Tipperary SHC semi-final
Nenagh Éire Óg 1-20 Drom-Inch 2-16 (after extra-time)
Level with Drom-Inch 11 times, it was Daire Quinn with the last play of the game that secured a dogged Nenagh Éire Óg their second county final appearance in three years.
In the 82nd minute, it was Conor Ryan who provided the assist, sending the ball out to Quinn on the wing. The wing-back could have shot on sight but instead chose to move inside his opposite number before sending over the sweetest of points.
The promise of “the rugby” and other interests meant a good portion of the 4,025 Semple Stadium crowd had left just as this game was sent into extra-time thanks to Michael Heffernan’s long-range free.
The scoreboard at that stage read 1-15 to 2-12 and it was also level at half-time - 2-5 to 1-8 - and again at the extra-time break, 2-14 to 1-17.
At the outset of the second half of extra-time, Johnny Ryan neutralised an earlier Heffernan free with one of his own. Midfielder Ryan then produced a monster point from inside his own half to put Drom-Inch in the driving seat but only temporarily as Tommy Heffernan responded at the other end before Quinn turned match-winner in the beautiful Thurles evening sunlight.
The teams were level on six occasions in the second-half of regulation time. Heffernan’s free from 75 metres came after David Collins appeared to have won it for Drom-Inch.
Nenagh substitute Killian Gleeson had previously drawn the sides level in the second additional minute prior to veteran Eamon Buckley sending over a long-range point in the 56th minute. Seamus Callanan could have secured the game shortly afterwards but had his effort snuffed out by Michael McNamara.
Callanan was out of sorts here, missing two placed balls in the second-half, as it was left to Drom-Inch’s lesser lights to carry the fight.
He did, though, open up his team’s second-half scoring with two pointed frees and when David Butler added one from play they found themselves two points ahead.
But another Nenagh purple patch followed, Michael Heffernan notching two scores and Gleeson adding his first after a slip by Enda Walsh. The Drom-Inch wing-back made amends when restoring the lead in the 50th minute but midfielder Heffernan was again sharp in punishing a foul on replacement Philip Hickey.
James Woodlock had opened the game’s scoring after just 20 seconds as Drom-Inch settled in nicely, Seamus Butler adding another point in the third minute. But their defence was soon coughing up scores, James Mackey sending over two frees within a couple of minutes before Paddy Murphy sent Nenagh into the lead with an excellent score from 60 metres out.
However, Drom-Inch restored their early composure when Michael Everard was fouled by Quinn when honing in on goal. Referee John McCormack wisely allowed advantage to allow Everard get his shot off but called a penalty when his strike went wide. Callanan’s strike wasn’t his best but it proved too good for McNamara who had guessed the ball would go to his left.
McNamara was again reaching for the ball from his net less than a minute later when David Butler managed to goal with a one-handed swipe from an acute angle. Leading 2-2 to 0-3, the movement of the Drom-Inch forward, with Callanan acting as the fulcrum at centre-forward, was having its desired effect for the 2011 champions.
But their own defence was finding the going tough too, particularly in the 15th minute when Andrew Coffey raced onto a delivery and outran the Drom-Inch cover to finish with aplomb.
The Butlers, Kevin and David, negated some of the damage with points to put their side up by four only for Michael Heffernan to respond with a pointed free in the 22nd minute.
An excellent hook by Jamie Molony on an advancing Tommy Heffernan denied Nenagh a second goal in the 23rd minute and Ryan added a fifth Drom-Inch point a minute later although it turned out to be their last score of the half.
The remainder of the period belonged to Nenagh as they added four points from play without reply. Michael Heffernan reduced the margin to three points and further scores from Coffey, Quinn and Tommy Heffernan levelled it at the break.
Scorers for Nenagh Éire Óg:
M Heffernan (0-7, 6 frees); A Coffey (1-1); T Heffernan (0-4); D Quinn (0-2); J Mackey (frees), K Gleeson (0-2 each); P Murphy, B Heffernan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Drom-Inch:
S Callanan (1-3, 1-0 pen, 0-3 frees); J Ryan (0-3, 1 free); D Butler (1-2); S Butler (0-2 each); J Woodlock, K Butler, T Nolan, E Walsh, E Buckley, D Collins (0-1 each).
NENAGH ÉIRE ÓG:
M McNamara; J Brennan, N Maloney, M Flannery; C Ryan, H Maloney, B Heffernan; D Quinn, P Morris; T Heffernan, P Murphy, A Coffey; J Mackey, M Heffernan, S Hennessy.
Subs for Nenagh Éire Óg:
K Gleeson for P Morris, P Hickey for S Hennessy (both 37); P Ryan for A Coffey (54); M Purcell for J Mackey (inj, 60); J Mackey for A Coffey (inj, 67); S Hennessy for P Hickey (72); B Heffernan for M Flannery (inj, 77).
D Young; J Molony, E Buckley, M Campion; L Ryan, M Butler, E Walsh; J Ryan, J Woodlock; M Everard, S Callanan, K Butler; S Butler, D Collins, D Butler.
Subs for Drom-Inch:
T Nolan for K Butler (44); M Connors for M Everard (54); M Costello for J Molony (inj, 57).
J McCormack (Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams)
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