Tipperary SFC: Upperchurch knock out defending champions Loughmore

Upperchurch-Drombane survived a late rally to knock holders and favourites Loughmore-Castleiney out and reach the final of the Tipperary senior football championship
Tipperary SFC: Upperchurch knock out defending champions Loughmore

FINAL BOUND: Upperchurch-Drombane players Ger Grant, left, Padraig Greene and Conor Fahey celebrate after their side's victory in the Tipperary County Senior Football Championship Semi-Final at Golden Kilfeacle GAA Club in Tipperary. Pic: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

Tipperary senior Football semi-final 

Upperchurch-Drombane 1-12 Loughmore-Castleiney 1-11

Upperchurch-Drombane survived a late rally to knock holders and favourites Loughmore-Castleiney out of the Tipperary senior football championship with a thrilling one point win in the semi-final at Golden on Sunday.

It is Upperchurch’s first time reaching the final and they also contest the county senior hurling semi-final against Kilruane MacDonaghs next weekend. 

They fully deserved to win and made the running most of the way. They opened well and with the Shanahan brothers, Paul and Luke, a threat in attack they went 0-5 to 0-3 clear after 20 minutes.

Loughmore were hit by injuries to key players, John McGrath, John Ryan, and John Meagher but with Liam McGrath, who shot four points, three from frees, and Noel McGrath showing the way they gradually came into the game. However, Upperchurch still held the advantage at the break , 0-8 to 0-6.

Upperchurch resumed in lively fashion and extended their lead with points from Diarmuid Grant and Luke Shanahan inside 3 minutes of resuming. Loughmore were struggling and Upperchurch struck a major blow with Conor Fahey’s goal in the 44th minute which put them 1-10 to 0-8 ahead. The challengers were in the driving seat, but Loughmore were fighting like champions.

Four minutes later Liam McGrath netted for Loughmore. He added two further points to leave them just one point adrift after 55 minutes. It was anybody’s game now. Upperchurch were equal to the challenge, however.

Luke Shanahan scored a vital point from a tight angle on the hour mark. Loughmore poured forward in search of a winning goal. Liam McGrath pointed for them but time ran out for the champions.

It was a memorable win for Upperchurch who are in the final for the first time and will face Clonmel Commercials in two weeks time. Luke Shanahan, with 4 points from play, played a starring role with brother Paul, Keith Ryan, Ger Grant, Dean Carew and Jack Butler also prominent.

Loughmore-Casltiney went down like champions. They had the chances to win but it was not their day and they can have no complaints about the result. Liam McGrath was their top man with Noel McGrath, Conor Ryan, Willie Eviston, Brian McGrath, and Tommy Maher also to the fore.

Scorers for Upperchurch: P Shanahan (0-4,4fs), L Shanahan (0-4), C Fahey (1-0), L Ryan, A O Donoghue, D Grant, A Ryan (0-1 each).

Scorers for Loughmore: L McGrath (1-9, 0-7fs), C Ryan, N McGrath (0-1 each);

Upperchurch-Drombane: J Griffin; G Grant, M Ryan, A O Donoghue; D Carew, G Ryan, M Lavery; K Ryan, J Butler; A Ryan, P Shanahan, D Grant; L Shanahan, N Grant, L Ryan.

Subs: C Fahey for L Ryan (h/t), P Greene for D Grant (57mins), S Ryan for N Grant (63mins);

Loughmore-Castleiney: S Hennessy; L Egan, J Hennessy, W Eviston; D McCahey, B McGrath, T Maher; N McGrath, S O Connell; L McGrath, A McGrath, Conor McGrath; Cian Hennessy, T McGrath, C Ryan.

Subs: Ciaran McGrath for C McGrath; Ed Meagher for McCahey (both h/t), E Connolly for A McGrath and C McCormack for C Hennessy (both 40 mins).

Referee: D O Mahoney (Ardfinnan).

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