Clonoulty Rossmore captain Martin Sadlier is presented with the Killeedy GAA Junior B Perpetual Cup by MEP and former GAA president Sean Kelly. Picture: Eamonn McGee
Clonoulty Rossmore 3-15 Cappataggle (Galway) 1-18
Clonoulty Rossmore’s quest for All-Ireland junior B hurling championship honours was eventually fulfilled, as they held off a stern last quarter comeback from Galway champions Cappataggle in this replayed final at Raheenagh, west Limerick, on Saturday.
The foundation for this famous victory was firmly laid in a whirlwind opening seven minutes, when they blitzed the Galway men with a two goals and four points salvo, to go ten points clear. This was in stark contrast to the drawn game, where they had to make a last quarter comeback, having been nine point in arrears.
Clonoulty Rossmore’s management team learned and adapted better to the lessons of the drawn game, making one change to their starting line out, with Aaron Kennedy coming in to partner Martin Ryan (Ned) at midfield. With ideal conditions for hurling at the west Limerick venue, Clonoulty certainly took advantage of these conditions from the start, with a combination of direct and first-time ground hurling that tore the Cappataggle defence to shreds.
John Devane hit goal number one after three minutes and when man of the match Nicky Kearns struck number two four minutes later they were ten points to the good.
Cappataggle were certainly rocked but eventually settled, and with ace attacker Daniel Reddan in fine form they gradually ate into the Clonoulty lead, pulling it back to five points by the interval, 2-9 to 0-10.
The main difference from the drawn game was the tight marking and intense tackling from Clonoulty, and in particular from their full back line, where Cappataggle’s Jack Coughlan was held scoreless and David Kelly was limited to just one point. Clonoulty had the ability to get scores at vital times during Cappataggle’s resurgence, such as when Cathal Ryan (Raymond) hit goal number three for the Tipp champions five minutes into the half, thus ensuring that the gap was maintained.
Cappataggle finally hit a purple patch in the last quarter, with Daniel Reddan striking five points, including three frees, to a single Clonoulty point, and when an Emmett Malone sideline ball from the stand side took a slight deflection and ended in the net with two minutes remaining, the lead was down to two.
Clonoulty regained their composure and captain Martin Sadlier had the final say when he converted a free from well over 100 metres as the game entered time added on. Clonoulty held out during the three minutes of added time.
This was a journey that started out in the west championship against Cappawhite last August and ended in west Limerick on Saturday, a journey that took them undefeated in twelve consecutive games, winning eleven, the other being the drawn final against Cappataggle.
From the first whistle, Clonoulty attacked in numbers, not letting Cappataggle settle early on. Nicky Kearns opened the scoring after two minutes. One minute later Kearns gained possession, beat his marker and found Martin Ryan (Ned). Ryan ran at the defence before giving the perfect pass to John Devane, who rattled the net for goal number one.
Clonoulty continued to defend with conviction, were first to every ball, and with Kearns and Devane on fire in attack Cappataggle were shell-shocked. Devane hit two points in succession, one from a placed ball, and Oisin Fryday hit a long-range effort to put them seven up.
Clonoulty’s second goal arrived in the seventh minute when a long ball over the top was collected by Devane, who raced through before passing to Kearns, and the corner forward made no mistake.
Cappataggle may have been down but they were far from out. The expected come back arrived courtesy of a David Kelly point after nine minutes. They reshuffled their defence in an effort to curb the Clonoulty attack.
Kieran Carroll restored Clonoulty’s ten-point lead with an excellent point. Michael Broderick, Jamie Stancard and Daniel Reddan began to exert their influence on the game, while getting in for some nice points. However, during this period they failed to raise a green flag, as the Clonoulty inside back line of Declan O’Dwyer, Andrew Quirke and Adam Fryday were excellent with their tight and tenacious marking, while Martin Sadlier was calm and cool between the posts.
John Devane, Nicky Kearns and Cathal Ryan (Raymond) all chipped in with valuable points as the Cappataggle comeback gained momentum. By the half-time break, Clonoulty’s lead was reduced to five points.
Cappataggle attacked from the off after the break, with midfielder Conor Delaney splitting the posts after only eleven seconds. Clonoulty kept their cool and John Devane converted a free before Cathal Ryan (Raymond) crashed home goal number three, five minutes into the half.
Daniel Reddan pulled one back from a placed ball. Kieran Carroll fielded the resulting puck out, turned his man and restored parity with his second point. Reddan and John Devane then traded points before Nicky Kearns, who was a thorn in the Cappataggle defence all day, fielded a long ball and put over for what was probably the score of the game.
Cappataggle really upped their game in the final quarter with Daniel Reddan in particular leading by example. He hit five points between the 15th and 25th minutes to cut the deficit to five. Clonoulty’s only reply in that period was a wonderful point from Padraig Coen.
With two minutes of normal time remaining, Cappataggle got a rub of the green when Emmet Malone’s well-struck sideline ball took a slight deflection and ended in the Clonoulty net. This fortuitous goal cut the deficit to two points as the game headed towards time added on.
Cappataggle now tried for a winner but the packed Clonoulty defence stood firm. When they were awarded a free from inside their own 45 line, goalkeeper and captain, Martin Sadlier made no mistake as he put over, with plenty to spare. Cappataggle now needed a goal to bring the game to extra time but time ran out and the Kileedy Perpetual Cup was on its way to west Tipperary for the first time.
After the game Martin Sadlier was presented with the cup by former GAA president and current MEP Sean Kelly. Nicky Kearns was voted man of the match, while John Devane was presented with the Junior B Player of the Year award.
Clonoulty Rossmore: Martin Sadlier (captain, 0-1 free), Declan O’Dwyer, Andrew Quirke, Adam Fryday, Anthony Kearney, Dylan Kennedy, Kevin Horan, Martin Ryan (Ned), Aaron Kennedy, Kieran Carroll (0-2), Oisin Fryday (0-1), Ger Mockler, Nicky Kearns (1-3), John Devane (1-6, 5 frees), Cathal Ryan (Raymond) (1-1).
Subs used: Padraig Coen (0-1), Anthony Maher, Darren Corcoran Kevin Maher.
Cappataggle: Michael Egan, Brian Lohan, Jason Kenny, Josh Dolan, Lewis Coughlan, Graham Maher, Pakie Garvey, Michael Broderick (0-2), Conor Delaney (0-1), Emmet Malone (1-0 sideline), Daniel Reddan (0-12, 8 frees), Daniel Treacy, Cian Bowes, Daniel Kelly (0-1), Jack Coughlan.
Subs used: Jamie Stancard (0-2), Liam Hession, Gavin Daly.
Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick).
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