AIB Munster Club Intermediate Football Championship Semi-Final – St. Breckans (Clare) 0-10 Clashmore (Waterford) 0-8

St. Breckans (Clare) defeated Clashmore (Waterford) by 0-10 to 0-8 in the AIB Munster Club Intermediate Football Championship Semi-Final on Sunday in Fraher Field Dungarvan.

Munster Club SHC S-Final – De La Salle v Sarsfields

De La Salle (Waterford) defeated Sarsfields (Cork) by 0-22 to 2-15 after extra time in the AIB Munster GAA Hurling Senior Club Championship Semi-Final on Sunday at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

Gutsy De La Salle go the extra mile

Sarsfields (Cork) 2-15 De La Salle (Waterford) 0-22 (aet)

By Michael Moynihan for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, November 15, 2010

DE LA SALLE by a point.

The Waterford champions saw off their Cork counterparts Sarsfields by the minimum in extra time at Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday in the Munster club SHC semi-final in a game that had a little bit of everything – controversy, goals, equalising heroics – but never really sizzled. It was an exciting finish given the game’s beginning: on 12 minutes it was two points to one in favour of De La Salle. Goalkeeper and Sars captain Alan Kennedy had made the first of several fine one-on-one saves to deny De La Salle a goal when his side got their first green flag on 15 minutes: Daniel Roche dropped a long shot into the De La Salle square and when the ball broke loose Cian McCarthy was onto it quickly, his fine ground stroke sending the ball clean through the net for a goal.

On the puck-out John Mullane hit a 25-metre free off the post and Sars swept downfield, won a 65 pointed by Cian McCarthy, and Daniel Kearney added a point – 1-4 to 0-3. De La Salle responded with Daniels, Páidí Nevin and Bryan Phelan points before Sars stuck again for goal. With two minutes to the break, Michael Cussen dished out a quick pass to Kieran Murphy near the De La Salle goal and the Cork captain finished to the net from a tight angle. Some Waterford observers, including De La Salle keeper Stevie Brenner, felt Cussen’s pass was illegal, and the custodian saw yellow for his protests. Kennedy had to pull off a fine save late in the half from John Keane to preserve Sars’ advantage, 2-5 to 0-6 at the break.

De La Salle rallied after half-time, cutting Sars’ lead to two within six minutes thanks to Mullane (two frees) and an inspirational Eddie Barrett point from halfway, but Mullane missed a scoreable free on 38 minutes that would have left a point in it. From the puckout Cian McCarthy’s free made it a three-point game again, and Gavin O’Loughlin and Tadhg Óg Murphy quickly chipped in with two points of their own to put five between them. Game over? Not quite. Phelan (free) and Nevin points signalled De La Salle’s defiance, but they again missed some scoreable chances, and with the game running down to a close Sars still had two points to spare. De La Salle won a 65 on 56 minutes which Phelan put wide but referee Seamus Roche deemed a Sars player to have jogged across Phelan in an effort to distract him, and moved the 65 closer. Phelan converted the chance the second time but with time pushing into the 62nd minute, it still looked black for De La Salle, a point adrift. Enter man-of-the-match Kevin Moran with a magnificent equaliser from eighty yards. “The score of a lifetime,” his manager, Michael Ryan, called it afterwards: extra time.

The teams exchanged points in the first portion of extra time – Sars through Daniel Kearney (two) and Tadhg Óg Murphy, and De La Salle through Mullane, Dean Twomey and an inspirational Moran effort: 2-14 to 0-20 at half-time in extra time. Just as it looked like there was no separating them, however, De La Salle got ahead: Mullane and McCarthy swapped frees before promising teenager Jake Dillon wrote himself into the history books with the winner. At the final whistle, Sars’ manager John Crowley was devastated

He said: “I’m disappointed for the lads, they put in a huge effort but look, that’s just the way it is. We got two good goals, we were trying to hit the jugular, but a few decisions went against us at crucial stages . . . it’s just very disappointing.” The decision to move in Bryan Phelan’s 65 late in normal time? “He (referee Seamus Roche) said it was for jogging across,” said Crowley. “I thought there were some harsh decisions but sometimes they go for you, sometimes they don’t.”

