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19 Jan 2022

South Tipperary U21 A hurling champions Mullinahone march on to county final

Moycarkey Borris await in next Saturday's decider

Martin Kehoe

Mullinahone captain Martin Kehoe will lead his team into Sunday's county U21 A hurling championship final against Moycarkey Borris

Mullinahone 2-16 Cappawhite Gaels 1-13

Livewire forward Mikey O’Shea maintained his rich vein of form from the south final victory over St Mary’s into Sunday’s FBD Insurance county u21 A hurling championship semi-final at Golden to help Mullinahone to a deserved win over Cappawhite Gaels.
O’Shea hit 1-5 from play in another virtuoso display, with his second half goal proving crucial as it stalled a Cappawhite Gaels revival. Mullinahone now face a tough final assignment against Moycarkey Borris in Golden next Saturday (1.30) but the Eoin Kelly-coached side know they have nothing to fear and all to gain.
After racing into an eight-points lead after seven minutes against Cappawhite Gaels, they took their foot off the pedal somewhat but stepped up the pace again to withstand a battling display from the west side.
Cappawhite didn’t have the advantage of playing a west final, winning the title in the boardroom when Covid issues meant that Cashel King Cormacs couldn’t play the fixture, and it told against them in the closing stages, as the south champions were sharper and full of running to the end.
But once they settled into the game, they took the fight to Mullinahone, with Philip Gantley and Gearoid Ryan impressive in defence and Colm O’Dwyer, Pakie Barry, Mikie Carmody and Willie Barry causing many problems for the south side’s defence, Barry knocking over six frees, one 65 and a point from play.
But the honours go to the men from Kickham Country for another impressive all-round performance. Daire O’Brien and Conor Whelan were the rocks in defence, with Riain O’Halloran busy throughout; Martin Kehoe played a true captain’s part with an outstanding hour’s hurling, with Mikey O’Shea leading a potent attack in which Eoin O’Dwyer, Shane Morris and Patrick Hayes also shone.
Mullinahone took up where they left off against St Mary’s in the south decider six days earlier, racing into a 1-6 to 0-1 lead after just seven minutes. Eoin O’Dwyer, in sparkling form again with three points from play, hit the opener within thirty seconds and Mikey O’Shea hit the first of his 1-5 within two minutes.
Willie Barry pointed a free for the Gaels’ opener a minute later but it was just a brief interruption, with Shane Morris pointing for Mullinahone thirty seconds later and then Danny Dunne tapped to the net after Eoin O’Dwyer created the chance with a rasping shot. O’Shea followed up with two points within a minute and Conor Whelan pointed a free from his own 65 line, as the south men threatened to have their final berth booked by half- time.
Cappawhite Gaels, slowly but surely, began to string some promising moves together. Stephen Dee set up Pakie Barry for their first point from play in the ninth minute and even though O’Shea replied quickly with a fine point, Gaels then put their best move together, with Mikey Carmody pointing with the final pass from Ben White.
Whelan responded for Mullinahone with another monster free from his own half to make it 1-8 to 0-3 after fourteen minutes but the south men were to score only one more point before the break, with Gaels knocking over six.
Willie Barry pointed two frees before the water break and they maintained the initiative on the resumption, with Dee pointing from a White pass. Gearoid Ryan then energised his team and gave the west fans something to cheer about when he won dirty ball from an untidy melee to shoot a super point.
As the temperature on the pitch rose with fast and furious hurling, the west supporters were in fine voice again when a storming run from Colm O’Dwyer won a free that Barry converted. Then the margin was down to just two points when Mullinahone goalkeeper Stephen Hickey overdid the fancy stickwork when taking too long to clear, and conceded a free that Barry slotted over.
Mullinahone’s first point in seventeen minutes, a Conor Whelan free in injury time following a foul on Shea, saw them 1-9 to 0-9 ahead at the break.
The first ten minutes of the second half were even, with neither side gaining dominance, Whelan extending Mullinahone’s lead from a free, with Barry responding from a 65; O’Shea from a tight angle pointing for Mullinahone and Cappawhite coming back with a Barry free.
But then came the decisive score that tilted the balance firmly in Mullinahone’s favour. The ball broke loose from some scrappy play and Mikey O’Shea was on it in a flash to collect and drill it past Anthony Barry in the Cappawhite goal for a 2-11 to 0-11 lead.
The west side needed a response and Gearoid Ryan hit a huge point from his own half but confidence was now high in the Mullinahone ranks, and Eoin O’Dwyer from play and Conor Whelan from a free put them into a seven-points lead at the second water break.
Cappawhite needed another early response and they got it when Willie Barry pointed after the restart, and they followed up when Ben White shot to the net when he was quickest to react to a sideline cut sent into the danger area.
A three-points deficit offered Cappawhite hope with nearly ten minutes to go but their challenge petered out, with their extra game giving Mullinahone the vital edge in the closing stages. They tagged on three points without reply, Captain Fantastic Martin Kehoe leading from the front with a great score, Conor Whelan pointing his sixth free and Eoin O’Dwyer slicing through the centre of the Cappa’ defence on a darting run before shooting over.
Mullinahone had endured and survived a stern test from Cappawhite in a contest that will offer them great hope and confidence in the bid to secure a prized county title.
Mullinahone: Stephen Hickey, Cillian White, Daire O’Brien, Sean O’Dwyer, Diarmuid White, Conor Whelan, 0-6 frees; Riain O’Halloran, Conor O’Brien, Martin Kehoe 0-1; Patrick Hayes, Mikey O’Shea 1-5; Shane Morris 0-1; Danny Dunne 1-0; Josh Rowan, Eoin O’Dwyer 0-3.
Cappawhite Gaels: Anthony Barry, Cian O’Carroll, Philip Gantley, Mikey O’Brien, Daire Duggan, Gearoid Ryan (B), 0-2; Ryan Renehan, Colm O’Dwyer, Pakie Barry 0-1; Sam Carmody, Mikey Carmody 0-1; Gearoid Lennon, Stephen Dee 0-1, Willie Barry 0-8, 6 frees, 1 ‘65; Ben White 1-0.
Subs: James Quinlan for Sam Carmody, Ciaran Doody for Lennon.
Referee: Joe Leahy (Moyne Templetuohy).

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