The favourites and defending champions Galtee Rovers had their dream, of putting West titles back to back ,shattered in the revamped Dundrum venue last Friday evening.So Clonoulty/R now advance to the Tipperary Co-Op Super Valu West SHC final.Galtee Rovers seemed leg weary and lost out to a hungrier more balanced Clonoulty/R outfit who were without the services of former County player Aidan Butler.This game was a repeat of last years semi final at the same venue where Galtee Rovers had a point to spare in the end.
However this time around weaknesses in attack and some defensive lapses proved costly in the end.
Clonoulty/R seemed in trouble early in the game as the Rovers raced into an early lead, with Pa Morrissey unerring from frees.Gradually Clonoulty/R came to grips with their opponents,their ploy of playing Tom Butler as a roaming third midfielder eventually paid off with John Devane and Fiachra O'Keeffe relishing the space created up front.Conor Ryan too used his strength to put pressure on the excellent Galtee Rovers centre back.Andrew Morrissey was being tied down by Alan Kennedy and in the second half the Rovers were forced to send David Morrissey to centre forward in an effort to curb David Kennedy who was rampant at centre back.With most of their big guns under pressure and an obviously unfit Pa Morrissey Galtee Rovers looked for inspiration elsewhere, when they needed to close the gap, but they never were able to get the scores that in the end that would shade the issue.So not for the fist time did outstanding goalkeeper Andrew Fryday,the Kennedys ,Alan and John,the Devanes, John and Liam as well as the new kids on the block,the O'Keeffes,Con and Fiachra and scorer in chief Tom Butler play crucial roles in Clonoulty/Rossmores victory.
Pa Morrissey opened the Rovers account with a pointed free after three minutes.Fiachra O'Keeffe and David Morrissey then swopped points.Pa Morrissey and David Morrissey had points to leave the Rovers leading 0.04 to 0.01 after eight minutes.Both sides added points and the Rovers led at the end of the first quarter 0.06 to 0.03.It was double scores again after twenty minutes 0.08 to 0.04 and the Rovers looked good.However the game was turned around in the space of three minutes.Clonoulty/R were threatening up front and the Rovers defence was finally unhinged in the twenty third minute.The diminutive Fiachra O'Keeffe cast off the shackles of Dallan Browne,cut in the end line and was fouled in the square.A penalty was awarded and Tom Butler's shot was parried but dropped just over the goal line.Clonoulty/R were now only a point adrift and minutes later John Devane popped up around midfield ,won a Rovers clearance,parted to Alan Kennedy who made progress down the left wing, then got in behind the Rovers defence and his shot from the left wing went into the top right corner of the Rovers net.The referee played good advantage in the lead up to this goal.Now the Rovers found themselves two points adrift 2.05 to 0.08.Tom Butler added a point and Colin Morrissey landed a mighty long range effort before half time, leaving Clonoulty/R leading at the interval 2.05 to 0.09.
Early in the second half Pa Morrissey reduced the lead with a point and Andrew Fryday was called into action to deal with shots from Michael Collins and Colin Morrissey.Maurice Quirke set up John Devane for a point and Kieran Bergin got through for a point,which stood following some indecision by the officials.So four minutes into this second half only one point separated the sides and the Rovers were making a fight back.Tom Butler pointed, from a David Kennedy pass and a free,to put Clonoulty/R three up.Pat Marnane had a marvellous point from the right wing and Tom Butler replied with a point from a free leaving Clonoulty/R ahead 2.09 to 0.12 at the end of the third quarter.
In the final quarter scores were at a premium as Clonoulty/R clung on tenaciously to their lead and the Rovers tried to claw back that three point lead.Pa Morrissey and Kieran Bergin added points to leave just the minimum between the sides with only seven minutes to play.Tom Butler pointed a Clonoulty/R free and Pat Marnane pointed again to leave them only a point adrift with four minutes remaining.
The Rovers attacked and Andrew Fryday saved at the expense of a sixty-five,the ever reliable Pa Morrissey stood over the free ,looking for the equaliser which crucially he missed.Straight from the puckout Fiachra O'Keeffe cleverly put John Devane through for the insurance point.Andrew Morrissey was wide from a seventy metre free and the game was slipping away from the Rovers while Liam Kearney set up scorer in chief Tom Butler for the final point of the game just before the final whistle.
Clonoulty/R were relieved to hear the long whistle after an absorbing contest in which Galtee Rovers fought to the end.Both sides served up a sporting spectacle and the man in the middle Johnny Mc Donnell kept strict rein on the proceedings.
CLONOULTY/R:Andrew Fryday,Con O'Keeffe,Michael Heffernan,Brian Ryan;John Heffernan,David Kennedy,Liam Devane;Liam Kearney,Stephen Kearney;Maurice Quirke,Conor Ryan(C)(0.01),Alan Kennedy(1.01);Fiachra O'Keeffe(0.01),John Devane(0.02) ,Tom Butler(1.07)(1.05f).
GALTEE ROVERS:Cathal Moloney,Willie Tarrant,Seamus Moloney,Dallan Browne;Andrew Morrissey,Colin Morrissey(0.01),Michael Grace;Pa Morrissey(0.07f),Mark Peters;Pat Marnane(0.03)Vinny Murphy,David Morrissey(0.02);Michael Collins,Michael Scanlon,Kieran Bergin(0.02).SUB;David Byron for Michael Scanlon.