Lorrha Rovers defender, turned over the ball and Mike Kelly drilled over his third point from play. Three minutes later Jack Larkin landed a ’65 and with time fast running out Borrisokane led 3-9 to 3-6.
To be fair Lorrha Rovers stuck at it and two Colm Fogarty frees reduced the deficit to one, but despite referee Mike Murphy signaling six minutes of injury time Borrisokane clung on and a Jack Larkin free in the 65th minute sealed the win.
Borrisokane: Luke Gleeson, Dylan Slevin, Eddie O’Dwyer, Kevin Harding, Roan Murphy, Stephen Gavin, Jack Mahoney, Conor Gavin, Liam Cleary, Mike Heenan (2-0), Dáire Madden, Mike Kelly (0-3), Oisín Larkin (0-2, 0-2 frees), Conor Ryan (1-0), Jack Larkin (0-5, 0-3 frees, 0-1 ‘65). Subs: (19th) Pádraig Quinn for Conor Gavin, (52nd) Kevin Cleary for Pádraig Quinn, (53rd) Conor Gavin for Jack Mahoney, (65th) Jack McLoughney for Dáire Madden.
Lorrha Rovers: Michael Egan, Tom Duggan, James O’Sullivan, Eamon Hough, Matt Tierney, Michael Dolan, David Sullivan, Conal Moran, Marcus Esmonde, John O’Meara, Daniel O’Donoghue (0-1), Alan O’Meara, Colm Fogarty (1-6, 0-5 frees), Shaun Belfry (1-0), Michael Tierney (1-1). Subs: (11th) Oliver Cleary for Marcus Esmonde (blood - reversed in the 12th minute), (53rd) Steven Burke for Alan O’Meara.
Referee: Mike Murphy (Toomevara).
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