His De La Salle counterpart was jubilant. “Semi-finals are all about winning,” said Michael Ryan. “Waterford teams have often played in really good games and come out on the wrong side. All we were interested in was winning, and coming down to win was a real test. To give Sars a five-point lead, reel them in, give them another five-point lead and dig out a win means there’s great credit due to the boys.” Ryan was confident before extra-time: “When it went to extra time I felt we’d win because we have a very high level of fitness. But it could have gone either way. It was a victory for honesty, for commitment, and for the heart that’s in these guys.”

* The AIB Munster club SHC final between De La Salle of Waterford and Thurles Sars of Tipperary has been fixed for Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday November 28, throw in 2pm.

Scorers for De La Salle: B. Phelan 0-6 (0-4 fs, 0-2 65s); J. Mullane 0-5 (0-3 fs); P. Nevin 0-4; K. Moran 0-2; D.Twomey, E. Barrett, J. Dillon, E. Madigan, S. Daniels 0-1 each.

Scorers for Sars: C. McCarthy 1-6 (0-5 fs, 0-1 65); K. Murphy 1-1; D. Kearney, G. O’Loughlin 0-3 each; T. Og Murphy 0-2.

Subs for Sars: R. Murphy for Cussen, 55; M. Cussen for R. Murphy, HT(ET); P. Ryan for D. Kearney, 73; E. O’Sullivan for W. Kearney, 75

Subs for DLS: E. Madigan for Watt, 40; L. Hayes for Keane, 56; J. Keane for Greene, 78 (ET).

Referee: S. Roche (Tipperary)

Action from De La Salle v Sarsfields
Action from De La Salle v Sarsfields

Extra special Moran inspires DLS

By Colm Keys for the Irish Independent newspaper

Monday November 15 2010

De La Salle and Sarsfields have a propensity for serving up thrilling matches at this time of the year — and they didn’t disappoint at Pairc Ui Chaoimh yesterday. A full-blooded semi-final eventually went De La Salle’s way but only after extra-time had been forced by a magnificent equalising point from the Waterford champions’ centre-back Kevin Moran, who had the conviction to drive over from virtually his own 65-metre line to level the sides at 2-11 to 0-17. Referee Seamus Roche had allowed for two minutes of added-time and Moran’s effort was splitting the posts with a further 44 seconds played. He ended it there. But it was no more than De La Salle deserved for their persistence and the balance of possession they enjoyed, which they didn’t always capitalise on.

In that sense, Sarsfields captain and goalkeeper Alan Kennedy had come to the rescue on at least three occasions and John Mullane’s shooting, from frees and general play, was curiously off-key. That only two of De La Salle’s 22 points came from Mullane’s stick in general play illustrates the spread of influence they had. But by the end Moran had stood out on his own, earning rich kudos from his manager Michael Ryan, a candidate for the Waterford job just a couple of months ago. Ryan cannot understand how the powerhouse 23-year-old is not permanently sited at half-back on any team he plays. Waterford had him at midfield and half-forward this season. Yesterday’s tour de force, felt Ryan, illustrates that centre-back is his best position.

“No one will ever convince me that Kevin Moran’s best position is not in defence. He was majestic. He dominated the game from start to finish. When the pressure was on, he got that ball 70 or 80 metres out. “Everything hung on that one shot. That’s the shot of a lifetime. You either step up to the plate or you don’t,” said Ryan. “Kevin, the man he is, got that ball and planted it between the posts.” Others stepped up, too. When Mullane missed his third scorable free, Bryan Phelan took over responsibility and by the end there were six points to his name, all from mid or long-range frees or ’65s’.

He screwed a few wide too and one from a ’65’ caused controversy near the end of normal-time when Roche adjudged that Daniel Kearney had run across Phelan as he struck and ordered a free from 10 metres closer. This time, the powerful Phelan did not miss and reduced the gap to one point (2-11 to 0-16) to set up Moran’s grandstand finish. That decision enraged Sarsfields, and their manager John Crowley raised it in a post-match interview, deeming it “harsh”. In Sarsfields protestation, however, may have been a strong helping of regret that they had twice let five-point leads slip. Cian McCarthy’s goal on 16 minutes, courtesy of a Kieran Murphy flick into his path, handed the Cork champions the initiative and a 1-2 to 0-3 lead.

