North Tipperary & District League Weekly Review
Divisional Shield Finals
The first of this year’s silverware was up for grabs across all four Junior divisions last Sunday in the shape of this season’s Divisional Shields. First up was the Premier League Shield played in Islandbawn where league newcomers Holycross FC took on league stalwarts Cloughjordan and it was the later who won out on the day thanks to a strike either side of the break from form striker Dean O’Meara. Cloughjordan had taken the lead after just ten minutes when O’Meara finished cleverly from close range. Holycross pushed hard for the equaliser, but in doing so left themselves exposed to the counter attack, which man of the match Kevin Quinlan capitalised on when he played O’Meara in on goal for his second of the day midway through the second half. A spirited performance from Holycross but it was Cloughjordan’s experience and clinical finishing which saw them lift the shield to set out their clear intentions for the upcoming season.
Next up was the intriguing encounter between First Division sides Ballymackey and Borroway Rovers, with the Thurles side going into the match the slight favourites after despatching of Roscrea in the semi-final. With the home side having home advantage in the shield finals, Ballymackey had to rely on a double strike form Shaun Kevin to cancel out efforts from Damien Troy and David Keane for the Loughtagalla outfit. The game couldn’t find an outright winner in the later stages of the game with both sides reluctant to commit men forward and so penalties ensued with Ballymackey eventually winning matters in an epic penalty shootout which went their way on a score line of 7 – 6. A great advertisement for the First Division where Borroway can take some solace in the fact that for that past two seasons, the runners up in the First Division Shield went on to win the league title, whereas the Shield winners went on to win promotion.
The Second Division Shield Final was a good day for newly promoted Gurtagarry who showed that they have settled well in their new surroundings after getting promoted the season previous. Whilst the 4 – 2 score line in the game against a vastly improved Nenagh Celtic may suggest Gurtagarry had matters all their way, it was a different story on the field. Paul Ryan had put the visitors to the VEC one up after 30 minutes, but Celtic drew level before half time when Kevin Nevin was quickest to react to team mate Terry Delaney’s deflected effort from distance. Ryan then grabbed his second to put Gurtagarry ahead in the 60th minute, and the games turning point came when not long after taking the lead, Gurtagarry conceded a penealty which Celtic failed to convert, and having cleared their lines, the visitors launched a stinging counter attack which saw Jake Ryan making it 3 – 1. Celtic to their credit didn’t concede hope and earned another penalty which Terry Delaney made no mistake with but with time running out, Paul Ryan capped his man of the match performance with his third and Gurtagarry’s fourth to add to their impressive silverware collection in recent months.
The most surprising result of the weekend however was in the Third Division Shield Final where Barnane FC were convincing winners over Templetouhy in a one sided match where Barnane won out 8 – 2. Barnane saw Jerome Ryan being another one of the weekend’s strikers who took the match ball home as he bagged an impressive hat trick for his day’s work. Also on the mark were David Butler, Damien Larkin, Michael Everard, Michael Campion and Brian Hennessey. Joe Lupton and Paul Connors struck consolation goals for Templetouhy, but Barnane weren’t to be denied.