Tipperary settled an old score today in front of a 20,452 spectators crowd in Limerick. They had been beaten by Clare when last these great hurling counties came face to face in Semple stadium just last month, with Co.Clare’s Conor McGrath rifling home a hat-trick of goals.
This afternoon the tables were turned with Seamus Callanan scoring twelve points for the Premier County, latter finishing winners with 2-23 (29 Pts) to 2-17 (23 Pts) against last year’s All Ireland Champions Clare, in the Allianz Hurling League semi-final, held at the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick.
Tipperary will now greet their old rivals Kilkenny in a second successive final, possibly on May 4th next and at home here in Semple Stadium, subject to official approval.
It was Clare who quickly scored the game’s opening goal in just the third minute and indeed Tipperary would concede yet another, but two matching goals, one goal in each half, coming courtesy of stalward Patrick Maher, would eventually match this Tipperary deficit.
Tipperary gained full form into the second part of the first half to lead by 1-14 (17 Pts) to 1-07 (10 Pts) at the break. Clare did however manage to creep back to within three points of Tipperary during the second half, but it was to be this same opposition who remained relatively comfortable hindering Clare from getting back to within any real striking distance.
Tipperary must now surely be within sight of another title as they look ahead to what promises to be yet another explosive collision with Kilkenny, who today also booked their place, having defeated Galway 1-16 (19 Pts) to 0-15; to also reach the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 final.
Tipperary Scorers: N. O’Meara 0-03; S. Bourke & J O’Dwyer 0-02 each; S. Callanan 0-12; P. Maher 2-00 (6 Pts) and J. Barry, J. Woodlock, D. Maher, N. McGrath and G. Ryan all scoring 1 point apiece.
Tipperary Team: D. Gleeson (Portroe); C. Barrett (Holycross-Ballycahill); P. Maher (Thurles Sarsfields); M Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields); J. Barry (Upperchurch-Drombane); B. Maher (Borris-Ileigh – Captain); C. O’Mahony (Newport); K. Bergin, J. Woodlock (Drom & Inch); N. McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney); P. Maher (Lorrha/Dorrha); J. O’Dwyer (Killenaule); D. Maher (Thurles Sarsfields); S. Callanan (Drom & Inch) and N. O’Meara (Kilruane MacDonaghs).
Tipperary Substitutions: S. McGrath for N. McGrath, G. Ryan for D.Maher, S. Bourke for J. O’Dwyer and M. Breen for J. Woodlock .
Thurles Father & Son greet President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina in Stratford-upon-Avon
On a visit to Stratford-upon-Avon, during their recent State visit to England, President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina did a spontaneous walk about and met up with Cormac Molumby and his father Gerry. Noting his Tipperary Jersey, the President asked Cormac, jesting; “Are Tipperary, still playing hurling there?” to which Cormac very quickly replied in the affirmative “Yes Sir”.
Although presently living in England, sports mad Cormac, latter a student apprentice, remains an avid Thurles Sarsfields and Tipperary fan, following their exploits constantly on line for sporting results. He is also the follower of a thriving hurling club in Warwickshire , London, attending matches at Ruislip and rarely misses matches in Semple Stadium, Thurles, and Croke Park, Dublin when back home visiting in Thurles. He supports Watford in soccer and Ireland in the Rugby and his hero is Hull City and Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long.
Cormac is son of Thurles native Gerry Molumby, (Right above) who was covering the Presidents event for the Nottingham Post and the Irish Press in the UK. Gerry also has organised St Patrick’s Day events in Nottingham now for more than a decade. Cormac’s Mother is London born, but of Irish parents; latter who hailed from Bandon (Her Dad) and Cork city (Her Mom). Gerry met Fiona first in London and as he says himself “The rest is history.”
Picture below shows Billy Phillips being presented with his running T-Shirt by Joe Bracken purchasing manager with Clancy Construction, latter main sponsor of the three Thurles Crokes AC members running in the Boston Marathon. Also in the photo are John O’Shaughnessy (President Thurles Chamber) and Declan Doherty.
The boys representing Thurles Crokes AC will fly out to Boston on Saturday week next and by competing hope to raise major funding for two Irish charities; Irish Autism Action and Pieta House.
To this end the three lads have created an on-line fund-raising page on www.mycharity.ie/event/john_o__shaughnessys_event where donations can be made by clicking on the ‘Sponsor Me Now’ tab on the home page. The guys would like to thank most sincerely all those that have donated to date and would ask for as much support as possible for these very worthy causes.
NOTE: They are also holding a fund raising night in Larry Fogarty’s pub on the May 4th; to celebrate what they hope will be their success in the marathon and one final night of further funding raising.
Note also that the lads have funded the costs of the trip to Boston themselves and all money raised will go 100% to both charities split on a 50/50 basis.
PLEASE SUPPORT – ALL DONATIONS NO MATTER HOW SMALL WILL BE MUCH APPRECIATED.