Murphy turned finisher towards the end of the half when he collected from Michael Cussen and slipped a shot past Stephen Brenner, before adding a point to establish the first five-point cushion, 2-5 to 0-6 at the break. For De La Salle, there was plenty of possession but very little cutting edge. It wasn’t a particularly rewarding half for Mullane, who watched in dismay as two relatively simple frees for a striker of the ball like him weren’t converted, one whizzing wide from about 30 metres, the other cannoning off an upright back into play. Towards the end of the half he went one-on-one, albeit from a tight angle, with Kennedy after a perfectly placed pass by Eddie Barrett but the Sarsfields goalkeeper — not for the first time — was equal to the task, batting Mullane’s shot away for a ’65’ which Phelan did convert.

De La Salle cut the deficit back to two points early in the second half with Mullane on target with two frees and Barrett chipping in, but by the 41st minute, Sarsfields had a five-point lead again and appeared to be cruising. For the final 20 minutes or so, it was all De La Salle, however. Mullane finally squeezed over a point from play on 51 minutes and substitute Eoin Madigan secured an important score. They had the bit between the teeth and the belief, too. “To give them a five-point start, then to come back and then let them go five points up again and still dig it out, it’s great credit to every one of the boys,” said Ryan. “It was one of these days, I don’t know why, that I felt we would get our chance — particularly when it went to extra-time.” When it did venture into added-time, De La Salle had the edge as Moran and Phelan grew stronger with every minute and the full-back line, spearheaded by Ian Flynn and the impressive Michael Doherty, dealt with almost everything thrown at them.

Midfielder Dean Twomey also made a big contribution with some telling runs and it was his point in the first period of extra-time that really gave De La Salle the impetus to go and win the game. Sarsfields had a chance at the end from a long-range McCarthy free, but it drifted narrowly wide, just as a similar chance had drifted wide near the end of normal-time which would have made the game safe. But Sarsfields manager Crowley refused to lay any blame at McCarthy’s door given his conversion rate (80pc according to Crowley) this season. The last word was left to Ryan, who credited the honesty and heart of his players. “Semi-finals are all about winning,” he said. “Waterford and De La Salle teams have often played in great games and come out on the wrong side of it. The only thing we were interested in today was the final score.”

Scorers — De La Salle: B Phelan 0-6 (0-4f, 0-2 ’65’), J Mullane 0-5 (0-3f), P Nevin 0-4, K Moran 0-2, S Daniels (0-1f), E Madigan, D Twomey, J Dillon, E Barrett 0-1 each. Sarsfields: C McCarthy 1-6 (0-5f, 0-1 ’65’), K Murphy 1-1, G O’Loughlin, D Kearney 0-3 each, T Og Murphy 0-2.

De La Salle — S Brenner; D Russell, I Flynn, M Doherty; B Phelan, K Moran, S Daniels; C Watt, D Twomey; P Nevin, D Greene, E Barrett; J Dillon, J Mullane, J Keane. Subs: E Madigan for Watt (42), L Hayes for Keane (56), J Keane for Greene (78)

Sarsfields — A Kennedy; D Keneally, J Barry, C O’Sullivan; G O’Kelly-Lynch, R Ryan, C Leahy; D Kearney, D Roche; C McCarthy, W Kearney, G O’Loughlin; M Cussen, K Murphy, T Og Murphy. Subs: R Murphy for Cussen (55), M Cussen for Murphy (70), P Ryan for Kearney (74), E O’Sullivan for Kearney (76).

REF — S Roche (Tipperary)

Action from De La Salle v Sarsfields

Action from De La Salle v Sarsfields

AIB Munster Club Intermediate Football Championship Semi-Final – Gneeveguilla (Kerry) 0-12 Newcestown (Cork) 1-8

Gneeveguilla (Kerry) defeated Newcestown (Cork) by 0-12 to 1-8 in the AIB Munster Club Intermediate Football Championship Semi-Final on Sunday in Gneeveguilla.

