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18/09/2021

South Tipperary senior hurling championship final pairing has a familiar ring to it

Killenaule and Mullinahone will renew rivalry in quest for divisional title

John Bubbles O'Dwyer

John Bubbles O'Dwyer will be hoping to help Killenaule win their 23rd South Tipperary senior hurling championship on Saturday

Mullinahone and Killenaule will need no introductions when they meet in Saturday's South Tipperary senior hurling championship final in Clonmel.

The clubs will clash in the divisional decider for the fifth time in the last eight years in a game that starts at 6.30pm, with Ballingarry referee Paddy Ivors in charge.

They've shared two wins each in those recent finals and there's every indication that Saturday's game will be as close as those previous tussles. 

They last met in the 2018 final, which resulted in a 0-20 to 1-12 win for Killenaule, as they claimed their 22nd title.

Mulllinahone got their hands on their 14th south senior championship - all won since 1993 - when they had two points to spare over Carrick Swan (1-18 to 1-16) in 2019. The championship wasn't completed last year because of the pandemic.

In this year's championship Killenaule were put to the pin of their collar to squeeze past St Mary's in the semi-final.

In a closely-fought affair The Robins made the most of their chances, with midfielder Ciaran O'Dwyer contributing eight of their 22 points.

Paudie Feehan also made a major impression when scoring six points, while county star John Bubbles O'Dwyer and Michael O'Dwyer were always a handful for the Clonmel side's defence.  

The performances of Dean O'Connor, Joe O'Dwyer, substitute Kieran Bergin and goalkeeper Jonathan Gleeson, who made a crucial late save from Niall Hoctor, were also central to the victory.

Mullinahone, meanwhile, had a much more comfortable passage to the final when they hammered Carrick Swan by 2-20 to 1-7 in the other semi-final.

They took a while to get into their stride but really cut loose in the third quarter, when they scored an unanswered 2-4 to put the issue beyond all doubt.

Above: Eoin Kelly (left) is still a key player for Mullinahone

The goals came from Mikey O'Shea and Martin Kehoe, as they eased towards the finish line.

All-Ireland-winning captain and one of Tipperary's greatest-ever players, Eoin Kelly, is still their talisman, even at 39 years of age. He scored 11 points in the semi-final, including eight from frees, and all of his scores were struck from distance. 

Another All-Ireland-winning veteran, Paul Curran, is also playing an important role at full-back while their half-back line of Jack Shelly, Eoin Fennelly and Alan Curran is not only a solid defensive obstacle but a platform for many of their attacks.

Enda Keane and Michael Dunne are others who are important to the cause.

Mullinahone are back in the Dan Breen Cup this season and will return to Clonmel Sportsfield for their opening game against Clonoulty/Rossmore the following Sunday, August 29 at 2pm.

Killenaule begin their Seamus O'Riain Cup campaign with a match against Sean Treacys in Boherlahan on Saturday, August 28 at 2pm.

 

  

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