Sports

Lorrha bridge 34 year gap to bring home title

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Lorrha 1-4 Silvermines 0-6 LORRHA have won many North Tipperary titles but seldom have they ever won a North title in such circumstances as they bridged a gap of 34 years to claim their second North Tipperary Under-21 B Hurling crown in beating Silvermines in a very wet Toomevara last Saturday afternoon.
Very wet indeed. So wet one wonders if the game should have gone ahead as all! Conditions were poor because of the rain that fell since the previous evening as 30 plus very brave players endured the heavy going to produce a thrilling game and as a result we witnessed the lowest scoring final ever in the completion since it began in 1980.
Lorrha led 1-4 to 0-4 at half time with Brian Hogan's well taken goal in the 23rd minute providing the difference. They might have increased their lead with two good chances early in the second half and had they succeeded they might have won more comfortably. But such was the game and in the final 20 minutes we saw the new champions defend as if their very lives depended on victory as six defenders and a goalkeeper, led by Conor Hogan and Michael Dolan, continued to clear every threat Silvermines could throw at them. David Sullivan, Denis O'Meara, Ollie Cleary and Ger Lambe did everything required of them while at midfield Niall McIntyre did a lot of work with his partner Daniel Donoghue refusing to yield as he played through injury.
As a result of the workrate carried out by the backline, all Lorrha conceded was a David Shanahan point after 32 minutes and a second point in the 58th minute when Eamon Corcoran finally found the range with a long range free. The minimum stood between the teams as the game reached 60 minutes but the Lorrha supporters had to endure another six and a half minutes of added time where the Lorrha defence continued to repel the charges as 'Mines attacked relentlessly before referee Pat Murray blew the full time whistle.
While Lorrha won they will be the first to admit that 'Mines were the better all round team but their accuracy in front of goal was a setback as they raised their tally to sixteen wides. ten in the second half. while Lorrha had ten.
But it was a welcome win for a Lorrha side that has not seen much silverware in the past decade except for the North and County Intermediate crowns in 2007. Lorrha featured strongly in the early days of this competition and they reached the final for the first time in 1983 and came away with their only success when they defeated Kilruane MacDonaghs in another low scoring encounter 1-6 to 0-8 at Gardiner Park, Borrisokane.
Since then they reached the final five more times but lost on each occasion 1990 (Shannon Rovers), 1991 (Moneygall), 2006 (to Silvermines), Templederry the following year before losing again in 2015 to Borris-Ileigh.
With the teams grouped together this year the weather conditions were not going to allow a repeat of Silvermines 1-18 to 0-14 win last month. Silvermines topped the group and were favourites to win their third crown adding to the wins in 1992 (over Kilruane MacDonaghs) and 2006 against Lorrha as it happens.
The previous weekend's respective semi final wins over Portroe and Burgess would stand to the teams as the game began and it was Silvermines who led in the opening minutes as points by Bryan Seymour and Eoin Seymour had them two in front.
After the second point Lorrha wasted no time in their response as Brian Hogan put Ross O'Meara through for a point and in the sixth minute Hogan levelled with a free.
Such were the dreadful conditions that free taking would become a lottery as Brian Hogan and David Shanahan failed from placed balls while Silvermines went through four free takers and David Shanahan, Ruairi Maher, Darragh Nolan and Eamon Corcoran were unlucky.
Hogan continued to threaten the Mines defence in general play and had a great battle with Eamon Corcoran who did a great job in keeping the Lorrha man under wraps. Michael Hogan had a solid game at corner back for 'Mines while Edward Ryan did his part at full back while Patrick Leamy and Darragh Nolan edged midfield.
However Brian Hogan managed to edge Lorrha ahead with a tenth minute point. Indeed they should have increased their lead as the 'Mines puckout was short and Lorrha's Leon Houlihan should have scored. Lorrha on the other hand had their defence in full scale as Ollie Cleary, Michael Dolan, David Sullivan and Denis O'Meara had plenty of possession.
But Silvermines looked the more dangerous. A foul on David Shanahan led the quick thinking Ruairi Maher take a quick free to Bryan Seymour who levelled. Sean Spillane might have added a goal but was quickly smothered out by the close marking Lorrha defence before Bryan Seymour redeemed the error with a lead point after 23 minutes.
From the resulting puckout, Brian Hogan raced on to gain possession, made a thirty metre run and banged in a rasping shot which gave David Ryan no chance. Two minutes from half time Hogan increased the Lorrha lead to three and reaching the interval it was Lorrha 1-4 Mines 0-4.
The wides continued at both ends in the early minutes of the second half before David Shanahan cut the margin to two in the 32nd minute. The teams would not score again for another 26 minutes but there were plenty chances and it was here that the Lorrha defence really came into their own with Michael Dolan producing many a clearance. In addition David O'Sullivan, Ger Lambe and Denis O'Meara had the measure of their opponents while Niall McIntyre and Daniel Donoghue worked so hard at midfield. But the king was Conor Hogan who time after time raced out from his full back spot to intercept ball after ball and clear the danger as well.
Just as well because Silvermines never gave up. Darragh Nolan had a productive third quarter but had to move up field because of injury while Patrick Leamy was immense. Edward Ryan was prominent at full back with Darragh McKelvey doing well also. Sadly the problems were at the other end where accuracy let Mines down and eight wides including two frees between the changeover and the 55th minute kept their score low until Eamon Corcoran converted a 60 metre free in the 58th minute.
A draw looked a distinct possibility but the wides increased with Eamon Corcoran off target with a '65' as the wides reached sixteen by the end. Meanwhile their followers had to endure six and a half minutes of added time but Conor Hogan and company had the final say and Brian Hogan would receive the Peter Nolan Cup (first presented in 1995) as the blues won back the title for the first time since 1983.
Scorers; Lorrha; B Hogan (1-3, 0-2 frees); R O'Meara (0-1).
Silvermines; B Seymour (0-3); E Seymour and D Shanahan (0-1 each); E Corcoran (0-1, free).
LORRHA: Patrick Reddan; Ger Lambe, Conor Hogan, Ollie Cleary; David O'Sullivan, Michael Dolan, Denis O'Meara; Niall McIntyre, Daniel Donoghue; Ross O'Meara, Brian Hogan (Capt), Tomas Kennedy; Alan O'Meara, Leon Houlihan, MacDarra Kennedy. Sub: Tony Needham (for M Kennedy, 49 mins).
SILVERMINES: Daniel Ryan; Darragh McKelvey, Edward Ryan, Michael Hogan; Peter Kennedy, Eamon Corcoran, Tadgh Ryan; Patrick Leamy, Darragh Nolan; Bryan Seymour, Eoin Power, Eoin Seymour; Sean Spillane, Ruairi Maher, David Shanahan. Subs: Colm O'Brien (for E Power, half time); Andrew Hayden (for Spillane, 38 mins); Ronan Clifford (for Shanahan, 65 mins).
REFEREE: Patrick Murray (Moneygall).

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