Goals by Cian Darcy and Brian O’Meara for Kilruane rocked the champions but they showed their mettle as they hit six points in as many minutes to level (0-7 to 2-1) after 11 minutes. A Pa Bourke goal after 25 minutes helped them to an interval lead of 1-13 to 2-5.
Kilruane cut the lead to a point towards the end of the third quarter but any time they were under threat, Sars had the capacity to pull away and scored the last four points of the game for a comfortable win. An injury to county panellist Aidan McCormack which forced his withdrawal in the second-half will be a worry for the champions who started without injured county man Michael Cahill.
South champions Mullinahone got themselves back in the frame with a hard-earned 1-17 to 0-18 win over Burgess. In what was a duel between two accurate free-takers, Mullinahone’s Sean Curran notched six of his 10 points from frees while for Burgess’, Stephen Murray scored 13 points, nine from frees. Mullinahone led 0-8 to 0-7 at half-time but had fallen behind in the second-half when sub George Browning netted after 57 minutes to put them ahead 1-15 to 0-16. Burgess had Brian Hogan red-carded and Mullinahone held on for victory.
County man Donagh Maher got through his comeback game, welcome news for the Tipperary selectors.
Another Tipp star Michael Breen shot an equalising point for Ballina, who drew 2-17 to 3-14 with Portroe. Goals by Breen and Stephen O’Brien had Ballina ahead 2-4 to 0-5 after 20 minutes. Portroe then hit them with goals by Jimmy Creamer and Jack Moloney but Ballina were still ahead at the break, 2-9 to 2-7. John Sheedy’s goal after 49 minutes had Portroe in front, but in injury time Breen saved Ballina.
Two first-half goals by Seamus Callanan had Drom-Inch 2-9 to 0-7 ahead of Clonoulty-Rossmore but Conor Hammersley goaled for Clonoulty just before half-time. Drom were ahead 2-9 to 1-7 at the break but in the second-half there was really only one team in it as Clonoulty, with Timmy Hammersley deadly accurate off frees, out-pointed their opponents 17 to six for a 1-24 to 2-15 victory.
Loughmore-Castleiney and Borrisoleigh finished level at 1-16 each after an exciting finish to an encounter that only really came to life in the closing stages. The sides were level, 0-9 each, at half-time, Brendan Maher for Borris and John McGrath for Loughmore doing the bulk of the scoring from frees. Cian Hennessy’s goal for Loughmore after 56 minutes put them 1-15 to 0-16 in front but a minute later Conor Kenny netted for Borris. Kieran McGrath shot the equaliser for Loughmore and both sides had a chance each to win it in injury-time but a draw was a fair result.
Beaten finalists last year Kildangan suffered a surprise setback when losing to Upperchurch-Drombane 1-9 to 0-15. Dara Egan’s goal after 17 minutes should have lifted a struggling Kildangan side but Upperchurch, with James Barry leading by example, and Paul Ryan on song off frees, led at the break 0-9 to 1-2. Upperchurch held their nerve in the second-half for a win that brings them right back into the reckoning.
Killenaule had an exciting 2-20 to 1-19 win over Eire Óg, Anacarty after the sides had been level at half-time 1-7 to 0-10. This leaves Killenaule top of this group. Eire Óg, Nenagh, with former Offaly star Brian Whelahan installed as new manager, proved far too strong for Carrick Swans, running out 6-31 to 1-13 winners, having led 2-15 to 0-8 at half time thanks to goals from Andrew Coffey and Mikey Heffernan. A hat-trick of goals from Jake Morris and another from Paddy Murphy followed in the second-half.
In the O Riain Cup there were wins for Toomevara, Holycross-Ballycahill, Tempederry and Roscrea over Ballingarry, Knockavilla Kickhams, Moycarkey Borris and last year’s intermediate champions, Newport, respectively, while J K Brackens came from behind to level with their neighbours, Clonakenny 1-17 to 0-20.
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