Saturday 1st November 2003
Treacy leveller gives holders Fethard second chance
South Tipperary Intermediate Hurling Championship Final
Fethard (holders) 1-11, Ballybacon/ Grange 1-11
- Never-say-die Fethard held on to their South Tipperary Martins Fruit and Veg intermediate hurling crown when they came from behind to snatch a hard earned last gasp draw with an impressive Ballybacon / Grange in this highly entertaining divisional final at Clonmel Sportsfield on Sunday 26th October.
Top scorer Kieran Treacy came to Fethard's rescue with his seventh pointed free on 61 minutes to give the reigning champions a hare of the spoils with a side who were poised to avenge last year's shock defeat and regain a title from their grasp when hey chased a historic five in-a-row championship.
A brisk start by Ballybacon saw then two points clear after three minutes with scores form Michael Phelan and Johnny English but a quick fourth minute break upheld by Fethard, which was started by Michael Ryan and helped by Kieran Treacy saw full forward Miceál Spillane flash the ball to the net to give the holders a 1-0 to 0-2 lead on four minutes.
Fethard then failed to score for twelve minutes and Ballybacon took up the running with a penalty goal by goalkeeper Brendan Cummins and two pointed frees from Alan O'Gorman to lead 3-4 to 1-0 on fifteen minutes.
Cummins who added two crucial pointed frees was top scorer for Bally who came within a whisker of regaining the title but could never shake off the challenge of a Fethard side who were on level terms at half-time when points from Treacy, John Paul Looby and Aidan Fitzgerald in response to a Peter Hally point for Ballybacon left it 1-5 apiece at the break.
Ballybacon got the second-half scoring underway with early points from Michael Phelan, Peter Hally and Johnny English but with the accuracy of Kieran Treacy's free-taking keeping Fethard in touch it was 1-10 apiece on fifty-five minutes and the game was there for the taking by either side.
In the 56th minute Alan O'Gorman edged Bally in front and after some heroics Fethard defensive play in the action-packed finish the holders got the dramatic equaliser they needed when Kieran Treacy unerringly split the posts for the seventh time with a well struck free to leave the game deadlocked on 1-Il apiece after another battle royal between these arch rivals.
Brendan Cummins was a commanding figure in a tight-marking Ballybacon defence and he saved a certain point with a wonderful catch in the last quarter.
He was fronted by a solid defence in which James Hackett, Barry O'Gorman, Thomas Maher, Brian Condon and Shane Sweeney played positive roles.
Up front Alan O'Gorman, Michael Phelan, Johnny English, Peter Hally and Michael English gave the Fethard defenders a busy afternoon.
Midfielders James Maher and Nigel Carrigan shared the honours with their counterparts Shane Walsh and P. J. Ahearne while for Fethard goalkeeper Paul Fitzgerald, Michael Quinlan, Michael Ryan, Shay Ryan, Tomas Keane, Stephen O'Donnell, Aidan Fitzgerald, John Paul Looby, Miceál Spillane and Brian Coen had fine performances.
Ballybacon / Grange were two points up after three minutes when Michael Phelan and Johnny English hit the target but Miceál Spillane had the Fethard crowd in full voice when he raced past the Ballybacon cover to fire an unstoppable shot past Brendan Cummins in the fourth minute.
Two minutes later it was level pegging as Alan O'Gorman pointed from play and six minutes later when Michael English was brought down in the Fethard square referee John Ryan from Boherlahan pointed to the penalty spot.
Brendan Cummins left his goal to shake the netting with a blistering shot and Alan O'Gorman pointed a Ballybacon free on fifteen minutes when the holders trailed 1-4 to 1-0 and were facing an uphill battle.
They got back on track with points from Kieran Treacy (11th minute free) and John Paul Looby and Kieran Treacy (10th minute free) to trail 1-4 to 1-3.
Another exchange of points between Peter Hally (B) and Aidan Fitzgerald (F) was followed by Kieran Treacy's third pointed free and the game was deadlocked on 1-5 apiece at the break.
Ballybacon were first to score again through Michael Phelan when play resumed and when Fethard's Jamie McDonald and Bally's Johnny English swapped points it was 1-8 to 1-6 with 38 minutes played.
Kieran Treacy cut the lead to a minimum with another pointed free on 39 minutes and then Brendan Cummins hit two magnificent points from frees deep inside his own half in the 42nd and 43rd minute to leave Fethard trailing by three points 1-10 to 1-7.
When Kieran Treacy responded with two pointed frees for Fethard a single point separated the sides and there was jubilation in the Fethard camp when Bran Coen levelled the scoring with a well-taken point on 55 minutes.
Ballybacon came again to regained the initiative with an Alan O'Gorman point in the 56th minute but a spirited Fethard side refused to surrender their title and free-taker Kieran Treacy saved the day when he floated over the equaliser with his seventh successful free on 61 minutes leaving both sides facing a re-run back in Clonmel,
Fethard: Kieran Treacy 07 (frees), Miceál Spillane 10, John Paul Looby, Aidan Fitzgerald, Jamie McCormack and Brian Coen 0-1 each.
Ballybacon / Grange: Brendan Cummins 1-2 (frees), Alan O'Gorman 0-3 frees, Michael Phelan, Johnny English, Peter Rally 0-2 each.
FETHARD: Paul Fitzgerald, Michael Quinlan, Michael Ryan. Shay Ryan, Tomas Keane, Stephen O'Donnell. Michael Ahearne, Shane Wash, P. J. Ahearne, John Paul Looby, Aidan Fitzgerald, Brian Coen, Kieran Treacy, Miceal Spillane, Michael Dillon. Subs: Cohn Allen for S. Walsh, Jamie McCormack for N. Dillon.
BALLYBACON GRANGE: Brendan Cummins, Barry O'Gorman, James Hackett. Thomas Maher, Brian Condon, Albert Keating. Shane Sweeney, Janie. Maher, Nigel Corrigan, Michael English. Michael Phelan, Peter Hally, Alan O'Gorman, Brian Lonergan, Johnny English. Subs: Pa Norton for N. Corrigan, Sean Maher for J. Maher, Martin Ryan for B. Lonergan.
Referee: John Ryan, Boherlahan.