Ryan move does trick for Flannan’s

St Flannan’s3-7

Ryan exerted enormous influence in his new position, scoring a goal and three points as the Ennis college retained their title in emphatic fashion.

Despite the difficult wind, both sides served up a cracking contest, and there were a number of outstanding performers on both sides, auguring well for their future Harty Cup hopes.

The Clare side deserved their victory as they had the greater physical presence, so important at this level, and the greater stick-work, particularly in attack.

Both defences were excellent with Ciaran O'Doherty at full back and John Moloney at centre back particularly impressive for Flannans while Pierce Stapleton, Stephen Dorney and Kevin Moran impressed for the vanquished side.

With the strong wind to their backs in the first half Thurles needed to be at least six points to the good at the break to have any chance of dethroning the champions.

They got the perfect start with a Ciaran Cloghessy point after just 20 seconds but when John Conlon goaled for Flannans seconds later, the Tipp side had a real battle on their hands.

They failed to translate possession into scores, while in the few attacks which Flannans mounted, the victors were far more economical with limited possession, and a brace of points by Conor Tierney had them a goal in front after 20 minutes, at 1-3 to 0-3 with the margin reduced to two points at the break.

Surprisingly, it was Thurles who made the early running on the change over and a Pa Burke point left just the minimum between the sides after 35 minutes.

However, the switch of midfielder Ryan to full forward added a greater degree of penetration to the Flannans attack and it paid a handsome dividend in the 40th minute when he billowed the Thurles net from close range.

The floodgates began to open and a succession of points, three by Ryan and a superb effort by Conor Neylon, had Flannans clearly in the driving seat by the end of the third quarter.

Thurles tried everything to get back into the game and moved highly impressive centre back Kevin Moran to centre forward, but it left a big gap in the heart of the Tipp defence which Flannans exploited to the full.

Credit to Thurles for battling on bravely and the goal they so badly needed finally came in the 59th minutes when Pa Burke drove home from a 20-metre free; but it was very much a case of too little too late as St Flannans retained their title in convincing style.

Scorers St Flannans: C Ryan 1-3; C Tierney 0-3; J Conlon, C Neylon 1-0 each; Thurles CBS: P Burke 1-3 (frees); C Cloghessy, M Carr 0-1 each.

ST FLANNANS: M O'Halloran; M Tierney, C O'Doherty, S O'Regan; E Glynn, J Moloney, D Ryan; C Ryan, C Neylon; D Stack, C Madden, F O'Reilly; J Conlon, C Tierney, C O'Connell. Subs: D Russell for C O'Connell; P O'Leary for J Conlon.

THURLES CBS: D Cullen; P Kennedy, P Stapleton, S Dorney; A. Ryan, K Moran, M Gleeson; P Maher, M Cahill; JJ Burke, L Ryan, S Maher; C Cloghessy, N Kinnane, P Burke. Subs: M Carr for Kinnane; C Ryan for JJ Burke; J Kennedy for S Maher.

Referee: J Sexton (Limerick).

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