Saturday 10th May 2003
Fethard pull well clear in closing stages
Intermediate Hurling Championship
Fethard 3-15, Kilsheelan Kilcash 0-11
- The Martins Fruit and Veg sponsored Intermediate Hurling championship got into full swing in South Tipperary at the weekend with four games played in the Division.
The top of the bill game played in Clonmel between Fethard and Kilsheelan Kilcash was played in dreadful conditions due to heavy rain and a number of other games played earlier in the day. Both sides however made light of the conditions and did their best to provide an entertaining game.
There was little between the sides all through the first-half and even into midway through the second, however one always had the feeling that Fethard were the side with more hurling preparation done and were capable of scoring more freely from play, a deluge of scores in the last quarter confirmed that view and the Kilsheelan Kilcash defence were overwhelmed in the final stages of the game to give Fethard a very comfortable margin in the end.
Fethard's opening scores came from Ml. Dillon who was operating in the corner, he tapped over a point in the first minute, Sean Nugent replied for Kilsheelan with a pointed free. Ml. Dillon then rounded his marker 6 minutes into the game to score Fethard's first goal. Kilsheelan replied with a pointed free by Sean Nugent. Brian Coen punished the Kilsheelan defence for some silly fouling sending over three points from frees. Eoin Doyle had a fine point from play for Fethard and wing back Tomas Keane landed a '65' to stretch Fethard's lead. Kilsheelan tried hard to keep in touch but could only manage 2 further points from frees from the stick of their marksman Sean Nugent. Just before half time tension became heated after a minor melee started between a number of players, when play resumed Fethard were reduced to 14 when wing back MI. Ahearne was sidelined by referee Noel Cosgrove. The half-time score stood at Fethard 1-6 Kilsheelan Kilcash 0-4.
Patrons looked forward to an interesting second-half as Fethards reduced side battled to hold onto their lead, however as happens in so many games the extra man was no asset to Kilsheelan and in fact as the half progressed it appeared on many occasions as if Fethard had the extra man. The early stages of the second half followed the same pattern as the first, Ml. Dillon and Brian Coen had Fethard points, Sean Nugent kept his sides hopes alive with points from play and frees. Aidan Fitzgerald had a great point for Fethard from play and then his marker William Larkin landed a great long distance point from a free which should have lifted his side. Midway through the half the real turning point in this game came when Ml. Dillon grabbed a long delivery he rounded his marker and fired his second goal past Liam Robinson in the Kilsheelan goal. Fethard were away on a hack after this and the Kilsheelan defence was stretched to the limit as wave after wave of attack was launched on them.
Their problems were increased when with 10 minutes remaining midfielder Paddy Nugent was sidelined on a second yellow card. Fethard then dominated the closing stages piling on the agony as the game came to a close. Fethard made a good start to this championship, which should be one of the best championships in this grade seen in years. They looked strong in all departments and had the pace and scoring ability to trouble any side.
Kilsheelan on the other hand looked like a side who have little done as yet, they have a nice blend of youth and experience and with some solid work behind them could. yet be a force, they need more power up front and are to reliant on scores from frees. This will be a long campaign with nine rounds to play and it will be interesting to see how all the teams fare as the games progress.
FETHARD: P. Fitzgerald, S. Ryan, M. Ryan , P. Croke, T. Keane 0-3, S. O'Donnell, M. Ahearne, P. J. Ahearne, G. Byrne, C. Maher 0-1, A. Fitzgerald 01, B. Coen 1-5, M. Dillon 2-2, M. Spillane, K. Doyle 0-1. Sub: J. P. Looby 0-2.
KILSHEELAN / KILCASH: L. Robinson, M. Ryan, D. O'Connor, J. Cahill, K. Robinson, M. Larkin, W. Larkin 0-1, W. Ryan, P. Nugent, E. Sweeney, A. Walsh, T. Shields, J. Walsh, P. Larkin, S. Nugent 0-10. Subs: N. Cloona, A. Walsh.