Tipperary beat the Rebel County Cork 3-25 (34pts) to 4-19 (31pts) in what can only be described as a truly thrilling Allianz Hurling League quarter-final here at Semple Stadium in Thurles yesterday. In front of a relatively small crowd of spectators, just 6,615 dedicated loyal supporters watched Tipperary’s man of the match; John O’Dwyer (Killenaule) hit 1-07 (10pts) for the Premier County, to set up a semi-final meeting with Clare in three weeks time.
At half-time, Cork were 3-11 (20pts) to Tipperary 3-09 (18pts) in front, however they were soon to fall six points behind during the course of the second half. Patrick Horgan’s late goal provided just a glimmer of hope for Cork and they could even have snatched a draw had Anthony Nash’s 20m free not been blocked by a determined Premier County gathered in mass on the Tipperary goal-line.
From a sheer defensive point of view on both sides, the game was noteworthy in its openness, with 51 scores in total totted up over the course of the seventy minutes played and which also saw Seamus Callanan take his League tally to a massive 5-40 (55pts) with an added haul yesterday of another 8 pts. Tipperary had edged into the last eight with a three-point victory over Dublin in Thurles just seven days ago and with the threat of relegation now removed, within Tipperary was almost certainly a feeling of freedom in some of their action, which was well documented in the first ten minutes as the Premier county tallied up a ten-point lead.
While S.Harnedy grabbed two goals within the space of three minutes, thus bringing Cork back into close contention, it was the O’Dwyer goal, three minutes before the break which kept the Premier fifteen in contention, levelling twice early in the second half, to establish a 3-21 (30pt) to 3-15 (34pt) lead.
Cork were handed a possible lifeline in the 65th minute when Horgan rifled his fourth goal past Tipperary goalkeeper Darragh Egan, however although Cork were to come within a point of their host team in the final minute, efforts from Noel McGrath and John O’Dwyer ensured the winning result for the Premier side.
Final Score: Tipperary 3-25 (34pts) – Cork 4-19 (31pts).
Tipperary Team: D. Egan; P. Stapleton, C. O’Mahony, C. O’Brien, J. Barry, B. Maher, T. Stapleton, K. Bergin, J. Woodlock, D. Maher, N. McGrath, J. O’Dwyer, S. Bourke, S. Callanan and N. O’Meara.
Subs: R. Maher for C. O’Mahony, J. Forde for N. O’Meara, L. McGrath for S. Bourke, E. Kelly for D. Maher and J. O’Brien for S. Callanan.
Ireland knew exactly what was needed this evening following England’s defeat of Italy by 52-11 in Rome in the RBS 6 Nations title this morning, forcing Ireland to either beat France or miss out on their 2014 Grand Slam title.
This evening however Ireland held on with gritted determination in a truly nail-biting finish, to narrowly beat France 22-20. This was Ireland’s first Six Nations Cup win since 2009, granting retiring player Brian O’Driscoll the perfect send off, in this his final test wearing an Irish green jersey. Their victory today was only Ireland’s second in the French Capital in 42 years.
France, despite their somewhat indifferent campaign this year to-date, came into the game with true determination. Early tough momentum and Maxime Machenaud landing two penalties, following infringements by Chris Henry and Dave Kearney, gave the French an early six-point lead.
France’s lead was to be short lived however as Ireland’s superior disciplined attacking organisation opened up just enough room for Sexton to make Ireland’s first contribution, brushing past Bastareaud to cross the line for the first Irish try of the game, but failing to convert his own score. France now stood 6-5 on the scoreboard.
Next Conor Murray manages to feed Andrew Trimble, who raced in for Ireland’s second try with Sexton making no mistake with the conversion and raising Ireland’s score to 12 against France’s 6. A cross-field kick by Tales, just five metres from the Irish line saw Yohan Huget rise above Dave Kearney, knocking the ball inward towards Brice Dulin, latter who made no mistake collecting and scoring, thus leading France into the interval with 13-12 ahead of Ireland, Machenaud having landed the conversion.
After withstanding early pressure from France in the second half, Dave Kearney grabbed a spilled ball which in time reached Sexton who found the gap to cross the French line untouched for his second try of the match and again making the conversion.
A further penalty from a ruck allowed Sexton to add 3 points making it 22-13; however Ireland was soon to lose Sexton with a little more than 10 minutes to play, when he was injured by the right elbow of a Bastareaud, as he attempted a break.
Dimitri Szarzewsi would now reward France’s continued tough momentum with a controversial try, latter which referee Steve Walsh declined to ask the TMO for an opinion. Scoreboard read Ireland 22 – France 20.
With just over one minute remaining, Ireland’s heart sank when the French No. 8 Damien Chouly scored in the right hand corner. But this try was checked by the TMO and found to be ‘clear and obvious,’ identifying a forward pass from the hands of French Captain Pascal Pape and was quickly disallowed.
Final score Ireland 22 – France 20, thus securing only Irelands second title in 29 years, but nevertheless a truly outstanding performance and completing a perfect finale to Brian O’Driscoll’s truly marvellous career in Irish Rugby.