Drom lay down a marker with impressive win over Sarsfields

Drom & Inch 3-21

Thurles Sarsfields 0-22

Report: Michael Dundon at FBD Semple Stadium

Drom & Inch have one foot in the county senior hurling championship quarter-finals following this emphatic eight-point win over Thurles Sarsfields in round two of group two on Sunday.

Billed as one of the games of the round, this encounter fell well below expectations and was very pedestrian at times with far too many errors by both sides, but all that matters little to Drom & Inch who followed their earlier eleven-point win over Templederry Kenyons with another considerable boost to their scoring difference, should that come into play in determining placings in this group.

Drom & Inch’s final game is against neighbours Borris-Ileigh and while a win is not imperative, a loss could leave them in a precarious position depending on how the Sarsfields v Templederry game falls out.

For now, however, Drom are the front runners, their fate in their own hands, and they are playing with a confidence that suggests they will have a big say in the destination of honours this year.

After five minutes, Drom got a huge boost when goalkeeper Eoin Collins netted a penalty, Tommy Nolan having been fouled, despite Sarsfields protests.

However, by the 15th minute, the sides were level, 1-3 to 0-6, a four-point flurry in as many minutes bringing Sarsfields on terms. The sides were still level (0-10 to 1-7) after 24 minutes, but Drom finished the half strongly, with John Campion a dominating figure registering four points from midfield to go in at the break, 1-13 to 0-12, ahead.

When Sarsfields resumed with three points in as many minutes, the indications were that a storming second half was in prospect, but it never materialised and by the three-quarter stage Drom had re-established their four-point advantage (1-18 to 0-17).

Points by Aidan McCormack and Conor Stakelum had Sars on Drom’s heels but in the 49th minute Jamie Moloney was all alone inside the Sars defence and made no mistake for their second goal and a 2-18 to 0-19 lead.

The game was Drom’s to lose now and they were in no mood to relinquish their grip on proceedings. The final nail in Sarsfields coffin came in the 58th minute when Moloney wrestled his way past the Thurles backs to kick home their third goal leaving them in an unassailable position as the game drifted into added time.

It was a big win for Drom & Inch and one which should bolster their confidence going forward into the business end of the championship. It was by no means their best performance, and there is plenty of room for improvement, but psychologically it should focus their minds for the remaining games and reinforce their belief that they can go the whole way.

John Campion was a power-house for them at midfield in the first half scoring four points from play. Their halfback line was once again dominant, with Podge Campion, Fintan Purcell and Steve Nolan tigerish in defence and always eager to get forward into the attack. Tommy Nolan and Jamie Moloney were impressive in attack.

Thurles Sarsfields have a fight on their hands to stay in the championship race. Their cause is not helped by injuries to key players Ronan Maher, Michael Cahill, Stephen Cahill, and Billy McCarthy, and it is clear they will need to get all of them back in action as quickly as possible if they are to figure in the knock-out stages. Their leadership is badly missed by the younger set who are still finding their feet.

David Corbett did a splendid job of policing Drom dangerman Seamus Callanan, while Paul Maher and James Armstrong also did well. Aidan McCormack was their scorer-in-chief with Paddy Creedon, Seanie Butler, and Denis Maher too posing a threat and Darragh Stakelum getting through a huge amount of work.

Player of the Match: John Campion (Drom & Inch)

Drom & Inch: Eoin Collins (1-0 pen, 7); Emmet Moloney (6), Michael Campion (6), Kevin Hassett (6); Fintan Purcell (0-1, 7), Podge Campion (7), Steve Nolan (0-1, 7); Robbie Long (6), John Campion (0-4, 9); Lorcan Campion (0-1, 6), Jamie Moloney (2-0, 7), Seamus Callanan (0-8, 7f) 6); Mikey Connors (0-1, 6), David Collins (0-2, 6), Tommy Nolan (0-2, 7).

Subs: Maidhc Fitzpatrick (0-1, 6) for Hassett (12 inj); Tony Cahill (0-1, 6) for Connors (38); Johnny Ryan (6) for Long (40); David Butler (6) for Collins (46).

Thurles Sarsfields: Patrick McCormack (6); Paul Maher (0-1, 7), Seosamh Ryan (6), Cathal Moloney (6); Jack Derby (6), James Armstrong (7), David Corbett (7); Conor Stakelum (0-1, 6), Kieran Moloney (6); Aidan McCormack (0-11, 7f) 8), Darragh Stakelum (0-2, 7), Seanie Butler (0-3, 7); Pa Bourke (0-1, 6), Denis Maher (0-2, 6), Paddy Creedon (0-2, 6).

Subs: Stephen Cahill (6) for Derby (44); Billy McCarthy (6) for D Maher (51); Eoin Purcell (6) for Butler (55).

Referee: Fergal Horgan (Knockavilla Kickhams).