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Fethard too good for weakened Mullinahone
An Fear Rua
"Clonmel Oil" South Tipp S.F. Championship
Fethard 1.14 Mullinahone C.J.K. 0.10.
Back in 2000 a very good Mullinahone C.J.K team won the county intermediate football championship. They came out the following spring and faced Fethard in the first round of the South Tipp senior football championship in Anner Park, Cloneen. That day, Mullinahone caused a huge surprise when they defeated fancied Fethard in a thrilling game.
Last Sunday the scenario of the fixture exactly 11 years later, but this time there was no surprise result as Fethard who led at half time by 6 points 0.08 to 0.02 went on to score a seven point win 1.14 to 0.10. This was far from the Fethard of old but the win will give them confidence. Mullinahone had to field a weakened side. The four Curran brothers were all ruled out and it was decided not to play one of the minor heroes of Tralee Jack Shelly.
The Kickhams improved considerably after the break when a lively Eoin Kelly was introduced to their attack. Eoin's fitness seems to have improved by leaps and bounds which will be a source of comfort to county hurling followers. Considering C.J.K's unavailable list their display on Sunday showed signs of hope for their football future.
The early afternoon start in Anner Park didn't seem to appeal to followers as the turnout was on the small side. Pitch conditions were in good shape as referee Paddy Ivors threw in the ball. Mullinahone played towards the road goal while Fethard played towards Slievenamon and had the advantage of a stiff breeze. Both sides showed a change from the published line-outs. Michael Dillon came in at centre forward for Fethard while Eddie Phelan replaced Sean Curran in midfield for the Kickhams.
This must have the first time in a long time that at least one Curran didn't line out on a Mullinahone premier football or hurling side. Fethard began well and seemed the slicker outfit. They established control in the midfield area and by nine minutes led by 0.04 to 0.00. The points came from Dylan Fitzgerald and Kenneth O'Donnell with two from Brian Coen ( one from a free ). In 10 minutes C.J.K. broke through but were thwarted of a goal by a fine Paul Fitzgerald save. Brian Coen pointed another free and then Carl Maher had Fethard's sixth point.
Mullinahone were very much on the defensive and were being kept together by wing back James Connolly who had a wonderful campaign last year and was captain of the team who reached the Munster Club intermediate final. He was ably assisted by full back Martin Costello. At the start of the second quarter Paul Kelly put Mullinahone's first point on the board. Mullinahone were wide in the 19th minute and had to depend on a fine Michael Lonergan save in 20 minutes to stay in touch. The resultant 45 was not converted by Fethard. Dylan Fitzgerald and Brian Coen pointed for Fethard as the tempo of their attacking slackened. In the lead up to the break Dylan Fitzgerald (F) saw yellow, Adrian Doheny (M) kicked a fine point from a free which was taken off the ground and Paul Fitzgerald made another top class save in the Fethard goal to leave the score at the break Fethard 0.08, Mullinahone 0.02.
Kickhams began the second half with Eoin Kelly in their attack. Michael Lonergan made another fine save in goal and Kelly pointed. Just when we had visions of a C.J.K comeback Ciaran O'Meara put the ball in the corner of the Mullinahone net giving Lonergan no chance. Carl Maher followed up with a point and it took a Martin Costello intercept to prevent another Fethard goal. In nine minutes Kenneth O'Donnell pointed to put Fethard nine points clear.
Surprisingly, in the remaining 21 minutes Mullinahone outscored their rivals by 0.06 to 0.04. Fethard brought on Shane Walsh and Mullinahone Alan Walsh. Carl Maher pointed a free and Dylan Fitzgerald also pointed. Aidan Lonergan came on for the Blues as Cathal Horan pointed for Kickhams. Eoin Kelly pointed in 19 minutes as David Hayes came on. Carl Maher pointed a Fethard free. Declan Doyle was introduced. Paul Kelly and Kenneth O'Donnell exchanged points. Substitute Niall Cronin pointed for Mullinahone and in a final burst of defiance Paul Kelly pointed twice to leave the final score Fethard 1.14, Mullinahone C.J.K. 0.10.
In the early exchanges Mullinahone's handling was quite poor. They lost the ball far too easily when tackled. They improved as the game progressed. Fethard seemed to lack the clinical sharpness of old to put C.J.K. away but many of their supporters will be pleased as Fethard's football fortunes seem to be turning around. Most of their forwards seemed to be able to pick off scores and their free-takers were reliable.
Fethard: Paul Fitzgerald, Shane Aylward, Mikey Ahearne, Alan O'Connor, Gavin Fitzgerald, Dee Burke, Brian Delahunty, Cian Maher, Jamie McCormack, Ciaran O'Meara, Michael Dillon, Dylan Fitzgerald, Carl Maher, Brian Coen, Kenneth O'Donnell. Subs used: Shane Walsh, Declan Doyle, David Hayes and Aidan Lonergan.
Mullinahone C.J.K.: Michael Lonergan, Keith Mullally, Martin Costello, Brian Treacy, Kevin Walzer, Edwin O'Meara, James Connolly, Eddie Phelan, Philip O'Shea, Gary Cronin, A.J. Cronin, Donal Cody, Adrian Doheny, Paul Kelly, Cathal Horan. Subs used: Alan Walsh, Niall Cronin, Eoin Kelly.
Referee: Paddy Ivors (Ballingarry)
Report supplied by Ricky Sheehan
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