Nenagh Eire Og 1-15 Clonoulty Rossmore 0-16
Last year’s defeated finalists, Nenagh Eire Og, got this year’s campaign underway in winning fashion at the Ragg on Sunday evening when they defeated west representatives Clonoulty Rossmore in the opening round of section 1, group 1 by two points. Conditions were brisk and dry with a wind blowing into the dressing room end and both teams served up an entertaining fare in front of a small crowd.
Clonoulty won the toss and elected to play with the aid of this wind in the opening period. However it was Nenagh who got off to the better start and had two points on the scoreboard inside the opening two minutes, from the stick of Donnacha Quinn, one from a free and one coming from a 65. Timmy Hammersley opened Clonoulty’s account after four minutes with a well taken point. This was followed up with a Sean Maher equalizer before Timmy Hammersley put the west men in front from a pointed free. Killian Gleeson equalized for the north men. Clonoulty then took control of the game and hit six unanswered points between the twelfth and twenty seventh minutes, the scorers coming from John O’Neill (2), Sean Maher (1) and Timmy Hammersley (3) including one from a free. However during this period of dominance they failed to threaten the Nenagh goal and goalkeeper Michael McNamara was never tested. Tommy Heffernan pulled one back for Nenagh just before the break to leave five points between the teams. One felt that this lead was not enough for Clonoulty as they faced the wind in the second half.
Nenagh started the second period in whirlwind fashion and had three points on the board in the opening two and a half minutes, one a long range free from midfielder Barry Heffernan. Half back Billy Heffernan and Donnaca Quinn was the other scorers. In the fourth minute Nenagh broke up a promising Clonoulty attack and pushed downfield and finished with Killian Gleeson finding the Clonoulty net for the game’s only goal. This was a lead that the north men were never to relinquish. Thomas Butler equalized for Clonoulty before Tommy Heffernan and Donnacha Quinn put Nenagh back in front. John O’Neill hit one for Clonoulty, Michael Heffernan had his first of three for Nenagh and Timmy Hammersley added one for Clonoulty to cut the deficit to the minimum. Nenagh the hit three points to lead by four with nine minutes remaining. Clonoulty then brought on James Heffernan to the half back line and pushed John O’Keeffe to midfield. This move seemed to pay dividends as Clonoulty clawed back this lead to draw level with two minutes remaining. However some terrible slack marking by their defense allowed Michael Heffernan to put over two points in as many minutes to ease out winners in this entertaining contest. Clonoulty now play Roscrea in round 2 while Nenagh play Templederry.
Nenagh Eire Og: Michael McNamara, Andrew Coffey, Noel Moloney, John Brennan, Daire Quinn, Hugh Moloney, Billy Heffernan (0-1), Barry Heffernan (0-1), Kevin Tucker, Pearse Morris (0-1), Michael Heffernan (0-3), Tommy Heffernan (0-2), Killian Gleeson (1-1), Paddy Murphy, Donnacha Quinn (0-6, 4f).
Clonoulty Rossmore: Declan O’Dwyer, Joey O’Keeffe, John Devane, Kevin Horan, Padraig Heffernan, John O’Keeffe, Sean O’Connor, Aidan White, Jimmy Maher, Sean Maher (0-3), Thomas Butler (0-1), Timmy Hammersley (0-8, 3f), Fiachra O’Keeffe, Conor Hammersley (0-1), John O’Neill (0-3), subs James Heffernan.