A pointed free by Joey McLoughney deep in injury-time earned Toomevara a deserved 1-18 to 0-21 draw against county and provincial champions Borris-Ileigh in a first round Tipperary SHC thriller at Nenagh yesterday.
Little separated these sides all the way. Toome led 0-7 to 0-6 at the first water break but Borris were 0-11 to 0-10 up at the interval. Borris had pushed four points clear when Mark McCarthy goaled for Toome after 41 minutes and by the second water break Toome were 1-15 to 0-17 ahead. Brendan Maher levelled and Gerry Kelly put Borris ahead as the game went into injury-time but Joey McLoughney’s sixth point of the day meant a share of the spoils.
Thurles Sarsfields outscored Kilruane MacDonaghs 1-8 to 0-1 in a storming last quarter at Holycross to win by 1-19 to 1-13. After Sarsfields led 0-5 to 0-3 at the first break, Kilruane took over. A Kian O Kelly goal after 19 minutes was the key score as they forged ahead 1-7 to 0-8 at half-time. Kilruane continued to have the edge and were 1-12 to 0-11 clear at the next break, but in the closing quarter Sarsfields blitzed them with seven unanswered points to go 0-18 to 1-12 ahead. Denis Maher’s injury-time goal set the seal on the Thurles win in a game which marked the welcome return of Sarsfields’ county player Billy McCarthy — sidelined all last year by a serious knee injury — who contributed two points to the winners’ tally.
Kiladangan’s Bryan McLoughney pointed a free six minutes into injury-time to earn last year’s beaten finalists a draw (1-20 to 3-14) with newly promoted O Riain Cup winners J K Brackens at Semple Stadium. Kiladangan dominated early on, going 0-9 to 0-3 clear by the water break, but an Andrew Ormonde goal after 17 minutes roused J K Brackens. Dan O Meara netted for Kiladangan for a 1-11 to 1-5 lead but a minute later Lyndon Fairbrother goaled for Brackens who were 2-6 to 1-11 adrift at the break. Nothing changed in the third quarter. Then a Jordan Moloney goal followed by a Shane Scully point nudged Brackens ahead as the game went into injury-time. Justice was done when McLoughney levelled from a free for a relieved Kiladangan after 66 minutes.
Loughmore-Castleiney were comfortable 1-23 to 0-17 winners over Moycarkey-Borris The winners were 0-12 to 0-8 ahead at the break and though Moycarkey kept after them, a goal by Joey Nyland at the three quarter stage made the win safe for Loughmore who were boosted by a fine display by young Conor McGrath who scored four points from play.
Drom-Inch had a close call against Roscrea before emerging 2-18 to 2-16 winners at Templemore. Outsiders Roscrea rocked Drom with an Evan Fitzpatrick goal after 10 minutes for a 1-4 to 0-2 lead and they were still ahead 1-10 to 0-11 at the break. A second Roscrea goal by Luke Cashin looked to have Drom in real trouble but goals by David Butler and another from a mishit free by Seamus Callanan saw Drom swoop for victory.
Clonoulty-Rossmore, winners in 2018, were in control all the way as they defeated West rivals Éire Óg Anacarty 2-18 to 0-16. Éire Óg lost Brian Fox and Ronan O Brien to first-half injuries and Cathal Bourke’s goal after seven minutes helped Clonoulty to an interval lead of 1-9 to 0-8. Fiachra O'Keeffe notched their second goal two minutes after resuming and from there on there was going to be only one result. Cathal Bourke with 1-8 was Clonoulty’s top marksman, while Aidan Griffin shot nine points for the losers.
A strong finish by Upperchurch-Drombane brought them a 0-21 to 0-16 win over Burgess. For much of the way this was an even contest. Upperchurch were 0-9 to 0-7 in front at halfway but then Burgess, with Stephen Murray to the fore, went three points clear (0-14 to 0-11). The Church came good in the last quarter with Gavin Ryan, Michael Lee and Padraig Greene on song, and outpointed their rivals ten points to two in the closing quarter for a good win.
Nenagh Éire Óg’s Jake Morris scored nine points as his side swept to a comprehensive 1-19 to 0-11 win over Holycross-Ballycahill at Semple Stadium. Nenagh made all the running, led 0-6 to 0-4 at the water break, and a Mikey Heffernan goal after 26 minutes gave them an interval advantage of 1-10 to 0-6. With Morris deadly accurate from frees they continued to rule the roost in the second half. The only blot on their copybook was the red-carding of James Mackey after 48 minutes. Mikey Heffeernan and Hugh Moloney also had big games for Nenagh with Dara Woods (0-6) the main scoring threat for Holycross.