Kiladangan and Nenagh Eire Og battle for under 21 crown

Thursday, 23 November 2017

NEXT Sunday's Walsh's of Nenagh North Tipperary Under-21 A Hurling final between Kiladangan and Nenagh Eire Og (at Borrisoleigh, throw in 2.30pm) will be the third North final meeting involving the teams in the grade in the last four years.

The first decider was in 2014 and it resulted in Kiladangan's first ever A title on a 0-9 to 0-8 win. But one year later, Nenagh Eire Og took the title back from their neighbours in a titanic struggle and in the end it was a one point winning margin 1-18 to 3-11.

That win gave Nenagh Eire Og their seventh title in the A grade, to add to their six other wins in 1979, '80,'81, '82, '93 and '94 putting them third in the roll of honour behind Toomevara on 11 and Kilruane MacDonaghs on 12.

Nenagh are no strangers to North finals in this grade as next Sunday they will appear in their fifth final since the turn of the century.

Nenagh Eire Og reached this year's final with two wins out of two commencing with a convincing 3-20 to 0-11 win over Ballinahinch/Templederry on October 7. Two weeks later they inflicted a 2-23 to 0-10 beating on Newport. Remember Newport/Ballinahinch won the North Minor A final three years ago when accounting for Toomevara. Since then the team disbanded with Newport and Ballinahinch going separate ways.

Having reached top position in the group Nenagh Eire Og received a bye to the final but that might not fit to easy in their plans as it is a month without a game but players like Shane Hennessy in goal, Adam Carey and Andrew Coffey in defence along with Jake Morris, Philip Hickey, John Cahalan and Conor McCarthy in attack will be ready for battle.

Meanwhile Kiladangan have had plenty to do. They were first out of the stalls with a 3-20 to 0-14 win over Moneygall/Clonakenny on October 7. One week later they produced another impressive win when they beat Borris-Ileigh 3-22 to 0-19 resulting in Kiladangan taking top spot and reaching the semi final against Toomevara last weekend.

That 0-18 to 1-12 win produced one of the best games of the season and the win should stand to Kiladangan.

The challengers have shown loads of improvement since their North and County Minor B success three years ago with Willie Connors, Barry Hogan, Darren Moran, Andy Loughnane, Dan O'Meara and Ciaran Kelly gaining much experience at senior level in the intervening years.

The question is have they improved enough to continue with their winning ways. It took them a while to get going in their semi final win against Toome but they dominated the second half with a bit of class. Yet Nenagh won't be as easy to breakdown but the experience Kiladangan gained from the semi final win might be enough to sway the game and title number two could be on its way to Puckane and Ballycommon.


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