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Saturday 30th April 2003

Cronin stars as Moyle Rovers get their season back on course

South Senior Football Semifinal

Moyle Rovers 1-13, Fethard 0-8

  • It was sweet pay-back time for recent defeats by Fethard when a confident and well-focussed Moyle Rovers stripped their arch rivals and the fancied holders of their championship crown with this comprehensive victory in their South Tipperary Clonmel Oil SFC semi-final at Kilsheelan on Saturday evening.

    At the end of the opening 30 minutes of fast open football the sides were deadlocked on six points apiece with Rovers coming from behind to draw level with a point from T.J. Wall. Star of the show in the opening half was Moyle Rovers full-back, Liam Cronin who had a blinder, scooping up everything in front of goal and clearing his lines effectively with a five-star performance.

    Moyle Rovers took the lead for the first time when Declan Browne pointed a free from just inside the halfway line four minutes into the second half and then the Fethard challenge folded. The turning point then came in the 38th minute when left half-forward John Shanahan took a pass from Niall Fitzgerald and cut through the Fethard defence for a well-taken goal and after that it was one-way scoring traffic or almost.

    It was anybody's game at halftime but Fethard then failed to get on the second half score sheet until the 42nd minute when Brian Coen pointed a free making it 1-8 to 0-7. Fethard now needed a goal to lift their heads but Rovers surged into an eight-point lead with points from T.J. Wall (2), Declan Browne and substitute, Brian Mulvihill to lead 1-12 to 0-7. They were now in complete control and enjoying an easy passage to the divisional final that nobody could have predicted.

    Fethard who had brought in a number of subs to stop the rot had their second point of the second half in the closing minutes when Conor McCarthy pointed another free but at this stage they had surrendered their crown to a determined, well-focussed Rovers side who must now be firm favourites to win back the O'Shea Cup and take their place in the race for county championship glory.

    The football was open, fast and furious from the start but for all the sweeping action up and down the field there was not a lot of scores and Declan Browne did not raise a flag until he took a pass from John Shanahan to record a point from play in the 28th minutes.

    He then went on to play a crucial role in Rovers' well-deserved victory sharing the scoring honours with T.J. Wall who also landed five points and John Shanahan who grabbed the decisive match-winning goal.

    Apart from this trip Rovers also had outstanding performance from star defender Liam Cronin, Robbie Boland, Niall Fitzgerald, Garry Moore, Mick Fitzpatrick and substitute Brian Mulvihill who hit a point when he joined the action.

    Fethard who were first to score were never headed in the first half and were well in contention at the break. They faded from the scene after Browne's two early points and Shanahan's goal and failed to score from play in the second half. They introduced a number of substitutes in an effort to get their game together and their attack moving but nothing was right for them.

    Damien Byrne, Michael Ahearn, Cian Maher, Aidan Fitzgerald, Brian Coen and Michael Dillon tried hard but they din not have an answer this time out for a highly motivated Rovers side bristling with confidence and seeking revenge for recent humiliating defeats.

    Brian Coen had the opening point for Fethard after two minutes and T.J. Wall tied the scoring with a great pointed free from an impossible angle a minute later. Fethard went two up with points from Michael Dillon and Miceál Spillane in the 5th and 6th minutes and a move started by Declan Browne ended with T.J. Wall scoring again for Rovers on 7 minutes.

    Fethard then went three clear with unanswered points from midfielder, P.J. Ahearn and Aidan Fitzgerald and after fifteen minutes Garry Moore pointed for Rovers leaving it 0-5 to 0-3.

    Wing-back James Williams then pulled one back for Rovers but Fethard went two up when Brian Coen pointed a free in the 27th minute. Declan Browne rallied Rovers with a point set up for him by John Shanahan in the 28th minute and T.J. Wall brought the sides level when he slotted over the equaliser in the 30th minute leaving it 0-6 apiece at the break.

    Declan Browne opened the second half scoring with a classy pointed free in the 34th minute and four minutes further on John Shanahan turned the game in favour of Rovers when he found a gap in the Fethard defence to make it 1-7 to 0-6.

    A foul on Shanahan produced a clever one-two between Declan Browne and T.J. Wall which ended with another Browne point on 41 minutes and a minute later Fethard had their first score when Brian Coen pointed a free after being fouled. T.J. Wall then landed two points for Rovers and when Declan Browne pointed another free in the 51st minute it was 1-11 to 0-7.

    Substitute Brian Mulvihill stretched Rovers lead on 56 minutes and the scoring ended with Conor McCarthy and Declan Browne swapping frees just before the final whistle.

    Moyle Rovers: Declan Browne 0-5 (0-3 frees), T.J. Wall 0-5 (0-1 free), John Shanahan 1-0, Garry Moore, James Williams and Brian Mulvihill 0-1 each.

    Fethard: Brian Coen 0-3 (frees), Michael Dillon, Miceál Spillane, P.J. Ahearn, Aidan Fitzgerald and Conor McCarthy 0-1 each.

    Moyle Rovers: Ian Browne, Noel Wall, Liam Cronin, John McGrath, Ger McCarthy, Robbie Boland, James Williams, Niall Fitzgerald, Garry Moore, Paudie Foley, Mick Fitzpatrick, John Shanahan, Ronan Desmond, T.J. Wall, Declan Browne. Subs: Brian Mulvihill for R. Desmond, Paul Shanahan for T.J. Wall, Billy Hunt for P. Foley and Conor Cooney for G. Moore.

    Fethard: Thomas Gahan, Damien Byrne, Michael Ahearne, Thomas Anglim, Thomas Keane, Cian Maher, Stephen O'Donnell, Aidan Fitzgerald, P.J. Ahearne, Karl Maher, Miceál Spillane, John Paul Looby, Willie Morrissey, Brian Coen, Michael Dillon. Subs: Michael Quinlan for P.J. Ahearne, Conor McCarthy for Karl Maher, Jimmy O'Meara for T. Keane, Kenneth Byrne for M. Spillane and Alan Phelan for S. O'Donnell.

    Referee: Paddy Russell, Emly.


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