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Saturday 27th September 2003

Hickey's late points earn Cahir deserved draw with Fethard

County Senior Football Semifinal

Cahir 1-11, Fethard 1-11

  • South Tipperary champions, Cahir kept their hopes of a championship double alive when two late points by full-forward, Benny Hickey gave them a share of the spoils and a replay with Fethard after this highly competitive Tipperary Credit Unions SFC semi-final ended in deadlock at Clonmel Sportsfield on Sunday.

    With Fethard leading 1-6 to 1-4 at halftime the game between two evenly matched sides could not be closer but Fethard had the better start in the second half and were leading 1-8 to 1-5 after 37 minutes.

    Cahir's sharpshooters Benny Hickey and Padraig Whelan kept them in touch with Hickey having the score of the game when he fired over a sideline free from a difficult angle on 41 minutes leaving his side one point adrift.

    Cahir then drew level on 1-8 apiece with a Gary Morrison point and Fethard had their advantage restored with two points from Brian Coen and Glen Burke. Another rousing successful sideline free from Hickey left a single point separating the sides and Fethard then seemed to have to got the insurance point they needed when Brian Coen landed his fifth pointed free in the 52nd minute leaving Cahir trailing 1-11 to 1-9.

    Fethard failed to produce the finish they needed to see off the Cahir challenge and instead the divisional champion staged a fiery grandstand finish that saw them draw level with two rousing points from Cahir's "Man of the Match" Benny Hickey.

    The general feeling after the game was that a draw was a fair result for two committed sporting teams that deserved another crack at making it to the county final.

    Cahir had the opening score after five minutes when Hickey pointed a free and Fethard then took the lead when a Brian Coen free was quickly followed by a P.J. Aherne point from play.

    Corner-forward Padraig Whelan squared the game with an 11th minute point and midfielder Aherne had his second point for Fethard when he took a pass from his partner, Aidan Fitzgerald in the 12th minute.

    A slick move between Hickey, Whelan andMark Costigan put Costigan through for the opening goal for Cahir in the 13th minute and when Whelan added a point in the next minute they had moved into a 1-3 to 0-3 lead.

    They widened the gap when Whelan pointed a free for a foul on James McGrath on 15 minutes but this was to be their last score of the first half.

    Jimmy O'Meara took a pass from Coen to leave Costigan's goal separating the sides on 20 minutes and after Coen landed another free on 25 minutes it was 1-4 to 0-5. Fethard finished the first half in style when Jimmy O'Meara put Michael Dillon through for a crucial 26th minutes goal leaving the Blues leading by a single point at the halfway stage.

    The second half began with Brian Enright saving a blockbuster from Fethard's John Paul Looby at the expense of a "45" which Aidan Fitzgerald pointed and when Michael Dillon also hit the target after 35 minutes it was 1-7 to 1-4.

    Benny Hickey and Brian Coen (free) then exchanged scores and when Cahir's Padraig Whelan had a pointed free on 39 minutes it was 1-8 to 1-6

    Hickey then kicked his super sideline free in the 41st minute and two minutes later when Gary Morrison took a pass from the Cahir captain, Michael Tarrant to score the game was deadlocked on 1-8 apiece.

    Fethard then took up the running with crucial points from Coen (46th minute free) and Glen Burke (48th minute) and were poised for victory. Cahir now lifted their the game and clawed their way back at with another superb sideline free from Hickey leaving one point the separating the sides again.

    A well-struck Coen free on 52 at minutes left Cahir facing defeat in but as Fethard faltered in the run in when they rallied and Hickey became the hero of the hour when he saved the day with a pointed free on 55 minutes and then fired over the equaliser after taking a fine pass from Padraig Whelan in the 58th as minute to leave the contest squared on 1-11 apiece.

    Benny Hickey was undoubtedly Cahir's star performer but they had other heroes in David O'Gorman, Padraig Hyland, Paul Frazer, Robbie Costigan, Paddy O'Flaherty, Michael Tarrant, James Hyland, Gary Morrison, Padraig Whelan and Mark Costigan.

    Fethard who had every chance to win this game but faltered towards the finish allowing Cahir to get back in for a share of the spoils, had fine performances from Michael Aherne, Michael Quinlan, Tomás Keane, Aidan Fitzgerald, P.J. Aherne, Brian Coen, Michael Dillon, Jimmy O'Meara and substitute Glen Burke.
    Cahir: Benny Hickey 0-6 (0-4 frees), Padraig Whelan 0-4 (0-2 frees), Mark Costigan 1-0, Gary Morrison 0-1.

    Fethard: Brian Coen 0-5 (frees), Michael Dillon 1-1, P. J. Aherne 0-2, Jimmy O'Meara, Aidan Fitzgerald ('45') and Glen Burke 0-1 each.

    Cahir: Brian Enright, Damien Lonergan, David O'Gorman, Padraig Hyland, Robbie Costigan, Paul Frazer Paddy O'Flaherty, Michael Tarrant, James Hyland, Gavin Berry, Gary Morrison, James McGrath, Padraig Whelan, Benny Hickey, Mark Costigan.) Subs: Ger Leahy, G. Barry. Gerald O'Gorman for J. McGrath.

    Fethard: Paul Fitzgerald, Damien Byrne, Michael Aherne, Stephen O'Donnell, Tomás Keane, Michael Quinlan, Cian Maher, Aiden Fitzgerald, P.J. Aherne, Jimmy O'Meara, Willie Morrissey, Michael Spillane, Michael Dillon, Brian Coen, John Paul Looby. Subs: Glen Burke for W. Morrissey, Thomas Anglim for S. O'Donnell, Conor McCarthy for J. O'Meara.

    Referee: Paddy Russell, Emly.


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