Munster Junior B semi-final
Clonoulty Rossmore 4-13
Belgooly (Cork) 3-5
Clonoulty Rossmore’s maiden voyage in the Junior B All Ireland Hurling Series started out with a hard fought victory over Cork champions, Belgooly, in the Munster Semi Final, at Raheenagh on Saturday. The conditions at the West Limerick venue were certainly not ideal, with arctic storm force winds blowing straight down the field. These conditions, however, did not take from the spectacle as both teams served up a hugely entertaining game.
Clonoulty won the toss and elected to play with the aid of the elements in the opening period. This decision appeared to have paid dividends as they raced into a 1-6 to 0-1 lead by the tenth minute.
However the Tipperary champions were dealt a severe blow on thirteen minutes, when influential goalkeeper and captain, Martin Sadlier, was forced to leave the fray, following an injury received while keeping out a goal bound shot from Eoin O’Donovan.
This injury resulted in Nicky Kearns being moved back from corner forward to man the goals, with Aaron Kennedy coming into the attack.
Belgooly got back into the game with two goals and had cut the lead back to three points by the twentieth minute. However Clonoulty regrouped, tightened up their full back line with the introduction of Declan O’Dwyer (Jnr.) and two late goals in injury time gave them a half time cushion of twelve points.
Belgooly, now with the aid of the elements, came out strong for the second half and hit a goal and three points, without reply, in the opening fifteen minutes after the break. Clonoulty went on the defensive, with the experienced John Devane moving out around the middle third and also introducing Nicky Mockler and Kevin Maher.
These changes paid off as time after time Clonoulty staved off the Belgooly attack. Clonoulty introduced Fintan Kearney to their attack and on the twenty ninth minute, he got on the end of a move which included Darren Corcoran and Nicky Mockler, to crash home goal number four and effectively kill off the Belgooly challenge.
Clonoulty started this game in whirlwind fashion with Kieran Carroll and Ger Mockler putting over in the opening two minutes. Clonoulty’s first break came after four minutes, when a Cathal Ryan (Raymond) pass found John Devane on the edge of the square and the veteran made no mistake as he crashed home the opening goal.
Ruari Dwyer opened the Cork champions account from a placed ball two minutes later, but it was the West Tipp men who dictated the pace and trend of the game. Aided by the storm force winds and good all round play, they hit four unanswered points from Darren Corcoran, Cathal Ryan (Raymond) and Devane (2f) to go eight points to the good after ten minutes.
Belgooly hit back and two goals from corned forward Ryan Long had cut the deficit to three with ten minutes remaining before the break. Anthony Kearney steadied the ship with a long range pointed free, Ger Mockler got his second of the day and Kieran Carroll raced through the defence to hit a wonderful goal on thirty minutes.
Three minutes into injury time Oisin Fryday split the Belgooly defence before laying off to John Devane, who made no mistake to leave the half time score, Clonoulty 3-11, Belgooly 2-2.
Belgooly hit the ground running for the second half and Kevin Fitzgerald put over after fifteen seconds. Two minutes later Barry Dwyer had a similar score as the Cork men bombarded the Clonoulty goal.
However Nicky Kearns and the defence stood tall and thwarted their best efforts. Barry Dwyer goaled from a twenty five metre free after twelve minutes with Gearoid O’Riordan putting over a sixty five three minutes later. This cut the deficit to six points with the Clonoulty defence under severe pressure.
Clonoulty changed their game plan and defended in numbers, carrying the ball out of defence and working it up field. John Devane put over a point, their first of the second half, on eighteen minutes. Belgooly continued to press for goals, when points were there for the taking, but failed to score in the closing quarter of the game.
Clonoulty effectively closed up shop and in a breakaway move with Darren Corcoran racing through from midfield, he passed to Ger Mockler who found the in running Fintan Kearney on the thirteen metre line to crash home goal number four and cement a place in the Munster final, where they will play Scariff of Clare.
Clonoulty Rossmore: Martin Sadlier, Anthony Maher, Andrew Quirke, Adam Fryday, Anthony Kearney (0-1f), Dylan Kennedy, Kevin Horan, Ger Mockler (0-2), Darren Corcoran (0-2), Kieran Caroll (1-1), Oisin Fryday, Padraig Coen, Nicky Kearns, John Devane (2-6, 0-4f), Cathal Ryan (Raymond) (0-1).
Subs: Fintan Kearney (1-0), Aaron Kennedy, Declan O’Dwyer, Kevin Maher, Nicky Mockler.
Belgooly: Ger Quinlan, Chris O’Sullivan, Tom O’Donovan, Joe O’Sullivan, Liam Walsh, Gearoid O’Riordan (0-1f), Kevin Fitzgerald (0-1), Rhys Reynolds, Barry Dwyer (1-1,1-0f), Ruari Dwyer (0-1f), Shane O’Riordan, Matthew Collins, Eoin O’Donovan (0-1), Ryan Long (2-0).
Subs: Eddie Corkery.
Referee: Rory McGann (Clare)
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