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Saturday 6th December 2003

Ballybacon/Grange gain sweet revenge on 12-man Fethard

South Intermediate hurling Championship final replay

Ballybacon/Grange 3-8; Fethard 1-9

  • South Intermediate hurling Championship final replay
    Ballybacon/Grange gain sweet revenge on 12-man Fethard
    Ballybacon/Grange 3-8; Fethard 1-9

    Ballybacon/Grange, who were chasing five titles in-a-row last year when they fell to Fethard, got back on the winning trail when they came with a late surge to score 2-2 against opponents who were then down to twelve men in this competitive South Tipperary Martins Fruit and Veg intermediate hurling championship final replay at Clonmel Sportsfield on Sunday last.

    Fethard, who had a dream start with a penalty goal and a point inside two minutes, conceded a goal to the challengers but kept their shape to lead 1-5 to 1-4 at half time

    Within a minute of the restart the sides were dead locked but an improving Fethard were back in control of the game when they led 1-8 to 1-5 after 38 minutes

    Two minutes later disaster struck when midfielder John Paul Looby was sidelined by referee Seamus Roche for apparent dissent.

    It was 1-9 to 1-6 in favour 01 the reigning champions on 51 minutes when the game was turned on its head with the red carding of two more Fethard players, midfielder Aidan Fitzgerald and centre-forward P. J. Ahearne.

    Protesting Fethard supporters voiced their disapproval of the referee's decision and the high drama continued with the awarding of a 21 yards free to Ballybacon in the 53rd minute.

    All-Star goalkeeper Brendan Cummins made his journey to the opposite end of the field a profitable one when he beat the Fethard 7-man blanket goal line cover with an unstoppable shot in to tie the game 2-6 to 1-9.

    Ballybacon faced an unsettled 12-man Fethard in the closing stages and sealed victory when substitutes Declan Walsh and Martin Ryan snapped up 1-1 and 0-1 respectively to leave a disappointed Fethard team and their disillusioned supporters pondering and questioning the red card dismissals during the closing twenty minutes which they argued had cost them he match.

    For Ballybacon it was sweet revenge against the side that had denied them a historic five-in-a-row last year and what mattered to their supporters was that the O'Dwyer Cup was on its way back home. At the back they had another outstanding performance from Brendan Cummins who well supported by James Hackett, Barry O'Gorman, Shane Sweeney and Pa Norton while up front Thomas Maher, James Nugent, Sean Maher, Nigel Carrigan, Alan O'Gorman and substitutes Declan Walsh and Martin Ryan stood out.

    For a Fethard side who were well placed to make it two in-a-row until they had three players sent off, Michael Ryan, Shay Ryan, Tomas Keane, Stephen O'Donnell, Michael Ahearne, John Paul Looby, Aidan Fitzgerald, P. J. Ahearne, Colin Allen and Brian Coen were impressive performers.

    Holders Fethard got the perfect start when they led 1-1 after two minutes with a pointed free and a penalty goal from ace free-taker Colin Allen. Centre-back Shane Sweeney put Ballyporeen on the score sheet when he pointed a '65' in the 7th minute and when Alan O'Gorman pointed a 10th minute free it was double scores 1-1 to 0-2.

    Johnny English made it three for Ballybacon and they went in front when he hit the posts and the rebound was flashed to the Fethard net by Michael English after twelve minutes. Points from Cohn Allen (13th minute free) and Brian Coen (15th minute) left the game squared and P. J. Ahearne restored Fethard's advantage with a 17th minute point leaving it 1-4 to 1-3.

    Miceál Spillane widened the gap after twenty minutes and Shane Sweeney with his second pointed free left Ballybacon trailing 1-5 to 1-4 after thirty-three minutes play.

    The second-half was only seconds old when Alan O'Gorman pointed a free to tie the scoring and two minutes later Brendan Cummins saved a certain goal with a class save after John Paul Looby had taken a pass from Tomas Keane and had steered a low ball towards goal.

    Midfielder Aidan Fitzgerald restored Fethard's lead with a fine point in the 35th minute and with a brace of scores from Michael Dillon (36th minute) and Cohn Allen (38th minute free) they led' 18 to 15.

    In the 50th minute Shane Sweeney had pointed a Ballybacon '65'and a minute later Fethard were down to twelve men after P. J. Ahearne and Aidan Fitzgerald got their marching orders from referee Roche.

    Ballybacon drew level when Brendan Cummins flashed a 21-yards block buster to the net on 53 minutes to leave it 2-6 to 19.

    In the closing stages as the challenge of the 12-man Fethard faltered, substitutes Declan Walsh with 1-1 and Martin Ryan with an injury time point sealed victory for Ballybacon / Grange.

    Ballybacon / Grange: Declan Walsh 1-1, Michael English 1-0, Brendan Cummins 1-0 (free), Shane Sweeney 0-3 (frees), Alan O'Gorman 0-2 (0-1 free), Johnny English and Martin Ryan 0-1 each.

    Fethard: Colin Allen 1-3 (frees), Aidan Fitzgerald 02, Brian Coen, P. J. Ahearne, Miceál Spillane and Michael Dillon 0-I each.

    Ballybacon / Grange: Brendan Cummins, Barry O'Gorman, James Hackett, Brian Condon, Pa Norton, Shane Sweeney, Michael Phelan, Thomas Maher. James Nugent, Sean Maher, Albert Keating. Nigel Carrigan. Johnny English, Micheal English, Alan O'Gorman. Subs: Brian Lonergan for N. Carrigan. Gerry Ryan for A. O'Gorman, Martin Ryan for J. English, Declan Walsh for B. Lonergan.

    Fethard: Paul Fitzgerald, Michael Quinlan, Michael Ryan, Shay Ryan, Tomas Keane, Stephen O'Donnell, Michael Ahearne. John Paul Looby, Aidan Fitzgerald. Michael Dillon. P. J. Ahearne, Brian Coen, Jamie McCormack, Miceál Spillane, Colin Allen. Subs: Cian Maher for J. McCormack, Shane Walsh for Michael Dillon.

    Referee: Seamus Roche, Kilsheelan.

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