Sports

Nenagh Eire Og and Borris-Ileigh battle for North Tipp Senior hurling honours

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Next Saturday evening's Hibernian Inn North Tipperary Senior Hurling Final between Borris-Ileigh and Nenagh Eire Og in MacDonagh Park, Nenagh could be the last north played of its kind.

Why? Well the north final like other divisional finals in Tipperary have been always linked to the county championship. Up to the end of the 1950s the winner went directly into the county semi final. There were two county semi finals and a final. Job done.

In the early sixties the teams reaching the divisional finals made it to the quarter finals and that was it until the turn of the century when all kinds of changes occurred but the North winners, like the other divisional winners had the win as an assurance to the final stages of the Dan Breen.

The method of how teams made their journey after North final day is too intricate to explain this time round. For the moment lets just say that Borris-Ileigh, having reached the later stages of the Dan Breen - through the round robin stage and should they win the North final next Saturday it will be seen as a plus to the clubs progress this year and a vital plus too.

But it is the complete opposite for Nenagh Eire Og who failed to reach the later stages of the Dan Breen following a miserable campaign but in order to get back into that championship they must win next Saturday or their year is over.

Next Saturday's final will be the fourth North Final meeting between the sides. They first met in a North final in 2001. It was centenary year in North Tipp GAA and Nenagh Eire Og won. The sides met again in 2005 and 2007 with Borris-Ileigh winning both days.

The teams has met thirty six times since the Nenagh Eire Og club was formed in 1952 (Nenagh competed in various shapes and guises before that) and Borris-Ileigh lead by 19 wins to 12 with five draws. Borris-Ileigh would have been seen as one of the very strong clubs in the 1950s, 60's and 70'sand they have won fourteen North finals to include 1947, '50, '51, '52, '53, '55, '72, '73, '76, '81, '83, '88, '05, '07.

But throughout the last four decades Nenagh Eire Og have become one of the kingpins of North and County Tipperary and they have nine North championships to their name with their latest in 2014 to add to their victories in 1915, '57, '64, '92, '93, '98, '2001 and 2009.

Nenagh reached this year's final with wins over Ballina, Roscrea and the recent North semi finals victory two weeks ago when they were deserving winners over the holders Kiladangan. That performance came at the right time and it is a credit to their manager Brian Whelehan who took over the club last June in a time in which the club was in turmoil after they lost their way in the county championship first with an early defeat to Kilruane MacDonaghs. An easy win over Carrick Swans eased Whelehan's tenure to a good start but in the final round of the county championship resulted in defeat to Thurles Sarsfields.

On the other side of the coin, late goals were required to give Borris-Ileigh a two point win over Templederry after an hour where they should have scored four more but in the end it were only too happy to overcome a six point deficit.

At the start of the year, Portumna's Johnny Kelly took over as coach to Borris-Ileigh in a bid to help change what has been a sold if unspectacular decade for the men in maroon and white.

Their year began with a disappointing defeat to north Tipp holders Kiladangan in May at Nenagh. However they rescued their year with a draw against neighbours Loughmore Castleiney in the county championship. The wins continued with a good win over another neighbour Toomevara in the North championship before they improved their season with a big win over Upperchurch Drombane (another neighbour) to make sure of their place in the last eight of the Dan Breen.

On next Saturday evening four of the current Nenagh Eire Og squad Michael McNamara, Hugh Maloney, Noel Maloney and John Brennan are seeking their fourth North Tipp senior medal having collected the MacDonaghs Cross in 2001 (against Borris-Ileigh), 2009 (Portroe) and 2014 against Burgess following a replay. Overall the four have played in six North finals since they joined the squad in 2001with defeats to Toomevara in 2003 and Borris-Ileigh in 2005 and 2007.

Elsewhere Nenagh's top score getter Michael Heffernan is seeking his third North medal with Pearse Morris, Tommy Heffernan, Paddy Murphy, Alan Kelly and Mark Flannery to name but a few.

Borris-Ileigh are no strangers to North finals having played in five since2000 with wins in 2005 and 2007 while they were beaten by Nenagh 2001, Roscrea in 2004 and Toomevara in 2010.

Tipperary winning captain Brendan Maher has two north winners medals and is joined by Jody Harkin, Mattie Stapleton, Paddy Stapleton, Aidan Cowan, Vinnie Stapleton and David O'Connor.

So at 6pm next Saturday evening Referee Michael Murphy, Toomevara will get the final under way and about seventy five minutes later we should know who the winners of the 2017 Hibernian Inn North Tipperary Senior hurling final will be. Will be Nenagh Eire Og who appear to be peaking at the right time or will it be Borris-Ileigh who for some are the traditional North finalists and will be hoping to continue their good work throughout the season.

 

Hi-Bernian Inn North Tipperary SHC Results 2017

Round One

Toomevara 3-18 Silvermines 0-18 at Nenagh May 6th.

Kiladangan 1-21 Newport 0-10 at Dolla May 6th.

Kilruane MacDonaghs 0-27 Borrisokane 1-13 at Borrisokane May 7th.

Burgess 1-21 Portroe 0-10 at Nenagh May 7th.

Templederry 0-23 Lorrha 1-13 at Nenagh May 7th.

Nenagh Eire Og 2-17 Ballina 2-14 at Dolla May 7th.

Borris-Ileigh a bye.

Roscrea a bye.

 

Quarter Finals

Nenagh Eire Og 0-20 Roscrea 2-11 at Dolla June 10th.

Borris-Ileigh 0-20 Toomevara 0-12 at Cloughjordan/// June 11th.

Kiladangan 2-15 Kilruane MacDonaghs 1-11 at Dolla June 11th.

Templederry 2-13 Burgess 1-11 at Nenagh June 11th.

 

Semi Finals

Nenagh Eire Og 0-19 Kiladangan 0-15 at Dolla 19th August.

Borris-Ileigh 2-16 Templederry 0-20 at Nenagh 20th August.

 

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