Brilliant Tullogher Take Leinster Crown

Tullogher/Rosbercon 1-19; Clongeen 3-08

Giving a repeat performance of their terrific semi-final victory, a fully focused Tullogher/Rosbercon team had a magnificent five-point win over Clongeen of Wexford in the Leinster junior hurling final on Sunday last. This was a top class game of hurling, with the standard reaching heights far above that which is normally associated with the junior grade. Play swung from end to end and the large crowd revelled in the hard but sporting action on a pitch in surprisingly good condition (despite the overnight frost). Tullogher/Rosbercon began brightly and had a winning look about them early on, but the redoubtable Wexford hurlers fought back tooth and nail to level matters midway through the second half. It was here that the Kilkenny champions showed their true class as they raced away in the closing stages to a comfortable five-point victory, taking the Tom Ryall Cup back to Tullogher for the very first time. They now await the winners of the Warwickshire or the Galway clash in the All-Ireland semi-final early in the New Year. It will be a happy Christmas down Tullogher way!

After a great solo run, Walter Walsh opened the scoring with a point after 30 seconds of play, but Enda Murphy levelled for Clongeen in the sixth minute. Three unanswered points came for Tullogher from Eddie Conway, Liam Barron and Johnny Barron. Clongeen would not lie down and Donal Redmond shot a fine point, followed by a cracking goal from Jonathan Colfer to put them a point up with half of the opening period gone. They went further ahead with another point from the impressive Garry O’Grady. But the Tullogher dander was up as Walter Walsh raced through the Clongeen defence, and set up Shane Ryan who crashed the sliothar to the back of the net. Emmett Kent balanced matters once more, but Tullogher finished the half strongly with points from Liam Barron, Johnny Barron, Shane Ryan and Richie Dollard to leave the half-time scores Tullogher/Rosbercon 1-8, Clongeen, 1-5.

Pat Hartley drove over a long range free on resumption but then the pendulum swung in favour of the Wexford team. A side-line cut by Garry O’Grady took a deflection past Martin Roche for a morale boosting goal. Martin Bookle, Eddie Conway and Richie Dollard got three points in reply, but when Wexford inter-county footballer Collie Byrne found the net at the other end, the fat was in the fire. Garry O’Grady fired over a neat point and it was even once again. Liam Barron restored the Tullogher lead but Garry O’Grady nullified. It was now that Tullogher made their move for the finish line as they put on an unbelievable display of power hurling to which Clongeen had no answer. A Liam Barron pointed free started it, Richie Dollard (now starring) added another and young Shane Ryan flashed over two terrific points as Tullogher sensed the kill. Garry O’Grady had a consolation point for Clongeen but Eddie Conway and the ageless Martin Bookle put the icing on the cake with two more glorious points to leave the scores at the final whistle, Tullogher/Rosbercon 1-19, Clongeen 3-8.

What had started out as just a dream was now a reality as the big Tullogher following acclaimed their hurling heroes and rightly so. Great credit is due to trainer Fr Liam Barron, selectors Ollie Ryan, Mick Purcell and Johnny Grennan, physio, Michael Muldowney, and the officers of the club on their magnificent achievement in bringing the name of Tullogher/Rosbercon into the national sporting headlines as junior hurling champions of Leinster.

Panel: Martin Roche, John Hartley, John Grennan, Kieran Barron, Moling Cotterell, Pat Hartley (c), Michael Grennan, Liam Barron, Jack Cotterell, Richie Dollard, Martin Bookle, Eddie Conway, Walter Walsh, Johnny Barron, Shane Ryan, Sub, Eoin Mullaly for Jack Cotterell (injured).

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