Lorrha's Chris Fogarty has his goal chance denied by Alan Walsh. Photo: Bridget Delaney

Mullinahone’s greater experience sees them past Lorrha

GAA: FBD Insurance Tipperary Senior Hurling - Seamus O Riain Cup Final


Mullinahone     4-18 
Lorrha         2-19

Report: Liam Hogan in Semple Stadium

Player of the Match:
Sean Curran (Mullinahone) 
SCORERS - Mullinahone: Eoin Kelly 2-5 (0-3 frees); Michael Dunne 2-1; Sean Curran 0-6; Martin Kehoe, Enda Keane 0-2 each; Mikey O’Shea, Jack Shelly 0-1 each. 
Lorrha: Colm Fogarty 0-8 (6 frees); Cian Hogan, Brian Hogan (0-1 free) 1-1 each; Eoin McIntyre 0-3; Christopher Fogarty, Alan O’Meara 0-2 each; Daniel O’Donoghue, Niall McIntyre 0-1 each. 

Sport can be cruel and Lorrha found out the hard way as their brave efforts in claiming their first ever Seamus O Riain Cup came crashing down to earth flowing a five-point defeat to a more experienced Mullinahone side last Saturday.

On a day that crowds were allowed back into Semple Stadium following an easing of Covid regulations, the Lorrha support witnessed first-hand that no matter how well you play the laurels can be swiped from the tip of your tongue in a matters of seconds.

That Lorrha played well in parts may have been a contributing factor to a very enjoyable encounter but then there were times when they allowed their grip to loosen, especially the five minutes before the half time break when they conceded five unanswered points to trail 1-13 to 1-8 at the interval.

By the 41st minute the deficit had stretched to six but suddenly they found a new lease of life and four unanswered points had them within striking distance of the South men. Then disaster struck for the second time and this time in the guise of three goals in the 51st, 55th and 56th minutes with Eoin Kelly grabbing two. Suddenly Mullinahone were three goals in front.

But as expected Lorrha refused to die. Brian Hogan grabbed a second goal as Lorrha held vigil in front of the Mullinahone goal where Brian Hogan had two close range frees saved and Mullinahone keeper Alan Walsh saved brilliantly at the feet of Christopher Fogarty before the final whistle.

It took a team with the experience of Mullinahone to deny Lorrha who on another day would see 2-19 win many a game. Recent games had proven that Lorrha’s scoring machine would take watching but Mullinahone had their match-ups in correct order where Colm Fogarty, Chris Fogarty and Patrick Maher were closely watched by Daire O’Brien, Eoin Fennelly, Paul Curran, and Alan Curran.  

Patrick Maher never gave up, especially in the first half. Cian Hogan proved his worth with 1-1 as did Eoin McIntyre with three points from midfield. However, Lorrha needed much more as the experienced Sean Curran dominated midfield when scoring six points from play. 

Mullinahone needed the former Tipp attacker to be at his best because their attack had to work on pieces of opportunism against a hard working Lorrha defence had many great moments especially Ciaran Haugh, Michael Dolan and Conor Hogan who hurled the game of his life in keeping Eoin Kelly at bay until those five minutes which turned the Lorrha’s dreams into nightmares. In addition to Sean Curran, Mullinahone had the free-flowing Jack Shelly covering every inch of the pitch when so often he created one attack after another. 

Apart from the display of Sean Curran and to a lesser degree Jack Shelly and Eoin Fennelly one must admire the continued worth of Eoin Kelly. At 38 years of age he continues to be a real threat this time scoring 2-5 (2-2 from play). He scored 2-7 in Mullinahone’s only Dan Breen success 2002 while was the winning captain on Saturday, just like ten years ago with Tipp when claiming the Liam MacCarthy Cup. 

The opening minutes were free flowing with scores level on two occasions in the opening seven minutes. Colm Fogarty gave Lorrha an early two-point lead with Sean Curran replying with two by the fourth minute before Eoin McIntyre and Eoin Kelly swapped scores to bring parity for the third time. 

Thirty seconds later Lorrha grabbed the game’s opening goal after Patrick Maher’s brilliant strike from the left caused Mullinahone all sorts of bother where Niall McIntyre and Chris Fogarty linked up for an unmarked Cian Hogan to fire low past Alen Walsh to give Lorrha a 1-3 to 0-3 lead. 

