Sunday, August 29, 2010

Junior Hurling Final: Croft to the Rescue for Tom's - Again.

Tipperary 1-11 Fr. Tom Burke’s 1-14

Fr. Tom Burke’s junior hurlers prevailed over Tipperary in an exciting encounter that went down to the wire. For the second week in a row, a last minute goal put Tom’s in the lead with time ticking off the clock, and for the second week in a row it was substitute Robbie Croft who got the credit for the game winning score. The sides were level at half time, and it looked like a Kevin O’Donnell goal with less then 10 minutes to go would be the deciding score, but it was Tom’s with the final say in the end.

Mike Markham finds his way out of defence blocked.
The teams were level on nine points each at the end of the first 30 minutes. Tipp had the better of the early exchanges but Tom’s came into the game as the half wore on. Corner forward, Mark Alward was the primary marksman for Tipp. Alward accounted for seven of Tipperary’s first half points, both from frees and from play. Tom’s had a hard time containing the Tipp dangerman. Tom’s lost David Hession to injury early in the game, a tough loss given Hession’s role in taking long frees. Hession had accounted for Tom’s first two points from frees The westerners coped however, and John Cuddy ably took over the role of free taker. Along with Cuddy, Aidan Staunton and Mark Waldren chipped in to keep the scoreboard ticking over for Tom’s.

Seamie Leahy on a run for Tipp.
Tom’s suffered another blow early in the second half as Staunton had to leave the field of play having shipped an injury. Tom’s responded to the loss with James Dooley on the wing exhorting his teammates to look for something better from themselves,and Tom’s fought hard. Cuddy was on target with three early frees, two from long range, while Alward put two dead ball chances over for Tipp. Tipp then found their way through the Tom’s defences and Darragh Kealy hit the crossbar with a bullet, then Seamie Leahy had a goal chance that Dermot Fox saved. Leahy will probably feel that he should have done better. Kevin O’Donnell did not make any mistake with the third goal chance to fall to Tipp. A long Alward free dropped into the Tom’s penalty area and O’Donnell shunted the ball home from close range. The goal put Tipp a point to the good and day looked as if it may well be theirs. With anxiety building as the game approached the final whistle, Tom’s made the breakthrough. Croft, who had toiled hard since coming on at corner forward, looked like he tipped a long Cuddy free past Tipp keeper Mark Daly. Tom’s up by two points. Larry Guinan and Eugene Cummins held the fort at the back for Tom’s as they made some great fetches as Tipp roared back up the field in search of a score before it was too late. Cuddy made it a three point advantage for Tom’s with a free. Tipp had a late chance to level affairs with a 14 yard free. James Howard took it but a wall of Tom’s men held firm and cleared the danger. Great joy for Tom’s with the sound of the final whistle, and an exciting end to a fine game of hurling.

Tipp: M. Daly, S. Sinnott, T. Fitzgerald, S. Ryan, M. Jordan, R. O’Brien, J. Duane, S. Leahy (0-1), K.O’Donnell (1-1), J. Fealy, D. Kealy, J. McGrath, M. Alward (0-9). Tom’s: D. Fox, M. Moore, L. Guinan, P. Staunton, E. Cummins, M. Markham, K. Mooney, D. Hession (0-2), J. Dooley, M. Waldren (0-2), J. Cuddy (0-8), A. Staunton (0-1), R. Griffin. Subs: M. Callaghan (0-1), R. Croft (1-0).
By Rory O'Donnell

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