Adare dig deep to repel Murroe/Boher

ADARE’S qualification for their sixth Limerick senior hurling final this decade was far from impressive in the Gaelic Grounds yesterday.

But for wasting chances, Murroe/Boher might well have ended their reign. Instead, when their title looked in jeopardy entering the last five minutes, Adare showed character to pull away with four unanswered points.

As it turned out, the good start which the holders made, going 1-3 clear after nine minutes, proved invaluable. With Murroe/Boher finding it difficult to score, Adare managed to stay in front until 12 minutes from the end.

Adare could thank their captain and former county player Donncha Sheehan for showing the way at the beginning, with a terrific goal in the fifth minute. Followed quickly by the first of six scores from placed balls from 17-year-old centre-forward Declan Hannon, it enabled them to settle quickly. They were more composed all over the field and especially comfortable in defence, where Murroe/Boher’s tactic of using two forwards inside (giving Patrick Tobin a roving commission) didn’t bring any real advantage.

Up front, the champions found it less difficult to get scores and were leading by seven points before Murroe/Boher showed a steady improvement in the 10 minutes before half-time.

This coincided with Seanie Tobin starting to make headway against Mark Foley and Seamus Hickey confirming his improvement with their first score from play. The net effect was that Kevin Tobin’s reliability from frees had them in a more respectable position at half-time, 1-7 to 0-6.

Notably, while conceding two frees to Hannon inside the opening six minutes of the second half, Murroe/Boher played the better hurling over the next 15 minutes. Seanie Tobin’s speed and ball control had Mark Foley in even bigger trouble (resulting in him later swapping positions with corner-back Stephen Lavin) and he proved his value to the team with a superb goal in the 41st minute.

It marked a turning point in terms of the champions coming under real pressure for the first time in the game. In the circumstances, they were fortunate that full-back John Paul Healy saved a certain goal shortly afterwards.

Immediately afterwards, Seamus Hickey put over his second point of the game to boost their challenge further. But, unfortunately for them Seanie Tobin had two wides – and Kevin Tobin missed another chance – before midfielder James Butler levelled scores in the 51st minute.

Within two minutes Adare were back in the lead, thanks to a Diarmuid Sexton point, but a Kevin Tobin free in the 54th minute gave Murroe/Boher hope. However, substitute Conor Fitzgerald showed his experience to get a lead point for Adare from far out on the right wing a minute later, while Hannon coolly put over a 65, before Fitzgerald and Diarmuid Sexton chipped in to send Adare to another final.

Scorers for Adare: D. Hannon 0-6 (0-5 frees, 0-1 ‘65); D. Sheehan 1-1; D. Sexton 0-3; C. Fitzgerald 0-2; L. Costello and A. O’Connell 0-1 each.

Scorers for Murroe/Boher: K. Tobin 0-6 frees; S. Tobin 1-1; S. Hickey 0-2; J. Butler 0-1.

ADARE: T. Houlihan; S. O’Connell, J.P. Healy, S. Lavin; R. Kennedy, M. Foley, P. Keane; W. McNamara, A. O’Rahilly; B. Foley, D. Hannon, D. Sexton; L. Costello, A. O’Connell, D. Sheehan (c). Sub: C. Fitzgerald for B. Foley (51st).

MURROE-BOHER: W. Tobin; M. Kett, B. Nolan, A. Hickey; J. Dervan, J. O’Connor, W. Walsh; J. Butler, S. Hickey; D. Kett, S. Tobin, K. Tobin (capt.); M. Ryan, P. McNamara, P. Tobin. Subs: A. Kirby for A. Hickey (28th minute); D. Dunlea for D. Kett (58 th).

Referee: M. Meade (Ballylanders).

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