O’Connor on fire for Gneeveguilla

Gneeveguilla 0-12 Newcestown 1-8

By Fintan O’Toole for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, November 15, 2010

FOURTEEN-man Gneeveguilla booked their spot in the Munster Club IFC final when they edged out Newcestown in a pulsating semi-final at their club grounds yesterday. In a tough and uncompromising encounter that saw referee Brian Tyrell brandish 10 yellow cards, the dismissal of corner-forward Ronan McAuliffe in the 25th minute after an off-the-ball incident looked set to derail the hosts prospects of victory. The East Kerry men were still in a strong position at the interval when they led 0-8 to 0-2 and were forced to survive a storming second-half revival from the Cork champions.

Gneeveguilla’s victory owed much to a brilliant free-scoring display by corner-forward DJ O’Connor who finished with six points. The dominant platform established by midfielders Don Murphy and John Paul Brosnan was also integral to Gneeveguilla’s success and paved the way for a 0-6 to 0-1 lead by the 20th minute. But their shooting was wasteful in the first-half as they racked up eight wides which meant Newcestown still held hope at half-time.

In the second-half the visitors started to maximise their extra man well and pumped long deliveries towards Barry Horgan and Tadhg Twomey. They both started to find the target and a pair of excellent frees by Horgan left Newcestown only 0-9 to 0-6 adrift by the 40th. Gneeveguilla made a crucial rally courtesy of O’Connor and he pushed them 0-11 to 0-6 in front by the 47th minute. Newcestown kept charging forward and were rewarded when Sean Ryan thumped a fierce drive to the net 60 seconds later. A fine point by Mark Kelly shaved the deficit to one with eight minutes remaining but Gneeveguilla clung on for victory.

Scorers for Gneeveguilla: DJ O’Connor 0-6; L Murphy 0-3 (three frees); MS Murphy, R McAuliffe (one free), F McAuliffe 0-1 each.

Scorers for Newcestown: B Horgan 0-5 (four frees); S Ryan 1-0; T Twomey 0-2 (one free); M Kelly 0-1.

GNEEVEGUILLA: P O’Riordan; B Sheahan, E Lawlor, MB Murphy; Danny O’Connor, P O’Connor, J Sheahan; JP Brosnan, D Murphy; MS Murphy, F McAuliffe, R McAuliffe; DJ O’Connor, L Murphy, Donie O’Connor.

Subs: B O’Leary for Donie O’Connor (54), G Moynihan for F McAuliffe (61).

NEWCESTOWN: P White; Jason Crowley, John Crowley, K Long; G O’Rourke, N O’Sullivan, B Moloney; M Kelly, F Keane; H Curran, B Horgan, G O’Driscoll; T Twomey, C Keane, D Twomey.

Subs: E Kelly for Jason Crowley (20), S Ryan for O’Rourke (inj) (half-time), T Ryan for O’Driscoll (41), O Keane for Moloney (44), D Heffernan for D Twomey (49).

Referee: Brian Tyrell (Tipperary)

AIB Munster GAA Hurling Senior Club Championship Semi-Final – Thurles Sarsfields (Tipperary) 2-10 Kilmallock (Limerick) 0-11

Thurles Sarsfields (Tipperary) defeated Kilmallock (Limerick) by 2-10 to 0-11 in the AIB Munster GAA Hurling Senior Club Championship Semi-Final on Sunday in Kilmallock.

Battle all the way for Sars

Thurles Sarsfields (Tipperary) 2-10 Kilmallock (Limerick) 0-11

By Diarmuid O’Flynn for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, November 15, 2010

THURLES SARS had a much tougher battle than predicted in their Munster Club SHC semi-final at Kilmallock yesterday. However, two second-half goals, combined with poor shooting by the hosts, was just enough to see them through to their first provincial final, much to the relief of manager Michael Gleeson. “Coming down here, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy, and it wasn’t,” Gleeson admitted. “It was a battle the whole way. We got a break with the first goal and had been struggling big-time up to then. Even after that we struggled again for a while, but the second goal gave us that bit of daylight.”

