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12 Aug 2022

AIB Munster Club Championship: Gallant Loughmore fall just short after extra time

John McGrath

John McGrath was man of the match when Loughmore Castleiney beat Clonmel Commercials in the county senior football championship final at Semple Stadium

The game was played in Curack Park, Ennis this afternoon

Eire Og Ennis 2-11

Loughmore Castleiney 1-12

A brave and gallant effort from Loughmore Castleiney in the AIB Munster senior football quarter final came up short at Cusack Park Ennis, this afternoon, with two goals in the first period of extra time, proving telling.

1,589 attended this one and they were treated to a thriller as the Tipperary champions battled with all their will and knowhow to secure a famous away win. But, it wasn't to happen and the fresher legs of the Eire Og lads proved decisive in the extra time period. 

Loughmore Castleiney trailed by 0-5 to 0-2 at the first half water break and they had not really established themselves in the game by this juncture. To add to their woes, Eamon Connolly was black carded in the 14th minute, but the despite the numerical disadvantage, they managed to keep the hosts at bay until the sos.

Points from John McGrath and Eamon Connolly had been their lot by this stage, whereas Ennis had points from Philip Talty, Mark McInerney, Gavin Cooney (2) and Darren O'Neill.

Having been off for the last four weeks, the Eire Og lads looked full of running in the opening quarter.

But, as has been their form all season long, Loughmore Castleiney enjoyed a far better second quarter and with Connolly back on midway through, they found scores through Noel McGrath, Liam McGrath and Aidan McGrath - each score as good as the next - to leave them just one in arrears at the break, 0-6 to 0-5.

The deficit had doubled by the next break as Eire Og enjoyed a 0-8 to 0-6 lead - Gavin Cooney and Mark McInerney scoring for them, while sub Evan Sweeney, with his first touch, had one for Loughmore Castleiney. A number of chances went abegging for the Tipp lads though - five wides in 11 minutes could prove costly as they game went down to the wire.

One of those wides would have won the game as it turned out. Loughmore Castleiney came storming back andf though they trailed by three with ten minuteds to go - Einne O'Connor getting a fine score for Eire Og, the Tipp lads had Liam Treacy (2) and John McGrath scores to tie up the game and force extra time 0-9 each. 

By this stage Eire Og were down to fourteen men – midfielder Darren O'Neill dismissed for a second yellow card for which he could have no arguments. 

Both sides could have won it in normal time - a Gavin Cooney free going wide for Eire Og, and Evan Sweeney had a half chance from distance to claim the win. But, neither effort proved true and extra time it was with Eire Og to resume with fifteen men again.

John McGrath kicked Loughmore Castleiney ahead with a pointed free, but two goals in three minutes from Aaron Fitzgerald and McInerney left them with a real  mountain to climb. Suddenly, Eire Og were full of running -the Tipp tank was beginning to run on empty.

They came again though with Evan Sweeney kicking two more scoresd to leave just a goal in it. But, Eire Og were finishing strong and Eimhin Courtney and Ikem Ugwuera had scores to see them over the winning line - Ikem having had  avery influential oputing upon introduction.

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