O’Brien and Hanley goals prove crucial as Aherlow advance to final

2006 champions Aherlow advanced to the Tipperary SFC final after this facile win at a chilly Semple Stadium yesterday.

Corner forwards Bernard O’Brien and Thomas Hanley scored the second-half goals for Aherlow, managed by former Limerick and Laois senior boss Liam Kearns, after the West divisional representatives led 0-4 to 0-2 at half-time.

The second of yesterday’s semi-finals, played before an official attendance of 1,155, was lacking in quality but Aherlow were inspired from midfield by the cool head of Stuart Moloney, who dictated proceedings throughout.

At full-forward, Tipp senior star Barry Grogan picked off three points, including two from placed balls, and was involved in creating other scores for his fellow attackers.

Just like Killenaule in the first game, Loughmore-Castleiney failed to register a point from play, with all four of their scores successfully converted frees.

Tipp senior hurler Micheal Webster worked hard in attack for a Loughmore team containing Young Hurler of the Year nominee Noel McGrath but Aherlow were a class apart and advance to the final for the first time since 2006.

Frees from James Egan and Webster were the total of Loughmore’s first half efforts but Aherlow were only marginally better, with Tommy Russell, Moloney, Grogan and sub Conor O’Shea on target from play.

Aherlow suffered an early blow when Seamus Grogan, brother of Barry, was forced off injured but 2004 winners Loughmore were unable to capitalise as O’Shea proved an able replacement.

Two minutes into the second half, Egan cut the deficit back to a point but that was as good as it got for Loughmore, who were outscored by 2-4 to 0-2 after half-time. Disaster struck for Loughmore in the 42nd minute when goalkeeper Aidan McGrath spilled Barry Grogan’s delivery, allowing Hanley to net from close range.

That goal opened up a 1-7 to 0-3 lead for Aherlow and despite playing against the breeze, they added a second goal midway through the half when O’Brien netted following good work by Tipp senior defender Ciaran McDonald.

Scorers for Aherlow: B O’Brien, T Hanley 1-0 each, B Grogan 0-3 (1f, 1 45), C O’Shea 0-2, T Russell, L Coskeran, S Moloney 0-1 each.

Scorers for Loughmore-Castleiney: J Egan 0-3f, M Webster 0-1f.

AHERLOW: S Leonard; S Mullins, J Hennessy, M O’Brien; M Hanley, C McDonald, T Russell; C Dillon, S Moloney; S Grogan, D Peters, L Coskeran; B O’Brien, B Grogan, T Hanley.

Subs: C O’Shea for S Grogan (inj, 10), D O’Shea for M O’Brien (57), C McDonald for B O’Brien (inj, 57), F Leonard for C O’Shea (60+1).

LOUGHMORE-CASTLEINEY: A McGrath; G Sweeney, D Kennedy, T Long; D Brennan, T King, E Connolly; P Brennan, D Bourke; J Egan, N McGrath, L Treacy; E Sweeney, M Webster, C Hennessy.

Subs: M Gleeson for E Sweeney (44), M Brennan for Hennessy (50), J Scully for P Brennan (50).

Referee: D O’Mahony (Ardfinnan).

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