Carrick Swans Aaron Dunne bursts past Kevin O'Halloran (Portroe) during Saturday's Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship game played at Boherlahan. Pic: Michael Boland
FBD Insurance Tipperary Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship (Group 4 Round 1)
PORTROE 1-17 CARRICK SWANS 0-19
At Boherlahan this afternoon (Saturday), Portroe got their County Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship campaign off to a winning start when getting the better of recently crowned south senior champions, Carrick Swans, in an always-closely contested encounter. Over 100 kilometres might separate these two clubs at opposite ends of the county, but just a single point was the difference on the hurling field at full-time, the northerners 1-17 to 0-19 ahead when Joe Leahy blew the final whistle.
Indeed, for long stretches it looked like the Suirsiders would prevail here. They took the lead after just 20 seconds and weren’t headed until a late rally from the Nick Weir-managed Portroe reeled them in.
At the three-quarters stage, the Swans were still 0-16 to 0-12 in front and looking likely winners before a well-taken goal by Portroe centre-forward John Sheedy changed matters. That goal was followed by five unanswered points for the northerners in a strong finish that took them four points clear well into time added-on. Credit to the Carrick side they produced the last three white flags of the game, however an equaliser was not to be in the end.
Overall it was a strange kind of game, close for the most part without ever breaking into great excitement except for that final quarter. A very strong breeze blowing towards the church and a rock-hard surface saw a lot of sliotar going wayward too often, long puckouts, not gathered, going wide after a single hop.
A point apiece inside 40 seconds for Kevin Lanigan (Swan) and Ruadhan Mulrooney (Portroe) preceded two Danny O’Hanlon frees, the south champions 0-3 to 0-1 after three minutes of a lively opening. Tit-for-tat points from play soon followed from Ruadhan Mulrooney and an excellent effort from Aaron Dunne from the sideline, before O’Hanlon and John Sheedy shared frees leaving the Swans still two to the good at 0-5 to 0-3 after 12 minutes.
Cory Ryan cut in along the end line to point, but Mark Gennery, who contributed much to the Portroe effort, reduced the deficit back to two with a point on the quarter hour mark.
John Sheedy (Portroe) gets his hurley in to block the shot of Colin Waters (Swans) during Saturday's Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship game played at Boherlahan. Pic: Michael Boland
For once Swans made use of the elements when Gavin O’Halloran pointed from well inside his own half but a free by Portroe captain Robert Byrne had it back to 0-7 to 0-5 after 19 minutes.
A brace of white flags inside a minute from John Sheedy (free) and Kevin O’Halloran levelled matters for the second time in the game before Swans finished the half with two in a row from Cory Ryan and a Danny O’Hanlon free. At the break, having hit eight wides to Portroe’s two, the team in black and white still led by 0-9 to 0-7.
Within six minutes of the restart the Swans had built that advantage to four, even after Portroe had the opening score of the half after 20 seconds from Sam Madden.
Three on the trot for Mark O’Halloran’s team, from Danny O’Hanlon (two frees) and a well-taken Jamie Holloway point from play made it 0-12 to 0-8 after 36 minutes.
In quick reply and anxious not to let any further daylight develop between the sides, John Sheedy with a 65 and a point from halfway by Ruadhan Mulrooney halved the deficit to two.
But Swans seemed to have the measure of their opponents at this stage and by the three-quarter mark it was out to four points once more, two O’Hanlon frees coming on either side of a Kevin Lanigan long range effort. In that spell Mulrooney had ticked off another excellent point for his side, his fourth of the afternoon.
Sam Madden then delivered a fine point for the northerners but they were making little inroads, Danny O’Hanlon punishing a Portroe yellow card offence with another free to make it 0-16 to 0-12 with 13 minutes remaining.
But the changing of the game was imminent, Portroe going from four down to four up in a 14-minute spell, scoring 1-5 without reply leaving a shell-shocked Swans to ponder how they had let the game slip.
Carrick Swans Scott Hogan gets his clearance off despite the best efforts of Anthony Bourke (Portroe) in Saturday's Premier Intermediate Hurling Champions Group 4 Round 1 game played at Boherlahan. Pic: Michael Boland
The game’s only goal came from the hard-graft of Brian Keating in winning dirty ball, and while playing the advantage rule getting off a fine pass to John Sheedy. Taking the sliotar on the run, Sheedy gave Adam Kerwick no chance with a rocket from 20 metres out. The outcome was in the melting pot once again.
Three minutes later a Sheedy free that he had won himself, levelled matters for the third time at 1-13 to 0-16, but there was no doubt now about the direction of the momentum.
From his own 65m line Kevin O’Halloran pointed a free to put Portroe in front for the first time in the 58th minute. Two further points from play followed within 30 seconds of each other, from Sam Madden and AJ Willis, before a Sheedy free three minutes into added time made it a four points game with victory almost assured.
But credit to Swans, and perhaps puzzling too, they managed three points in three minutes at the death, from Aaron Dunne, Gavin O’Halloran (both excellent efforts) and a free from Danny O’Hanlon to leave just the bare minimum between the sides at the end.
But deservedly Portroe, recently crowned north intermediate champions, had their noses in front and two valuable league points in the bag.
With two other divisional champions in this group, Cashel King Cormacs and Clonakenny, there is a lot of exciting hurling ahead in the race for the Seamus O’Riain Cup.
Diarmuid Boyle, John Moroney, Michael Breene, Justin Conroy, Brian Keating, Robert Byrne (capt. 0-1F), Jack Moloney, Colm Gleeson, Kevin O’Halloran (0-2, 0-1F), Anthony Bourke, John Sheedy (1-5, 0-4F, 0-1x65), AJ Willis (0-1), Ruadhan Mulrooney (0-4), Mark Gennery (0-1), Sam Madden (0-3).
Subs: Ian O’Donnell for Bourke (43 minutes); Kieran McKeogh for Conroy (57); Anthony Burke for Moroney (60+6).
Adam Kerwick, Daniel Walsh, Stephen Hahesy, Billy Murphy, Scott Hogan, Colin Loughman, Gavin O’Halloran (0-2), Aaron Dunne (0-2), Ryan Waters, Cory Ryan (0-2), Kevin Lanigan (0-2), Dean Waters (capt.), Owen Harrigan, Danny O’Hanlon (0-10F), Jamie Holloway (0-1).
Subs: Jack Murphy for Harrigan (39 minutes); Colin Waters for Loughman (57).
Referee: Joe Leahy (Moyne/Templetuohy).
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