Nenagh rally stuns De La Salle

A STRONG second-half was enough to see Nenagh CBS upset the odds and surge past Waterford’s De La Salle in an entertaining Harty Cup quarter-final in Clonmel yesterday.

Backboned by players from familiar hurling strongholds such as Toomevara, Nenagh Eire Óg, Burgess (supplied six of the starting 15), Kilruane-McDonaghs, Templederry, Portroe and Kildangan, the north Tipperary college looked to be in trouble early on and they trailed by four points to one after just six minutes.

Gradually, however, Nenagh worked their way into the match, and a goal by wing-forward John O’Brien in the ninth minute, pouncing on the break from a Colm Canning centre, set them on their way. That score put Nenagh a point in front, and though the match would subsequently be tied on three occasions, the Tipp boys would never again trail.

There was only a point between the teams at the break, Nenagh leading 1-6 to 0-8, but already the signs were there that De La Salle were in trouble. Of their eight points, seven had come from the blade of the experienced Pauric Mahony, and all of those from placed balls, while Nenagh had a variety of scorers.

Ten minutes after the restart the match was tied, 1-7 to 0-10, but from there to the end Nenagh pulled away.

Up front they had more fire-power, Hogan always a threat on the edge of the square, wing-forward Jason Forde putting on something of a point-scoring exhibition (two superb sideline cuts, several frees from various distance and angles, including a couple from inside his own half), while county minor Brian Stapleton was the best midfielder on view. It was at the back, however, that Nenagh really won this match.

De La Salle have become something of a powerhouse in colleges hurling in recent years but yesterday, despite the best efforts of co-captains Pauric Mahony and Jake Dillon, along with Aidan Walsh, Eoin Madigan and the non-stop Eamonn Murphy, they fell to superior opposition, and in those final 20 minutes the Nenagh defence strangled the life from them. Full-back John O’Dwyer was in total command in the red-zone, fronted a very decisive keeper in David Reddan, but the half-back line was the real backbone of this win.

Nenagh’s own Daire Quinn in the centre, flanked by two from Burgess, Michael O’Flaherty and slick-wristed Peter Gill, formed an almost impregnable barrier; with Stapleton sweeping up the breaks, one De La Salle attack after another floundered, was beaten back. End of the road for this campaign then for the Waterford college, but no caste lost in defeat; onward and upward for Nenagh CBS, as they continue their quest for a first-ever Harty Cup title.

Scorers – Nenagh CBS: J. Forde 0-8 (0-4 frees, 0-2 s/l); J. O’Brien 1-1; E. Hogan 1-1; T. Gallagher, B. Stapleton (free), 0-1 each.

De La Salle: P. Mahony 0-8 (all frees); E. Murphy 0-2; C. Morris 0-1.

NENAGH CBS: D. Reddan; J. Peters, J. O’Dwyer, J. Loughnane; M. O’Flaherty, D. Quinn, P. Gill; B. Stapleton, C. Canning; J. Forde, K. Seymour, J. O’Brien; T. Gallagher, E. Hogan, M. Tuite.

Subs: N. Gleeson (Loughnane inj. 26); P. Butler (Canning 40); D. Walsh (Tuite 48); J. Minogue (Peters 60+2).

DE LA SALLE: P. Cooke; S. O’Keeffe, A. Walsh, D. Sutton; K. Walsh, J. Dillon (co-capt.), D. Kearns; C. Morris, E. Madigan; J. Byrne, E. Murphy, H. Barnes; R. Spencer, JP Purcell, P. Mahony (co-capt.).

Subs: B. Fitzgerald (Spencer 39); A. O’Sullivan (Purcell 48); J. O’Donoghue (Byrne 51); L. Flynn (Morris 53).

Referee: D. Copps (Ballyhea).

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