Ardfinnan's second half surge secures place in last eight of Tipperary county senior football championship

Missed chances prove costly for Arravale Rovers

Colm O'Shaughnessy

Colm O'Shaughnessy impressed for Ardfinnan when they beat Arravale Rovers to reach the quarter-final of the county senior football championship

Ardfinnan 2-12 Arravale Rovers 0-7

Ardfinnan and Arravale Rovers entered this round 3 game of the FBD Insurance county senior football championship, which was played in the Cahir GAA grounds, in the knowledge that a win would propel them into the quarter finals.

The first half proved to be a close affair, with both teams making some poor decisions in front of goal when they seemed to have the opposition at their mercy. 

Arravale Rovers started the game strongly and were guilty of some poor shooting before Ardfinnan opened their account with a point from Michael Barlow. Cormac Maher converted a free, followed by a point for James Hogan for Arravale Rovers. This was followed by two quick Ardfinnan points from Billy Hewitt and Gavin Whelan. The last point before the water break was scored by Donough Leahy with a fisted point from play. 

After the restart Luke O'Brien turned his man and surged into the Rovers half and his pass found Michael Barlow, who scored an excellent point from play.

The next two points were from Rovers, one from Mikey O'Dwyer followed by a Cormac Maher free after Niall Sharpe was fouled by the hardworking Ardfinnan defence.

Colm O'Shaughnessy was extremely influential throughout and was to the fore again when the Ardfinnan forward line delivered into Billy Hewitt, who was fouled and scored the resulting free.

The final score of the half was an Ardfinnan free from Michael Barlow after the ever-threatening Gavin Whelan was fouled after another strong drive into the Rovers defence.

The half-time score was Ardfinnan 0-6, Arravale Rovers 0-5. 

The second half started as had the first, with Arravale Rovers dominating the exchanges. Cormac Maher scored a free to tie up the game.

When it looked like this game would go down to the wire, some very poor shooting from Rovers allowed the Ardfinnan team to grow in confidence. The powerful Darragh O'Leary drove towards the Arravale goal and forced a foul, which saw Andrew Browne step up and stroke the resulting penalty kick to Darren Houston’s left and into the net. 

Rovers fought hard and got the next score from the efficient Cormac Maher. This was to be their final score, however, and Ardfinnan kicked on with four points from Michael Barlow before Billy Hewitt scored another free.

Ardfinnan’s Michael O'Sullivan drew a foul after good interplay in the forwards and the free was dispatched over the bar by Michael Barlow.

The final score was worth the wait, as Billy Hewitt sliced through the Rovers defence before blasting past Darren Houston. 

Ardfinnan, who look to be gaining in confidence, now progress to the county quarter-finals while Arravale Rovers must regroup and compete in the Tom Cusack Cup.

Ardfinnan scorers: Billy Hewitt (1-3, 0-3 frees), Michael Barlow (0-8, 5 frees), Gavin Whelan (0-1), Andrew Browne (1-0 penalty).

Ardfinnan: Michael Goonan, Robert Condon, Jonathan Ryan, John Condon, Michael O'Sullivan, Sean Nagle, Colm O'Shaughnessy, Darragh O'Leary, Gerry Cronin, Luke O'Brien, Gavin Whelan, Billy Hewitt, Michael Barlow, Andrew Browne, Jason Coffey.

Subs: Darragh O'Brien for Luke O'Brien and Dylan Nugent for Andrew Browne.

Arravale Rovers scorers: Cormac Maher (0-2 frees), James Hogan (0-1), Donough Leahy (0-1), Mikey O'Dwyer (0-3, 2 frees).

Arravale Rovers: Darren Houston, Seamus Kinane, Darren Lowry, Raymond Kelly, Niall Fitzgerald, James Hogan, Donagh Hickey, Michael Lowry, Matthew Moroney, Donough Leahy, Cian Ryan, Shane Leahy, Cormac Maher, Niall Sharpe, James Hogan, Mikey O Dwyer.

Subs: Caleb Hickey for Cormac Maher, Fergal McNamara for Cian Ryan. 

Referee: Brian Tyrrell (Commercials).

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