South Tipperary Under 21 B Football Championship

St. Patricks 1 – 4                           Ardfinnan 1 – 10

On Saturday last in Monroe Ardfinnan advanced to the semi final of the South Tipperary Under 21 B Football Championship with a big win over St. Patricks. However things didn’t always look as easy as the score line suggests as St. Patricks were only a goal behind at half time and a close finish still looked a probability.

Referee Paddy Ivors threw in the ball almost exactly on the scheduled starting time of 3.00 and Ardfinnan broke away but their first effort was wide. However the Ardfinnan boys took the lead in the third minute when Darren Sweeney pointed a free. Ardfinnan had another wide and extended their lead in the sixth minute when a long ball from Darren Sweeney deceived the otherwise reliable Marcus O Halloran in the St. Patricks goal and dropped into the net. After this St. Patricks realising the urgency of their situation began a period of dominance with an excellent point from Tony O Brien from a line ball on the right wing which was a carbon copy of Maurice Fitzgeralds point for Kerry against Dublin in Semple Stadium some years ago. The St. Pats boys had two wides before Eoghan McCormack added two points with another wide in between. However Ardfinnan took control for the remainder of the half and had two wides before Darren Sweeney pointed a free and Pakie Heaphy concluded the half with a further point for Ardfinnan to leave the half time score Ardfinnan 1-3 St. Patricks 0-3.

The second half began as the first ended with St. Patricks under severe pressure which yielded an Ardfinnan point in the fourth minute from Eoin Ahearne. The pressure from Ardfinnan yielded another wide before Darren Sweeney added two points from frees. They had another wide before Robert McCormack got a St. Patricks point in the 15th minute. Ardfinnan had further points from Pakie Heaphy and Eoin Ahearne before St. Patricks made a late spurt which resulted in a wide and a free which Eoghan McCormack sent straight to the net with the Ardfinnan defence lured into a false sense of security and obviously expecting Eoghan to be satisfied with a point.

However Ardfinnan had the final say when David Rencontre pointed a late free. While Ardfinnan were in control for most of the game their victory would have been more comprehensive but for some fine defending by St. Patricks most notably Colm Dunne and Patrick Moroney although many of their clearances were quickly returned by Ardfinnan to put more pressure on the St. Patricks defence. For Ardfinnan Diarmuid O Sullivan played well played well with Brian Dillon taking more control in the second half when St. Patricks put Richard Needham back in goal to replace the injured Marcus O Halloran. However the most influential player on the pitch was Darren Sweeney who seemed to have a hand in almost everything that Ardfinnan did.

Scorers for Ardfinnan were: Darren Sweeney 1-5 , Pakie Heaphy 0-2 ,David Rencontre 0-1, Eoin Ahearne 0-2.

St. Patricks Eoghan Mc Cormack 1-2, Robert McCormack 0-1, Tony O Brien 0-1.
Teams Ardfinnan: Alan Ward, Andrew Heffernan, Diarmuid O Sullivan, Micheál O Sullivan, Eoin Walsh, Brian Dillon, Joey O Connor, Darren Sweeney, Ger Bonnar, David Rencontre, Pakie Heaphy, Tony Kelly, Eoin Ahearne, Fergus Nugent, Aaron Cowan. Subs: Alex Kirwan, Philip Murphy, James O Mahony.

St. Patricks: Marcus O Halloran, Stuart Broderick, Colm Dunne, Thomas Hayes, Jason Hayes, Patrick Moroney, Aaron Cronin, Robert McCoprmack, Shane Gorey, Tony O Brien, Richard Needham, Neil Gleeson, Damian Barry, Eoghan McCormack, John Moroney. Subs: Keelan O Neil for Marcus O Halloran (injured), Mark Fitzgerald, Stephen Gleeson.

Referee Paddy Ivors Ballingarry.

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