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WEST TIPPERARY G.A.A.
supplied by JJ Kennedy.</p>

S.H.C.: Clonoulty\Rossmore 2-10 ..... Kickhams 1-9. .</p>

A one-sided first half effectively decided the outcome in this disappointing Tipperary Co-Op Super Valu West senior hurling championship opener at Cappawhite on Friday evening last. With Kickhams experiencing a disastrous opening half against the wind Clonoulty raced into a ten-point interval lead. It was a gap that ultimately proved too wide despite a strong Kickham rally in the second period.</p>

When it rains it pours, they say, and certainly Kickhams will look back on the opening half of this encounter with horror. First they lost injury-prone cornerback, Jimmy Farrell, and then goalie, John O'Brien, had to retire after he advanced in a vain attempt to prevent Clonoulty's second goal. Eoin Morrissey too collected an injury and he had to retire at half time. .</p>

That litany of woes was compounded by free-taking problems with Aidan Butler off target on a number of easy chances. And to cap it all Kickhams were simply playing abysmally, mistiming and fumbling at crucial times. </p>

Against that Clonoulty enjoyed a far more competent half hour. With a strong wind at their backs they dominated the half. Con O'Keeffe and John Heffernan were delivering the best clearances from defence. Conor Ryan was striking a deal of ball at midfield while in attack the likes of Aidan Butler, John Devane and Tom Butler were posing problems for the Kickhams defence. </p>

The first major break fell to Clonoulty when Fiachra O'Keeffe fed Alan Kennedy for a goal after eleven minutes. By the end of the first quarter the lead was modest enough, 1-3 to 0-2, but in the second quarter it gradually stretched to worrying proportions for Kickhams. John Devane became more prominent at wing forward forcing Kickhams to recall Damien McGrath to defence in a bid to bolster the rearguard. </p>

The accuracy of Tom Butler from frees contrasted with Kickhams' difficulties from placed balls and then approaching half time Clonoulty bagged their second goal to leave Kickhams facing a daunting task. This time a long free from the Clonoulty defence by David Kennedy was batted out in the Kickham goalmouth but Maurice Quirke returned it with interest as Kickham goalie, John O'Brien, was injured in his attempt to stop the forward. Just before half time Ger Butler and Damien O'Brien collided in midfield for Kickhams - it was that type of half for the Dundrum club. </p>

At half time Clonoulty led by 2-7 to 0-3 but they too had a casualty when Aidan Butler failed to resume, his place being taken by Kevin Ryan with John Devane going centre forward. Kickhams introduced Kevin Farrell to centre back with Brian Horgan going midfield and Damien McGrath reverting to attack once more. </p>

Facing a drubbing, Kickhams resumed in more determined mood and Clonoulty were on the defensive in the early minutes of the second half. Andrew Fryday did well to save an Aidan Butler effort and when Damien McGrath got in a shot in the follow up it was Clonoulty's Liam Devane who saved at the expense of a '65'. In further Kickham onslaughts Richard Horgan drove one wide a cross the face of the Clonoulty goal. A goal for Kickhams at this stage might have reopened the issue but in its absence Clonoulty were never under serious threat from the fight back. </p>

Gradually Kickhams began to chip away at the lead with Brian Horgan providing the solution to the free taking problem. Kevin Farrell was doing well at centre back but in attack they were making only modest headway with David Kennedy emerging as one of the Clonoulty heroes at number six. </p>

Kickhams eventually did goal when substitute Fergal Horgan found the net but it came a mere three minutes from full time and despite a deal of added time being played Clonoulty never looked like surrendering advantage. In the final minute Clonoulty's fullback, Michael Heffernan, was sent off after receiving a second yellow card. </p>

It's a useful win for Clonoulty over the old foe, though ironically they now face reigning champions, Galtee Rvs., in the semi-final whereas Kickhams have the chance to resurrect their bid in the losers' section. It's something of a new-look Clonoulty side with Michael Heffernan and David Kennedy manning the central positions quite effectively in defence. Youngsters, Liam Devane, and James Heffernan did well on the left side of defence. In attack Aidan Butler, Tom Butler and John Devane were the most productive. </p>

For Kickhams it can be put down as another bad experience, though they could take some encouragement from the second half and from the display of substitute Padraig Hayes who impressed when introduced to defence. </p>

Scorers for Clonoulty\Rossmore: Alan Kennedy and Maurice Quirke 1-0 each, Tom Butler 0-5 (0-4 from frees), John Devane 0-4 (0-1 from a free), Aidan Butler 0-1. </p>

Scorers for Kickhams: Fergal Horgan 1-1, Brian Horgan 0-4 (all frees), Paul Breen, Aidan Butler (free), Richard Horgan and Michael Heelan 0-1 each. </p>

Clonoulty\Rossmore: Andrew Fryday; Con O'Keeffe, Michael Heffernan, Liam Devane; John Heffernan, David Kennedy, James Heffernan; Conor Ryan and Stephen Kearney; John Devane, Aidan Butler, Alan Kennedy; Maurice Quirke, Tom Butler, Fiachra O'Keeffe. Subs: Kevin Ryan for Aidan Butler, Liam Kearney for Fiachra O'Keeffe and Trevor O'Dwyer for Stephen Kearney. </p>

Kickhams: John O'Brien; Jimmy Farrell, Aidan Heney, Daniel Breen; Brian Horgan, Fergal Heney, Michael Heelan; Eoin Morrissey and Derek Breen; Damien McGrath, Paul Breen, John McCormack; Ger Butler, Richard Horgan, Aidan Butler. Subs: Padraig Hayes for Jimmy Farrell (injured), Patrick Ryan for John O'Brien (injured), Kevin Farrell for Eoin Morrissey (injured), Ger Farrell for Aidan Butler and Fergal Horgan for Ger Butler. </p>

Ref: Noel Cosgrave, Marlfield.