Saturday 15th November 2003
Scores either side of half time point Fethard to league title
Tipperary All-County Adult Football League Division One Final
Fethard 0-9, Aherlow 0-6
- Fethard got the better of Aherlow on Saturday 8th November in the Tipperary All-County Adult Football League Final. On a cold day in New Inn, Fethard had the advantage of the strong wind in the first half and should have taken the lead on seven minutes when Michael Spillane hit a bad wide with only the goalie to beat.
Aherlow were defending doggedly at this point and took the lead on nine minutes when Jos O'Brien opened the scoring with a pointed free. Fethard responded immediately with two good points from play through Glen Burke and Tom Anglim. However, the South team were not making good use of the wind and nearing the end of the first half, the scores were level at three points each.
The crucial moments in the winning of this match came at either side of the interval. Despite playing poorly, Fethard scored two injury time points at the end of the first half through Conor McCarthy (free) and Brian Coen.
The half-time score of 0-5 to 0-3 hardly seemed enough for Fethard but they came out for the second half in determined mood and scored two quick points from play through substitute Jimmy O'Meara and John Paul Looby to stretch their lead to 0-7 to 0-3. A 4 point lead in a tight match like this was always going to make it hard for Aherlow and so it proved.
Aherlow reduced the lead down to 2 points with twenty minutes to go but despite having the strong wind at their backs, they were unable to penetrate the Fethard defence for the scores they needed. In the second half, with the aid of the wind, Aherlow could only add on three points, all from frees as the Fethard team gained the upper hand.
The second half was marred by a number of incidents as tempers flared on both sides. The referee Jimmy Sweeney issued a number of yellow cards, which did not seem to have the desired effect on the players as the game became very fragmented with very little free flowing football. Eventually, in injury time after a fracas that involved a number of players, Aherlow midfielder David Cleary was sent off. In truth, a number of players were lucky not to have got their marching orders.
When the final whistle went, Fethard were three points in front and were deserved winners. County Football Board Chairman Mick Frawley presented the Dr. Clifford cup to the Fethard captain Paul Fitzgerald after the game.
Fethard were best served by their entire back line, especially Glen Burke, while Aidan Fitzgerald and Tom Anglim were among the others to impress. Aherlow's back-line also performed well while up front, Jos O'Brien got all but one of their total.
Fethard: Paul Fitzgerald (Captain); Alan Phelan, Michael Aherne, Willie Morrissey; Glen Burke (03, 0-2 frees), Michael Quinlan, Stephen O'Donnell; Aidan Fitzgerald, P.J. Aherne; Michael Spillane, Michael Dillon, Brian Coen (0-1); Conor McCarthy (0-1 free), Tom Anglim (0-2), John P. Looby (0-1)
Subs: - Jimmy O'Meara (0-1), Cian Maher, Nicky Murphy
Aherlow: Brian Moroney; Timmy Leonard, Leo Leonard, Cathal O'Shea; Michael Moroney, Fergal Clifford, Denis O'Shea; Mark O'Brien, David Cleary; Paddy Hennessy, Anthony Moroney, Mark O'Shea; Barry Grogan (0-I free), Deny Peters, Jos O'Brien (0-5, 0-4 frees).
Subs: Conor O'Shea, Danny Hennessy
Referee: Jimmy Sweeney (Loughmore-Castleiney)
(Report: Ed Donnelly, County PRO).