A goal five minutes into injury time by Tipperary and Borrisoleigh teenage star James (“JD”) Devaney gave Our Lady’s Templemore the narrowest of victories over Thurles CBS in the Tipperary Derby in the Dr Harty Cup, Munster Colleges senior hurling championship, at The Ragg.
It was a spectacular strike by Devaney, who had been well-policed throughout the game but when the opportunity presented itself, and the need was greatest, he shrugged off two tackles to blast home the decisive goal for his side who were trailing by two points at the time.
It would have been an injustice for Templemore to lose as they had made the running almost all the way but in a thrilling encounter between two well-matched sides Thurles looked to have clinched their place in the semi-final when they forged ahead by two points in injury time having drawn level at the end of ordinary time.
A huge attendance saw Templemore have the better of the first half but leading only by 0-11 to 0-10 in a fiercely contested encounter. Templemore led 0-5 to 0-2 after thirteen minutes with composed hurling from their halfback line, particularly Kevin Maher at number six, but Thurles finished the half strongly to hit the front, 0-10 to 0-9, with points from Max Hackett, Eoin Purcell and Paddy Creedon by 28minutes. However, a Kevin Maher free and an Eddie Ryan point in injury time sent Templemore in at the break leading 0-11 to 0-10.
A gripping second half saw Templemore hang on to their advantage to the hour mark. At one stage they were three points clear but a gritty Thurles side kept on their heels.
Templemore were two clear after 57 minutes when Devon Ryan pointed two Thurles frees to level by the end of the hour.
A great point by fullback Frank Hanafin nudged Thurles ahead and when sub Stephen Ferncombe added another after 63 minutes, the momentum was with the CBS boys and it looked as though Thurles would win.
But a contest which had given so much throughout still had more to offer – a long delivery out of defence by Kevin Maher was won by “JD” Devaney who shrugged off two tackles before blasting low to the net for the lead for Templemore after 65 minutes.
Thurles still did not give up and subsequently had two chances to level but both were off target as Templemore marched into the last four.
Both Devaney and Kevin Maher had big parts to play in Borrisoleigh’s All-Ireland club senior hurling semi-final win over St Thomas’ of Galway last Sunday and Maher was again hugely influential with Devaney grabbing the winning goal. Lorcan Roche, Eddie Ryan, Kenny Ryan, and Cian O Dwyer were others to star for the winners who will fancy their chances of further progress after this epic win.
The Thurles boys were devastated at being caught so late when victory was in their grasp but they deserve full credit for their part in a great contest. A few lapses when in scoring positions was to cost them dearly at the finish but Frank Hanafin, James Armstrong, Max Hackett, Jack Morrissey, Devon Ryan and Eoin Purcell all turned in top-notch performances.
– J Devaney (1-4,0-4fs), K Maher (0-3,3fs) E Ryan(0-3), K Ryan, C McCormack(0-2 each), T Cahill, J Campion, J Corcoran(0-1 each);
– D Ryan( 0-9,8fs), M Hackett(0-3), E Purcell(0-2), F Hanafin, P Creedon, J Leamy, J Morrissey, S Ferncombe(0-1 each);
– P Hassett (Rathdowney); S Lowe(Moyne), L Roche(J K Brackens), H Fogarty( Thurles Sarsfields); J Corcoran( J K B), K Maher (Borrisoleigh), C O Dwyer(Clonakenny); C Cadell( J K B), J Campion(Drom); C McCormack(Loughmore), K Ryan(Toomevara), E Ryan(Borrisoileigh); J Devaney(Borrisoliegh), T Cahill(Drom), P
B Stapleton(Drom) for Cahill,(50mins), D Kennedy(Drom) for Kinnane(57 mins);
- J O Dwyer(Clonoulty); M P O Dwyer(Boherlahan), F Hanafin(Holycross), J Armstrong(Sarsfields); K Ryan(Upperchurch), K Hayes(Moycarkey), C Lloyd(Moyne); M Hackett(Moycarkey), J Morrissey(do); J Leamy(Golden), D Ryan(Knockavilla), E Purcell(Sarsfields); P Creedon(do), D Flood(Moycarkley), J Lee(Roscrea);
J Lillis(Drom) for Lee(43mins), S Ferncombe (Holycross) for Leamy(49mins), K Larkin(Moyne) for Flood(52mins), L Shanahan(Upperchurch) for Lloyd(54mins), P Ryan(Upperchurch) for Creedon(60mins)
M Sexton, Limerick;