Fintan O’Toole reports from Semple Stadium
A FIRST FINAL place since 2011 confirmed and the chance to end a county senior title wait that has dragged on since 1997.
It was a good afternoon’s work for Clonoulty-Rossmore in the first game in the Tipperary senior hurling semi-final double-header today, a merited victory over Toomevara in a game where they were in front from pillar to post.
The West Tipperary outfit were ahead by five points after the opening quarter, in front by the same margin at the break and had six points to spare at the finish. They put a healthy total on the scoreboard with seven different players contributing to their overall 0-19 tally.
Timmy Hammersley top scored with 0-8 while his younger brother Conor Hammersley, a powerful influence at midfield, Cathal Bourke, Dillon Quirke and Tom Butler all shone in the scoring stakes as well. Further back the steadying influence of Ciaran Quirke and captain John O’Keeffe gave them a strong spine in defence.
Toomevara trailed 0-10 to 0-5 at the interval with the Tommy Dunne coached side failing to score until the 19th minute and their entire first-half contribution was supplied by Mark McCarthy, featuring a trio of sideline cuts and a pair of frees.
It was a tribute to McCarthy’s expertise from the sideline but spoke volumes for the difficulties Toomevara were experiencing in open play.
When they finally got off the mark from play courtesy of a Jack Delaney score in the 40th minute, Clonoulty countered immediately with a Timmy Hammersley free as they had stretched 0-15 to 0-7 clear.
Toomevara, hit by a hammer blow early on with the loss of influential defender Jason Ryan with a wrist injury, were struggling but got a vital tonic in the 42nd minute when former county senior David Young, sprung from the bench early on, fired home a goal.
When he clipped over a 45th minute point and McCarthy tapped over a free, Toomevara had cut the gap to four. Young almost notched a second goal as well but another piledriver hit the side-netting while they had been repelled in the opening period as well by a smart block from Clonoulty’s Declan O’Dwyer to thwart McCarthy.
Hanging on to a 0-17 to 1-10 advantage, Clonoulty closed the game out in a clinical fashion. They protected their goalmouth to stop the leakage of further scores while Bourke and Butler clipped over points.
Victory was assured before Johnny Ryan’s final whistle sounded. The memories of final losses in 2010 and 2011 still burn brightly for Clonoulty, they’ll get a chance to make amends in a fortnight.
Scorers for Clonoulty-Rossmore: Timmy Hammersley 0-8 (0-5f, 0-1 ’65), Conor Hammersley, Tom Butler 0-3 each, Cathal Bourke, Dillon Quirke 0-2 each, Paudie White 0-1.
Scorers for Toomevara: Mark McCarthy 0-7 (0-4f, 0-3 sideline), Davy Young 1-1, Jack Delaney 0-2.
1. Declan O’Dwyer
2. Joey O’Keeffe
3. Ciaran Quirke
23. Ronan Heffernan
5. Sean O’Connor
6. John O’Keeffe
7. Enda Heffernan
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4. James Ryan
9. Conor Hammersley
10. Cathal Bourke
11. Dillon Quirke
12. Paudie White
13. Fiachra O’Keeffe
14. Timmy Hammersley
15. Tom Butler
17. Thomas Butler for White (55)
1. Darren Cuddihy
2. Cathal Kennedy
3. Andrew Ryan
4. Liam Ryan
5. Jake Ryan
6. Jason Ryan
7. Darren Delaney
8. Josh McCarthy
9. Paul Ryan
10. Conor O’Meara
11. Joey McLoughney
12. Benny Dunne
13. Kevin McCarthy
14. Mark McCarthy
15. Jack Delaney
21. Colm Canning for Jason Ryan (inj) (8)
19. David Young for Josh McCarthy (23)
20. Sean Flaherty for O’Meara (45)
18. Eoin Grace for Canning (59)
Referee: Johnny Ryan (Boherlahan-Dualla)
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