Played in bright conditions, the first half was a ding-dong affair with never more than two points between two talented and committed teams. Kilmallock started well and were three points to two ahead after ten minutes, but already the malaise that would eventually cost them dearly was starting to show – they notched up two wides in that period, both from scorable positions. For the next 15 minutes, Sars began to dominate and points from Pa Bourke (2) and Johnny Enright saw them take an 0-5 to 0-3 lead. Back came Kilmallock, however, retaking the lead after a three-points run of their own (scores coming from Eoin Ryan, Shane O’Donnell and Andrew O’Shaughnessy), but an injury-time 65 by inter-county star Pa Bourke tied it up, 0-6 apiece, at the break.

A goal was always going to have a major impact, and so it proved. Kilmallock had the first opportunity in the 34th minute but Graeme Mulcahy’s searing shot rattled the crossbar and deflected over. Three minutes later, however, it was hurler-of-the-year Lar Corbett at the other end, and this time there was no mistake. With Kilmallock having taken a two-point lead – courtesy of two O’Shaughnessy frees and that Mulcahy point – a high centre from Denis Maher fell short of the Kilmallock square. Corbett had been superbly marshalled by a number of Kilmallock defenders but by Phillip O’Loughlin particularly all day, and now he found himself sandwiched between O’Loughlin and keeper Barry Hennessey. He had no right to win the breaking ball, but did and got a vital touch just ahead of Hennessey before the simplest of tasks to tap into the gaping goal.

“That’s the way games go,” Gleeson admitted. “From the sideline it can look soft but when you have two guys hanging off you and no space, it was so. Ultimately yes, it was a little fortuitous and the final touch over the line was easy, but Lar worked hard to get into that position.” The goal wrested the initiative back for Sars and another Bourke 65 – after another Hennessey save – put the Tipperary champions two points ahead (1-8 to 0-9). Kilmallock fought back, but again poor shooting cost them – four wides in a row from positions where it would have been almost easier to score.

The cost of the missed chances increased further in the 54th minute, when young sub Michael O’Brien (a member of this year’s Tipperary minor team, along with another impressive sub, Aidan McCormack) pounced on the break from a blocked Denis Maher shot and when he fired home Sars’ second goal, it was all over. “Thirteen wides and at vital stages,” Kilmallock manager Tony Considine surmised. “When Graeme (Mulcahy) broke through (34th minute), hit the crossbar and got the point, they went down and got the goal, so instead of being 1-8 to 0-7 in favour of us, it was the other way around.

“After that we still fought hard. You can never claim to be the better team when you lose but I don’t think we were too far off it – we just failed to score when we could have. This game was very important for Limerick hurling in general – the lads wanted to stand up and prove that Limerick hurling isn’t dead, not on the club scene anyway, and I think they proved that.” Thurles Sars are undoubtedly an outstanding club side, worthy representatives of the All-Ireland champion county, but they were matched in Kilmallock in all but the scoreboard yesterday, well matched.

Scorers for Thurles Sars: M. O’Brien 1-1; P. Bourke 0-4 (0-2 65s, 0-1 free); L. Corbett 1-0; J. Enright 0-2 (frees); D. Maher, P. Maher and A. McCormack 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kilmallock: A. O’Shaughnessy 0-5 (all frees); G. Mulcahy 0-2; E. Ryan 0-2 (0-1 free); P O’Dwyer and S O’Donnell 0-1 each.

THURLES SARS: P. McCormack (capt); D. Maher, M Cahill, K. O’Gorman; B. O’Dwyer, P. Maher, D. Kennedy; A. Kennedy, M. Gleeson; S. Lillis, D. Maher, P. Bourke; R. Ruth, J. Enright, L. Corbett.

Subs for Thurles Sars: A. McCormack for O’Dwyer (30); M. O’Brien for A. Kennedy (46); J.J. Bourke for Enright (54).

KILMALLOCK: B. Hennessey; P. O’Loughlin, L. Walsh, L. Hurley; K. O’Mahony, G. O’Mahony (c), B. O’Sullivan; E. Ryan, P. O’Brien; P. O’Dwyer, G. Mulcahy, G. O’Sullivan; S. O’Donnell, A. O’Shaughnessy, J. Mulcahy.

Subs for Kilmallock: K. O’Donnell for G. O’Sullivan (49); K. Kenneally for O’Shaughnessy (58).

Referee: M Wadding (Waterford).

