Tallow 1-15 Kilfenora 2-7
There would be some who would suggest that in pockets of County Waterford Gaelic Football is dead, or maybe more precisely that there is very little interest in the game.
However anyone that was in Tallow last Saturday afternoon to see the Bridesiders in action against Kilfenora in the first round of the Munster Junior Championship will know that football is alive and well in the far west.
However, the Bannermen started the better and early indications were that Tallow were possibly going to be on the end of a heavy defeat as first Austin Kelly on eighteen seconds and then Killian Malone inside two minutes kicked points.
But on six minutes Tallow won a free between the Kilfenora 45 and 20 metre lines and halfway between the sideline and the goal. John Paul Grey, a player you normally would put your house on to score, never connected right and the ball fell short. However, Kieran Geary was in the right place at the right time and after collecting unleashed a bullet like shot past Liam Keane in the Kilfenora goal.
Two minutes later another mis-hit Grey effort, this time from a 45, resulted in a Tallow score as Paul O’Brien converted.
Two rapid William Henley points stretched Tallow’s lead and they were now in Cruise Control and the early cheers of the huge visiting support began to fade.
Tallow should have scored a second goal on 12minutes but the brilliance of Liam Keane in goal kept William Henley’s shot out.
Points from Kieran Geary on the quarter-hour as well as John Paul Grey and Paul O’Brien six minutes later put Tallow 1-6 to 0-2 in front and suddenly more people could be seen entering the ground from the adjoining housing estates.
Jason Connolly hit a point for the visitors with six minutes of the half to go and just a minute later a probing Austin Kelly ball was collected and blasted to the net by Killian Malone for a Kilfenora goal. However, it was rightly ruled out by the referee in consultation with his umpires as the wing forward was clearly inside the small box well before the ball arrived in.
After this John Paul Grey from a free kicked a point, and as the opening 30 minutes elapsed Donnacha Mulcahy fired over to give Tallow a much deserved 1-8 to 0-3 interval lead.
Tallow began the second half as they ended the first, well on top. Grey from a free, William Henley and Paul O’Brien added points to stretch their lead.
After this Kilfenora started to come more into it. MJ Malone pointed for the Northwest Clare outfit but it was cancelled out by a Donnacha Mulcahy effort. Seconds later Ross Livingston showed what Keane could do for Kilfenora he could do for Tallow when he brilliantly saved from Kevin Theasby.
Paul O’Brien then went upfield for Tallow and added another point, putting them 1-13 to 0-4 in front. However, seconds later a long ball in from a crowed sideline area saw Killian Malone collect the ball and blast past Ross Livingston to give Kilfenora a lifeline.
A Donnacha Mulcahy point on the three-quarter mark seemed to have settled Tallow some bit, but points from a Killian Malone ’45 and an Austin Kelly free reduced their lead.
With four minutes to go another long ball in from a crowed sideline saw James Brody, who was down to start, but brought on as a sub, collected and he shot past Livingston. A Kevin Theasby point quickly followed and a twelve-point lead with nineteen minutes to go was now just four with three minutes to go – just like the County Final against Mount Sion all over again.
However credit to Tallow, they refused to lie down. Donnacha Mulcahy gained possession and had only one thing on his mind as he unleashed a ferocious shot, which rose just too high, clipped the crossbar and went over for a point.
Tallow emptied their bench to run down the clock and so secured a deserved but unnecessarily nervy win, setting up a meeting with the Limerick champions the weekend after next.
Tallow: R Livingston; J Hampton, B Henley, A Pratt; W Murphy, D O’Brien, K Curley; J Murray, K Geary; S Pratt, S McCarthy, P O’Brien; JP Grey, W Henley, D Mulcahy. Subs: M Curley for S Pratt, S Slattery for JP Grey, K Henley for K Curley, L McCarthy for D Mulcahy.
Scorers: P O’Brien, D Mulcahy 0-4each, K Geary 1-1, W Henley, JP Grey (2 frees) 0-3 each.
Kilfenora: L Keane; S Long, D Nagle, P Ireland; P Reddan, C Nagle, MJ Malone; P Connolly, J O’Gorman; A Malone, J Keane, K Malone; A Kelly, L O’Brien, K Theasby. Subs: S McMahon for P Ireland, J Brody for A Malone.
Scorers: K Malone 1-2 (1 ’45), J Brody 1-0, A Kelly 0-2 (1 free), J Connolly, MJ Malone, K Theasby 0-1 each.
Referee: R Moloney (Limerick).