North rivals battle for Seamus O'Riain Cup

Thursday, 5 October 2017

NEXT Sunday is county senior hurling final day and one who didn't have a lot of information about Tipperary hurling circles, but yet enough to know who is who, would not be far off to suggest that Toomevara versus Roscrea would make an ideal pairing in search of the Dan Breen Cup.

And yes they are meeting next Sunday on County final day but it will be the Seamus O'Riain Cup final instead.

That's the hurling landscape at the moment but the panic is over in terms of competing in the Dan Breen because both teams will be competing in that championship in 2018 by virtue of the fact they qualified for the final of the Seamus O'Riain Cup following their semi final wins two weekends ago.

It's been tough times for both sides in the last ten years and in the case of Roscrea perhaps it has been tough for the past three decades.

They last reached the county final in 1985 when they lost to Kilruane MacDonaghs in the decider. Five years earlier they claimed their last Dan Bren.

Both Roscrea and Toomevara were in the same group of the qualifying stages of the Seamus O'Riain and Toomevara won by two points. High returns were to be the form for the rest of the campaign as both teams went separate ways each winning their respective games - with Roscrea defeating Newport by six and Toomevara accounting for Ballingarry by nine at Holycross. In the third round the returns escalated as Roscrea had a whopping 3-25 to 2-11 win over Ballingarry while Toome beat Newport 2-20 to 0-12.

With both teams exiting from the North championships at quarter final stage, Roscrea losing to Nenagh Eire Og and Toomevara making way for Borris-Ileigh, the quarter finals of the Seamus O'Riain proved most welcome indeed.

Roscrea advanced with a win over Templederry in a great game at Nenagh. Toomevara inflicted a big win over Silvermines the same day.

The semi finals secured a narrow three point win for Roscrea over Holycross in another exciting contest but it was a much easier task for Toomevara when defeating a disappointing J.K. Brackens side.

Both sides have plenty players to create an impression especially the Roscrea forward division. Sam Conlon, Shane Fletcher and Davin Flynn are currently on fire at the moment. Conor Sheedy and John Ryan have added vital scores while the evergreen Liam England has found a new lease of life in his career.

Both Michael Campion and Joe Carroll form a strong spine to the defence and Daryl Ryan continues to perform a with confidence in goal

It seems that Toomevara may well have to line out without Joey McLoughney and John O'Brien and they will be a major loss to Toome's bid. Yet I feel they have enough in the tank to shade it because of the individual ability to create and produce scores. There is no better free taker than Ken Dunne at the moment. His free taking against Brackens in the semi final was something special.

Special because his hurling career seemed over just four months ago when he was hospitalised with a serious illness. Thankfully he has made a great recovery and he will lead the pack next Sunday with Colm Canning, Mark McCarthy and Benny Dunne in support. Toomevara's defence is much tighter and solid where Andrew Ryan, Liam Ryan and Jason Ryan have the ability to save the day.

Verdict: Toomevara to win by five.


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