It was a heavy hot Saturday afternoon that greeted Tipperary and defending cup champions, Wexford with the winners to face Fr Tom Burke’s in the Sheehan Cup final next Sunday. The sides delivered an entertaining game of hurling, with Tipperary winning by the narrowest of margins.
At the end of the first period the sides were tied at three points each. Scores were at a premium as each defence had the better of things. Wexford had Eoghan Kavanagh and Kevin Sheerin in the forward corners, but John Roche and John Kindregan had the better of their men. Donal Redmond shone at the back for Wexford in the first half as the ball made its up and down the field, but rarely went dead, never mind for a score. After Tipp missed their first two chances, Cronin Dempsey put the ball between the sticks. Tom Maloney answered for Wexford. Playing in the middle of the field, Maloney was at the forefront of the Wexford effort. Sean Moriarty, who always looked dangerous on the wing put Tipp ahead, and added another soon afterwards. Maloney drove from midfield as the half wound down and out it over himself, and just before the whistle Dominic Magill put the score of the game over from his own 65 yard line.
The second half opened with two points apiece and Wexford looked like they were picking up the effort. After Ray McKeown and Moriarty put Tipp ahead by two, Maloney, Jason Foley, and Jamie Keogh fired three unanswered over the bar to put Wexford in the lead. Moriarty and Mark Jordan, who had moved to the edge of the square pulled Tipp within a point. Wexford had a golden chance to put themselves four to the good and possibly put the game away. Good work by Eoghan Kavanagh on the edge of the square ended up with the ball going across to the unmarked Peter Ryan on the edge of the small square, but Ryan was unable to connect and the chance went awry. Moriarty, Jordan, Colm McCrory and Pat Moriarty, brother of the aforementioned Sean, and was playing at half back, put four straight over the bar between them to give Tipp a three point lead with minutes left. Wexford in the meantime had missed four good scoring chances. Kevin Sheerin put Wexford’s last two chances over the bar from frees. The last one required a goal, and the shot was low but went inches over the bar to end the game. So, next Sunday there is sure to be a new name on the cup with Tipperary and Fr. Tom Burke’s in the final.
John Roche doing well on Eoin Kavanagh. Likewise Donie Redmond for Wexford.
Wexford: E. Spruhan, P. Nolan, D. Redmond, B. Dalton, D. Magill, JJ O’Neill, J. Foley, T. Maloney, C. Kerins, P. Ryan, J. Kehoe, K. Sheerin, E. Kavanagh. Tipp: S. Delaney, J. Kingregan, J. Roche, P. Moriarty, A. McRedmond, A. Callnan, C. Dempsey, F. O’Doherty, S. Moriarty, R. McKeown, M. Jordan, J. McGrath, C. McCrory.
Connemara Gaels 1-15 Mayo 1-8
The Gaels and Mayo got their senior football championship campaigns off to a start on Sunday afternoon. It was an exciting, tight game for the most part, though in the last five minutes the Gaels put enough daylight between the teams to feel comfortable down the stretch.
Mayo had the better of things in the first half. Right from the throw-in Sean Kenny pointed and was followed by a free from wing forward, Kevin McAllister. McAllister was a useful element in the Mayo effort and worked hard throughout the 60 minutes. The Gaels had some early chances that were wasted due to wayward kicking, but eventually midfielder Noel Graham got the Connemara men on the scoreboard with a pointed free. Rather than settle the Connemara side, it was Mayo who played the better football. Three unanswered points came from Damien McNicholas, McAllister, and McNicholas again. Meanwhile, the forays forward from the Gaels resulted in little as the Mayo back line dealt with whatever came their way, and the short kickout strategy was working well. Once the Gaels copped on and began to deal with the short kickouts they got some change from Mayo. With 10 minutes to go in the half the Gaels put a well worked goal away, it was Graham Delaney who finished a nice move involving Brian Joyce and Coleman Mulkerrins. Delaney followed with a point, as did Joyce, and the door creaked open for the Gaels. Mayo hit with a goal of their own just as the momentum seemed to be going the other way. Gerard O’Malley took advantage of the new found freedoms of the amended square ball rule and fisted a high ball into the net from inside the small square. The sides then traded points to make it 1-6 to 1-4 in Mayo’s favour at the break.
The second half saw a much improved performance from the Gaels who saw some of their key players step up and make the difference. Graham Delaney had three well taken points from his half forward berth inside the first 10 minutes of the restart, while Sean Conneeley and Mulkerrins also contributed. The Gaels did most of the attacking as midfielders Noel Graham and Brian Joyce became more involved involved in the game. A free won by Joyce and pointed by Graham put the Gaels a goal to the good. Now it was Mayo who were having a hard time locating their men in the forward line. Michael Coyne and Damien Doolin did a tight job in the corner back positions. Delaney and substitute Kevin Owens added two more points. The Gaels shored up the back line by moving Sean Conneeley back and saw out the final five minutes of the game. It was a hard won two points for the Gaels, and Mayo will fancy their chances of taking points off teams this season.