O'Meara: Kiladangan's lack of form amid progression a cause for concern 

Their captain and county star Dillon Quirke collapsed here on the field of play and passed away that August night seven weekends ago. The life he lived most vibrantly when hurling in club and county colours on this field was no doubt remembered as they gathered together at full-time.
O'Meara: Kiladangan's lack of form amid progression a cause for concern 

BATTLING: Tommy Ryan, Clonoulty/Rossmore, under pressure from  Joe Gallagher, Kiladangan in the Tipperary SHC Quarter Finals.

Tipperary SHC quarter-final 

Kiladangan 1-14 Clonoulty-Rossmore 0-12 

Clonoulty-Rossmore overcame the trauma of a return to Semple Stadium but not the challenge of Kiladangan as their tragedy-marked campaign came to an end.

Their captain and county star Dillon Quirke collapsed here on the field of play and passed away that August night seven weekends ago. The life he lived most vibrantly when hurling in club and county colours on this field was no doubt remembered as they gathered together at full-time.

They will never stop honouring Dillon every way they know how – his team-mates gave some joy in knocking out Thurles Sarsfields to reach this quarter-final – and they lost no honour in defeat to the title favourites here when down to 14 men for the final 40 minutes; Aaron Ryan sent off after collecting two yellow cards.

Kiladangan have been slowly reassembling their best team across the summer while yet to show title-winning form. They failed to impress here but outscored Clonoulty by 1-12 to 0-5 when playing with the man advantage. Tadhg Gallagher finished it as a contest with his 56th-minute goal capping a fine display, ending with 1-3 to his name. They face form side Drom and Inch in the semi-final.

When asked if Kiladangan’s progression despite underwhelming form gave cause for optimism, Sean O’Meara, a member of the management team, replied: “It gives you cause for concern, at times.

“We’ve been saying all year, if we can put 60 minutes together of what we’re capable of at times, you’ll win a lot of games or be very much in contention come this time of the year. But we’re not doing that. We were comfortable winners today but not exactly shooting the lights out. We’ve a lot of work to do.” 

Clonoulty lined up without former Tipperary panellist Conor Hammersley, who was watching in from New York where he is studying on a Fulbright Scholarship, while free-taker Jack Ryan started with a heavily strapped right leg and limped through the first half until being withdrawn at half-time.

Still, after Bryan McLoughney’s opening point, the West Tipp side began much the faster. They scored the next five, four from Ryan, who was positioned in the middle third and shooting on sight of the target.

Kiladangan continued their erratic shooting displays of the group stages, hitting four wides in that period (they finished with 12), while they made an early change at corner-back; the yellow-carded Fergal Hayes hooked for John O’Meara.

Two huge points by Cathal Burke and Ryan, from inside his own half, made it 0-7 to 0-2 before Aaron Ryan’s red. From that free, Willie Connors gathered the ball and shot for goal, while falling to his knees, but Martin Sadlier produced a full-length diving save to keep Kiladangan out.

Kiladangan began to make use of their man advantage, with Alan Flynn playing the free-man role. McLoughney’s frees were supplemented by a Gallagher point after a winding run to cut the deficit to two.

Burke took over free-taking duties from Ryan to land the final score of the half, 0-8 to 0-5 at the break.

That was pared back to one within two minutes, a McLoughney free and Gallagher again, but their attacking play remained pockmarked by errors; overlaps wasted by a thrown pass and then by handling the ball three times.

When they did put moves together, Clonoulty’s goal lived an enchanted existence. Connors’ pull ran across the face of the goal and Billy Seymour cracked a shot off the woodwork.

Kiladangan’s dominance was growing and their spread of scorers began to improve with Sean Hayes, Paul Flynn, and Seymour pointing to give the North men their first lead in 40 minutes, 0-10 to 0-9.

Gallagher was full of running and after adding another point, he finished this contest, teed up by corner-back John O’Meara.

Clonoulty got the final two scores – Burke frees – but never convincingly threatened a goal despite some late frees being lobbed into the danger area.

Scorers for Kiladangan: T Gallagher (1-3); B McLoughney (0-5, 4 frees); P Flynn (0-2); D Sweeney, A Flynn, S Hayes, B Seymour (0-1 each).

Scorers for Clonoulty-Rossmore: Jack Ryan (0-5, 2 frees, 1 65); C Burke (0-4, 3 frees); A Ryan, M Ryan, C Quirke (0-1 each).

KILADANGAN: B Hogan; F Hayes, J Quigley, D Moran; D Sweeney, A Flynn (capt), D McGrath; T Gallagher, T O’Meara; S Hayes, J Gallagher, B Seymour; B McLoughney, P Flynn, W Connors.

Subs: J O’Meara for Hayes (12), D O’Meara for S Hayes (46), J Loughnane for T O’Meara (53), S Hayes for McLoughney (55), E Sharkey for Connors (60).

CLONOULTY-ROSSMORE: M Sadlier; R Heffernan, S O’Connor, James Ryan; E Heffernan, J O’Keeffe, C Quirke; T Ryan, R Doyle; A Ryan, M Ryan, D Slattery; S Ferncombe, C Burke, Jack Ryan.

Subs: T Butler for Jack Ryan (h-t inj), J Maher for M Ryan (48), P White for Doyle (52), J Hammersley for Ferncombe (55), P Carew for T Ryan (58).

Referee: M Kennedy (Newcastle).

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