Close Encounter in Cloneen
For the second week in a row Ballingarry were narrowly defeated in their section of the South Tipperary U21A championship. A week ago they went down to a late late Swan goal in Ballingarry. On Saturday last in Anner Park Cloneen, they came up two points short to neighbours and old rivals Mullinahone. This result leaves Ballingarry’s hopes of a semifinal place hanging by a thread, with their final section game against St. Marys to come. For Mullinahone the result was a good start to their championship campaign. The win will sharpen them up and put them in better form for the games ahead against Swan and St. Marys.
In Anner Park the reasonably large crowd had enjoyed the late Autumn sunshine even if it was the first week of Winter on the calendar. The ground was soft from overnight rain but the players served up a good hours hurling with little or nothing between the sides. Some of the younger players on view had been trying to play summer hurling and some of the more experienced realised that Winter conditions called for a somewhat different brand of hurling. What a pity that younger players in particular cannot have their games confined to the Summer and Autumn months. Nov.7th is hardly the most suitable date of the years for Mullinahone’s first hurling game of the year nor is Nov. 8th the best opening day for St Mary’s. In spite of the lateness of the year the fare served up was quite exciting and competitive.
It took a while for the sides to tune in. In the first half shooting was very poor especially from the Kickhams. It was 15 minutes into the game before Kickhams opened their scoring with a point from a free by Graham Horan. Ballingarry already had four on the board and they made it five a few minutes later when Paul Butler pointed directly after a goal miss by Mullinahone. This was a four point swing. Micheál Dunne pointed for Mullinahone in 22 minutes, only their first score from play, but things took a serious turn for them in 24 minutes when Eamon Tuohy goaled for Ballingarry. One of the Kickhams half backs was yellow carded but a turning point came in 26 minutes when Micheál Dunne goaled to bring his side back into the game. Ger Fennelly pointed a free for Ballingarry but Davy Walzer and Graham Horan pulled two points back to leave the score at the break Ballingarry 1-06, Mullinahone 1-04.
Mullinahone missed a relatively easy free two minutes into the 2nd half and Ballingarry went up the field to point. Another two point swing. Jack Shelly pointed a free and Enda Keane a line ball to leave a point between the sides. The sides then exchanged points as Mullinahone began to get the upper hand. In 16 minutes Jack Shelly was pulled down and Graham Horan belted the penalty to the net to give Mullinahone the lead. A Shelly point from a free in 19 minutes put Mullinahone a goal clear. Two pointed frees were exchanged but in 26 minutes Padraig Hayes flashed to the Mullinahone net. A minute later Gerard Fennelly pointed a free to give Ballingarry the lead but Seán Walzer levelled for Mullinahone and Jack Shelly and Graham Horan shot the winning points as the game entered added time. Horan’s point was a class score Mullinahone probably deserved to win but nobody would have quarrelled with a draw. The shooting of both sides especially Mullinahone’s improved as the players adjusted to the conditions. While the game was competitive it was never allowed to get out of hand by the referee John O’Grady. Final Score Mullinahone 2-12, Ballingarry 2-10.
Mullinahone : Richie Walsh, Paul Luttrell, Ger Horan, Liam Hicks, Darragh Kelly, Luke Mullally, Davy Walzer, Micheál Cody, Colin Shelly, Graham Horan, Jack Shelly, Micheál Dunne, Joe Hogan, Enda Keane, Seán Walzer also used Paul Gayson.
Ballingarry: David Walsh, Shane Walsh, Thomas Pollard, Eamon Butler, Ger Fennelly, John Walsh, John Fitzgerald , Cillian Tuohy, Padraig Hayes, James Burns, Paul Butler, Jamie Walsh, Eamon Tuohy, Dylan Walsh.
Referee: John O’Grady (Rosegreen)
Report by Ricky Sheehan