WEST TIPPERARY G.A.A. supplied by JJ Kennedy
M.H.C. 'A' Final Replay: Clonoulty\Rossmore 1-6 ... Kickhams 1-5.
A sustained onslaught by Kickhams in the dying minutes of a thrilling Dundr um House Hotel West minor hurling 'A' final replay, at Golden on Sunday eve ning last, failed to dislodge Clonoulty\Rossmore who held out for a hard-ea rned one-point victory. It was Clonoulty's 9th West title in total and thei r first in six years.
Having already drawn twice in this championship there was clearly nothing b etween these sides as this rematch played out to another nail-biting finish in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd. Kickhams will long bemoan the wastage of second half chances as a far more economical Clonoulty side did just enough to pip their great rivals.
Once more it was gripping entertainment as the game ebbed and flowed. Like in the drawn match the previous week Clonoulty got off to a flying start. C onor Horan did have the opening point of the game for Kickhams but then Clo noulty enjoyed a spell of dominance. Once again Timmy Hammersley was provin g elusive in the left corner of attack and John O'Keeffe was again impressi ve on frees. Between them they had Clonoulty in the driving seat in the fir st quarter at the end of which they led by 0-5 to 0-1, Hammersley scoring t wice and O'Keeffe pointing three long-range frees.
Kickhams were again slow starters but gradually they powered their way into the game and received a great fillip in the 24th minute when Conor Horan n udged home a goal after goalie, Diarmuid Cullen, failed to hold a Darren Ha yes delivery. Boosted by that score, and an improved commitment throughout the field, Kickhams finished the half strongest. Pointed frees by Tommy Com erford and Michael Heelan gave them an interval lead of 1-3 to 0-5 having f aced the diagonal wind in the first period. Once again Clonoulty were force d to move county minor, James Heffernan, back to number six position as Kic khams started to dominate the game.
The story of the second half is one of Kickham dominance being undone by a woeful wastage of chances. They shot an incredible thirteen wides in that s econd period and paid a heavy price as Clonoulty held out stubbornly for th e win. There was only one flag in the third quarter as Packie Farrell gave Kickhams a two-point lead. A Paudie White free pulled one back for Clonoult y but Paul O'Dwyer cancelled with another Kickhams point as the game entere d the final ten minutes.
The crucial score for Clonoulty came with nine minutes still to play. Timmy Hammersley did useful work in the left corner before feeding Tadhg Ryan wh ose well-hit shot beat Kickhams' goalie, Thomas Keane. Clonoulty were now one-up despite playing second fiddle in general play. A hectic finish was a ssured.
Kickhams piled on the pressure in the closing minutes but couldn't find the match-saving scores. They weren't helped by the dismissal of John Taylor f or a second bookable offence after James Heffernan went down off the ball. Deep into injury time Kickham substitute, Eoin Butler, was injured and Clon oulty full back, Liam Devane, was fortunate to only get a yellow card. His goalie too was lucky when a wild pull went undetected.
It was a frantic and heated finish to the match. The foul on Eoin Butler br ought a penalty with the game already five minutes over time and Kickhams a point in arrears. Amazingly Michael Heelan was instructed to go for goal w ith the free. It was a decision that backfired badly when the shot was save d. As the game went deeper into lost time a long-range free by Michael Heel an drifted wide and Clonoulty held out for a famous win.
It's one Clonoulty sneaked against the run of second half play to allow Lia m Devane accept the trophy from Board chairman, Billy Ryan. It was a battli ng win where they made the most of their chances against a prodigal Kickham side. The defence will take a lot of credit for holding out in the end wit h James Heffernan strengthening the resistance when he moved to centre in t he first half. Tadhg Ryan's goal was a match-winner; he scored the equalise r in the drawn tie. John O'Keeffe hurled another fine game while Timmy Hamm ersley too made a noteworthy contribution to the win.
For Kickhams it was a bitterly disappointing defeat. Michael Heelan and Pad raig Hayes dominated the half back area, especially in the second half. The y were the launch pad for much of the team's effort with Nigel Hayes again strong on the full line. Elsewhere Packie Farrell looked threatening but th e attack in general failed to salvage the game despite a generous supply of possession.
Scorers for Clonoulty\Rossmore: Tadhg Ryan 1-0, John O'Keeffe 0-3 (all free s), Timmy Hammersley 0-2, Paudie White 0-1 (free).
Scorers for Kickhams: Conor Horan 1-1, Tommy Comerford (free), Michael Heel an (free), Packie Farrell and Paul O'Dwyer 0-1 each.
Clonoulty\Rossmore: Diarmuid Cullen; Joey O'Keeffe, Liam Devane Capt., Kevi n Horan; John O'Keeffe, Stephen Kearney, Thomas Hennessy; Tadhg Ryan and Ja son Forrestal; Thomas Lyng, James Heffernan, Paudie White; Tommy Quinn, Tom my Maher, Timmy Hammersley. Sub: Patrick Ryan for Tommy Maher.
Kickhams: Thomas Keane; Jason Loughman, Nigel Hayes, James Keane; Killian H eney, Michael Heelan, Padraig Hayes; Tommy Comerford and Michael Shanahan; Packie Farrell, John Taylor, Darren Hayes; Conor Horan, Paul O'Dwyer, Mark Ryan. Subs: Sean Keogh for Mark Ryan and Eoin Butler for Conor Horan.
Ref: Richard Barry, Cappawhite.