As the fast-moving pace continued Mullinahone stormed back with 1-1 commencing with an Eoin Kelly free before Michael Dunne rounded two Lorrha defenders to give Patrick Reddin no chance from an acute angle. A quick response from Lorrha’s best player Eoin McIntyre had his side level at 1-4 each after ten minutes.

The first signs of Mullinahone’s intent began to appear after Martin Kehoe and Michael O’Shea added a point each. Both Colm Fogarty and Eoin Kelly traded frees, both from difficult angles, as the first water break arrived in the 18th minute.

From the restart Chris Fogarty left the minimum between the sides before the brilliant Sean Curran secured a long-range score in the 23rd minute. Two minutes later Cian Hogan was fouled and Colm Fogarty converted and Hogan was involved again, this time connecting with Eoin McIntyre who levelled with his third score. 

At 1-8 each the teams were happy to slog it out but then Mullinahone’s greater experience emerged as Martin Kehoe, Enda Keane, Sean Curran from halfway scored. Eoin Kelly added one from play before Michael Dunne brought the opening half to an end with a delightful score as the South men led 1-13 to 1-8.

Two Colm Fogarty points, the second from play kept the game on the edge at the start of the second half. However, Mullinahone were finding the scores much easier as Enda Keane found the target. From there a three-man move involving Mikey O’Shea, Jack Shelly and Sean Curran saw the latter score before Eoin Kelly landed a free after a weaving run by O’Shea had the full forward brought down outside the Lorrha twenty metre line. 

Six points looked comfortable for Mullinahone but Lorrha sensed danger and a three-point run from Chris Fogarty, Cian Hogan and substitute Alan O’Meara left three points between the teams in time for the last water break. On the resumption, Daniel O’Donoghue’s point left Lorrha two in arrears and within striking distance. 

But such are the ways of hurling. With Sean Curran and Mikey O’Shea creating a two-pronged attack along the left wing a well-placed cross to an unmarked Eoin Kelly saw the latter blast to the net from thirteen metres. 

But true to form Lorrha came again and points by Alan O’Meara, plus pointed frees by Brian Hogan and Colm Fogarty left Lorrha two in arrears with six minutes remaining. However, Mullinahone struck again this time when Michael Dunne firing low after a well-placed pass by Mike O’Shea. Barely one minute later it was goal number four when Eoin Kelly collected a lengthy Eoin Fennelly delivery before finding the net. 

A quick response from Niall McIntyre gave Lorrha hope but quick points by Sean Curran and Jack Shelly left a yawning nine-point gap between the teams with three left. Game over we thought, but Lorrha’s refusal to throw in the towel saw Colm Fogarty’s pointed free plus Brian Hogan’s second goal, following a Patrick Maher pass left Lorrha five in arrears. 

More attacks followed but two close range frees by Brian Hogan were denied by Eoin Fennelly before Christopher Fogarty’s last-ditch effort was superbly saved by Alen Walsh’s foot as Mullinahone survived and return to the Dan Breen Cup after a two year absence.

TEAMS – Mullinahone: Alan Walsh (7); Daire O’Brien (7), Paul Curran (7), Colin Shelly (7); Eanna Ryan (7), Eoin Fennelly (8), Alan Curran (7); Sean Curran (8), Kevin Walzer (6); Martin Kehoe (6), Jack Shelly (8), Enda Keane (6); Eoin Kelly (8), Mikey O’Shea (6), Michael Dunne (7). 
Subs: Garry Cronin (6) for Walzer (50); Kevin Bulger (6) for Keane (54).
Lorrha: Patrick Reddin (7); Graham Houlihan (6), Conor Hogan (8), Michael Dolan (8); Ciaran Hough (8), Brian Hogan (7), Eoin Cleary (6); Eoin McIntyre (8), Niall McIntyre (6); David Fogarty (6), Cian Hogan (7), Daniel O’Donoghue (6); Christopher Fogarty (6), Patrick Maher (7), Colm Fogarty (6). 
Subs: Alan O’Meara (7) for D Fogarty (45); David Sullivan (NR) for Cleary (57). 
Referee: Seamus Delaney (JK Brackens).