Corbett’s killer instinct proves the difference

From the Irish Independent newspaper

Monday November 15 2010

TIPPERARY hurlers are still leading a charmed life even as the days darken to the season’s chilly close. Hosts Kilmallock outfought and outplayed the Tipperary champions for the best part of an hour in front of a packed house yesterday, yet two small slip-ups cost them dearly as Thurles Sarsfields thieved two second-half goals to reach the Munster club final for the first time in their history. The Limerick champions learned what many more have found to their heartbreak — that Lar Corbett, like all the best assassins, needs just a single bullet. Kilmallock full-back Philip O’Loughlin had a super game on the reigning Hurler of the Year, keeping him largely out of the game and scoreless until six minutes after half-time.

But then Corbett broke a long delivery from Denis Maher and scrambled it over the line for anything but a vintage ‘Lar goal’ and suddenly the game turned on its axis. One of Pa Bourke’s two ’65s’ immediately followed to extend Sars’ lead to two in a four-point turnaround that put Kilmallock on the ropes for the first time in the game. You could argue that it was the home side’s own profligacy — a whopping 13 wides, eight in the second half — that proved even more costly. They had four of them in a row then in a period where they also spurned a great goal chance when the Tipperary backs fumbled a ball on their own goal-line. Yet there was no escaping the feeling that Corbett’s goal had thrown Thurles a lifeline they wouldn’t waste.

They didn’t score again for 13 minutes when Padraic Maher emerged from a huddle to land an inspirational long-range point and within a minute the game was clinched when Bourke found Denis Maher, whose shot was initially stopped by Barry Hennessy only for substitute Michael O’Brien to slam home the rebound. The goals decided it: the harshest of lessons for the home side who made a brilliant stab at ousting the hot favourites, who featured four of Tipperary’s All-Ireland winning seniors and two county minors — schools star O’Brien and Aidan McCormack — whose contributions off the bench proved vital.

As you’d expect from any side managed by Tony Considine — who was strongly critical of referee Michael Wadding afterwards — Kilmallock were full of fight and worked tirelessly for one another. Their early offloading game really worked and Eoin Ryan and Paudie O’Brien had the upper hand at midfield but it was a game largely dominated by both sets of defenders. Kilmallock’s centre-back and captain Gavin O’Mahony was outstanding and well supported by wing-back Liam Walsh but in the last quarter his opposite number, Tipp star Padraic Maher, emerged as Sarsfields’ powerful leader.

Thurles only got five points from play and two of those were from teenage subs McCormack and O’Brien. But Kilmallock’s experienced forwards like Graeme Mulcahy and Andrew O’Shaughnessy were also well held. Paudie O’Dwyer and Jake Mulcahy kept driving them on but their shooting as a team was far too rushed and in the final minutes they were reduced to 14 when substitute Kieran Kenneally got a straight red card. “We were struggling big-time up until the first goal but we worked hard to get it,” admitted Thurles manager and new Tipp selector Michael Gleeson. “We’re in our first Munster final now which is great but the job’s not done yet.”

Scorers — Thurles Sarsfields: M O’Brien 1-1, P Bourke 0-4 (2 ’65s, 1f), L Corbett 1-0, J Enright 0-2 (2f), P Maher, D Maher and A McCormack 0-1 each. Kilmallock: A O’Shaughnessy 0-5 (5f), G Mulcahy 0-2, E Ryan 0-2 (1f), P O’Dwyer and S O’Donnell 0-1 each.

Thurles Sarsfields — P McCormack (capt); D Maher, K O’Gorman, B O’Dwyer; D Kennedy, P Maher, M Cahill; A Kennedy, M Gleeson; S Lillis, L Corbett, D Maher; J Enright, P Bourke, R Ruth. Subs: A McCormack for O’Dywer (h-t), M O’Brien for Kennedy (46), JJ Bourke for Enright (54).

Kilmallock — B Hennessy; L Hurley, P O’Loughlin, K O’Mahony; L Walsh, G O’Mahony (capt), B O’Sullivan; E Ryan, P O’Brien; P O’Dwyer, S O’Donnell, G O’Sullivan; G Mulcahy, A O’Shaughnessy, J Mulcahy. Subs: K O’Donnell for G O’Sullivan (49), K Kenneally for O’Shaughnessy (58).

Ref — M Wadding (Waterford)