Kiladangan fight back to retain North Junior 'A' Football title
GAA: North Tipperary Junior ‘A’ Football Final
Report: Liam Hogan in Borrisoleigh
Player of the Match: Darren Moran (Kiladangan)
SCORERS - Kiladangan: Stephen Mulvihill 0-6 frees; Darren Moran 1-0 pen; Declan McGrath, David Sweeney 0-1 each.
Roscrea-Inane: Kenny Lee 0-4 (2 frees); Dylan Hogan 0-2; Luke Seacy, Jason Fitzpatrick, Darragh Tynan, Conor Booth 0-1 each.
Darren Moran’s penalty and Stephen Mulvihill’s accuracy from frees helped Kiladangan turn the tables in the second half as they retained the North Junior ‘A’ Football title at the expense of a battling Roscrea-Inane side in a hard fought and at times testy final played last Wednesday.
In winning their fifth title, Kiladangan needed all the help they could muster and the introduction of the heavyweights in the guise of David Sweeney and Alan Flynn in the second half helped them keep a closer eye on Roscrea’s free-flowing game. Kiladangan needed to because based on what we saw from the Rossies in the first half made them look likely winners.
Roscrea had the ideal preparation in terms of confidence based on their semi-final win over Kilruane when they overturned an eight-point deficit to win by a narrow margin in the end. They continued that domination in the first half when they produced a near perfect display which helped them take a 0-9 to 1-2 lead at the break.
Kiladangan, who defeated Newport and Portroe to get to the final, came out for the second half with all hands on deck but when reaching the 41st minute, and trailing 1-5 to 0-9, they received a setback when losing captain Willie Connors to a straight red card offence following an altercation with Glen Loughnane in the midst of melee.
However, Kiladangan survived their numerical disadvantage and prompted by the work of Darragh Butler, James Quigley, James O’Meara, Tadgh Gallagher, Mathew Cleary, Dan O’Meara and particularly Darren Moran, they continued to find they scores with Mulvihill’s latest free edging them two in front with five minutes remaining.
Roscrea played into the town end in the first half and ghosted through the Kiladangan defence with five unanswered points in eleven minutes thanks to the accuracy of Luke Seacy, Dylan Hogan, Jason Fitzpatrick and Darragh Tynan with the quintet completed a brilliant Kenny Lee score from play.
Stephen Mulvihill opened Kiladangan’s account in the twelfth minute and two minutes later Tadgh Gallagher cut through the Roscrea defence before he was hauled in the square. Darren Moran stood over the penalty and gave Enda Moloney no chance. The score settled Kiladangan and in the sixteenth minute the sides were level after a second Mulvihill free.
However, Roscrea took command again and ran off four unanswered points in ten minutes with Dylan Hogan and two Kenny Lee frees delivered either side of an Aidan Booth score from play as they led 0-9 to 1-2 at half time.
Kiladangan introduced David Sweeney and Johnny Horan at half time and were quick to establish territory with full forward Declan McGrath scoring a point after thirteen seconds and the same player brought the best from Enda Moloney from close range. Stephen Mulvihill’s free reduced the margin to two in the 34th minute as Roscrea lost wing back Conor Shanahan to a hamstring injury and his attacking play on the left flank was missed as Mulvihill pointed another free in the 39th minute while Kiladangan introduced former Tipp hurler Alan Flynn.
While Kiladangan were producing the scores, Roscrea had many moments where their well-intentioned passing moves from defence to attack were curtailed despite the best from Shane Davis, Conor Sheedy, Bryan McCabe, Conor Booth, Darragh Tynan, Kenny Lee, Shane Fletcher and Evan Fitzpatrick.
However, the game, which was sporting up that point, reached a low point in the 41st minute when an altercation in the middle of the field led to Willie Connor’s dismissal for Kiladangan.
A chance for Roscrea to take advantage perhaps but the close-knit Kiladangan defence kept opportunities at a minimum while taking their opportunities as Mulvihill had the scores level 1-6 to 0-9 in the 49th minute. Four minutes later, David Sweeney’s left foot helped Kiladangan take the lead for the first time which was doubled by another Mulvihill free in the 55th minute.
The game had reached an exciting period where both sides went in search of a much needed score and Roscrea succeeded with Kenny Lee to the rescue with four minutes left.
Plus five and half of added time, it kept both teams on tender hooks but no further score accrued despite the best efforts of Stephen Mulvihill and Kenny Lee from frees.
In the end Kiladangan held on to collect their fifth adding another crown to that of 1990, 1998, 2011 and 2022 while Roscrea continue to search for title number thirteen as they look back to the time that last won in 1993 under the guise of Inane Rovers.
Both sides progress to the county quarter finals in late September.
TEAMS - Kiladangan: Liam Hayes (6); Darragh Ryan (7), Darragh Butler (7), James O’Meara (7); Ronan Ducie (7), James Quigley (7), Tadgh Gallagher (7); Darren Moran (8), Matthew Cleary (7); Niall Cahalan (6), Willie Connors (Capt) (7), Dan O’Meara (7); Eoghan Meagher (6), Declan McGrath (7), Stephen Mulvihill (7).
Subs: Johnnie Horan (7) for Meagher (HT), David Sweeney (7) for Cahalan (HT); Alan Flynn (7) for Ducie (39); Billy Seymour (NR) for Ryan (60+3).
Roscrea-Inane: Enda Moloney (8); Glen Loughnane (7), Shane Davis (7), Bryan McCabe (7); Conor Sheedy (7), Keith McMahon (7), Conor Shanahan (7); Conor Booth (7), Darragh Tynan (7); Kenny Lee (7), Shane Fletcher (7), Evan Fitzpatrick (7); Luke Seacy (7), Dylan Hogan (7), Jason Fitzpatrick (7).
Subs: Alex Moloney (6) for Shanahan (35 inj); James Synnott (6) for Loughnane (41 inj); Eoghan Bergin (6) for Hogan (49); Conor O’Donovan (NR) for J Fitzpatrick (60).
Referee: Christy McLoughlin (Nenagh Eire Og).