Coolderry were pushed to the pin of their collar before they got the better of a dogged Seir Kieran side in their final group game in the Offaly Senior Hurling Championship in Crinkill on Sunday afternoon.
Molloy Environmental Systems Offaly Senior Hurling Championship
SEIR KIERAN 1-15
Virtually assured of their place in the semi-finals before throw in, while Seir Kieran were already doomed to the relegation play off, it was expected this would be a stroll in the park for a free scoring Coolderry side who had impressed in their earlier games but it didn’t turn out that way.
Seir Kieran had not read the script and they fought as if they were still in contention for the knock out stages and they were still battling for a winner with the game deep in injury time. However Coolderry did enough to hang on and when the results of the other games came through, it emerged that their high scoring in earlier games had enabled them to top the group on score difference and they will face Shinrone in the semi-finals.
Early on it seemed that this game would go along expected lines as Coolderry opened up a 0-6 to 0-1 lead after just 10 minutes. But Seir Kieran had pulled a couple of points back before the water break and they began to become more competitive as the second quarter progressed. Then 1-2 in first half injury time saw them take a surprise 1-9 to 0-10 interval lead.
With the wind behind them Coolderry scored five unanswered points in the first six minutes of the second half and it looked like normal service would be resumed. But Seir Kieran refused to give in and they were back within a point of their rivals at the water break. Three quick points seemed to have sealed the deal for Coolderry but Seir Kieran weren’t giving up and got back within a point again. They also saw a 20m free saved on the line as Coolderry were forced to battle to maintain their lead and they were relieved to hear the final whistle.
With Coolderry almost assured of a semi-final place beforehand, it may have taken a bit of the edge off their performance but they won’t be happy with some aspects of their performance. They shot 14 wides over the hour and having got themselves into a good position on a number of occasions, didn’t finish their opponents off. Brian Carroll accounted for 14 of their points and they will be looking for a greater return from the rest of their attack in the semi-final.
Seir Kieran finished the group games without a win but they will take encouragement from this performance as they head into the relegation play off against Drumcullen. They were competitive in a number of their games, losing two of them by just two points, and the determination and fighting spirit they showed in this game will give them encouragement going into that game.
Trevor Corcoran, Conor Molloy and David King impressed in the Coolderry defence, while further upfield Brian Carroll, Kevin Connolly and Kevin Brady were all prominent.
Christopher Connors, Michael Gilligan, Eanna Murphy and John Coughlan worked hard in the Seir Kieran defence, Kevin Murray did well in midfield while James Mulrooney, Kevin Dunne and Joe Bergin were best in attack.
After an early exchange of frees by Brian Carroll and Joe Bergin, Coolderry hit five points in a row, three Brian Carroll frees and two from play by Kevin Connolly. Joe Bergin replied with two frees to leave Coolderry ahead by 0-6 to 0-3 at the water break. The sides exchanged point for point through most of the second quarter, Kevin Dunne and Kevin Murray (one a super sideline cut) with two each for Seir Kieran replied to in turn by Daniel Miller, two Brian Carroll frees and another from Kevin Brady to leave it 0-10 to 0-7 heading into injury time.
Then Seir Kieran struck for the only goal of the game. James Scully made the decisive run before passing across goals to James Mulrooney, who batted the ball to the net. Joe Bergin (free) and Adrian Hynes added points and Seir Kieran went in leading 1-9 to 0-10 at half time.
The second half began with a flurry of scores for Coolderry, Brian Carroll pointing five in a row, four frees.
James Scully stopped the rot and Joe Bergin’s free cut the deficit to one again. Brian Carroll and Joe Bergin (free) swopped points and Coolderry led 0-16 to 1-12 at the water break. Straight after Coolderry hit three quick points from Brian Carroll (free), Martin Corcoran and Kevin Connolly but once again Seir Kieran hit back and James Mulrooney and Joe Bergin (free) cut the deficit to two.
Entering injury time Seir Kieran won a 20m free, Joe Bergin went for goals but his shot was saved on the line by Barry Teehan.
Joe Bergin did cut the deficit to one again but Brian Carroll’s 14th point sealed the win for Coolderry.
COOLDERRY: Stephen Corcoran; Stephen Connolly, Trevor Corcoran, Stephen Burke; Conor Molloy, David King, Gearoid McCormack; William Malone, David Connolly; Eoin Ryan, Brian Carroll, Eoghan Parlon; Kevin Connolly, Kevin Brady, Daniel Miller. Subs. Barry Teehan (for Gearoid McCormack,41 mins), Cathal Parlon (for Daniel Miller, 48 mins), Martin Corcoran (for David Connolly, 48 mins), Shane Ryan (for Kevin Connolly, 59 mins), Declan Parlon (for Kevin Brady, 64 mins).
SEIR KIERAN: Peadar Murray; Donal Coughlan, Christopher Connors, Michael Gilligan; Kieran Connors, Eanna Murphy, John Coughlan; James Scully, Kevin Murray; James Mulrooney, Kevin Dunne, Barry Kealy; Luke Carey, Joseph Bergin, Adrian Hynes. Subs. Stephen Hynes (for Barry Kealy, half time), Dermot Mooney (for Kevin Murray), Darragh Guinan (for James Scully, 60 mins).
REFEREE: David McLoughlin.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Coolderry captain David King had a fine game at centre half back. He was solid and consistent throughout and marshalled the defence well, providing the platform to set up many attacks.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Two points down heading into injury time, Seir Kieran were awarded a 20m free. Joe Bergin went low for what could have been a winning goal but Barry Teehan saved the ball on the line and cleared and Coolderry were able to hang on for victory.
David McLoughlin wasn’t a factor in the outcome of the game. He kept control throughout and while there might have been the odd debateable decision, on the whole he was correct in his decisions and there could have been few quibbles with his officiating.
Coolderry have been running up big tallies in their games to date but they weren’t quite firing on all cylinders in this game and registered 14 wides. Even the normally reliable Brian Carroll missed a few placed balls – and yet still finished with 14 points. They will hope to get the radar back on track for the semi-final.
Coolderry finished top of the group and will face Shinrone in the county semi-final. Seir Kieran face a crucial relegation play off against Drumcullen with the winner retaining Senior A status and the loser dropping back to Senior B.
The Crinkill venue was in good condition for the game. The pitch held up well, despite being soft in places, and the club had everything well organised to cater for parking and traffic.
Wides; Coolderry 14 (6 in first half) Seir Kieran 8 (4 in first half)
Yellow Cards: Coolderry 0 Seir Kieran 2 (James Scully, James Mulrooney)
Red Cards: None.
Coolderry; Brian Carroll (0-14, 0-11 frees), Kevin Connolly (0-3), Daniel Miller, Kevin Brady, Martin Corcoran (0-1 each).
Seir Kieran; Joe Bergin (0-8, 0-7 frees), James Mulrooney (1-1), Kevin Murray (one sideline cut) and Kevin Dunne (0-2 each), Adrian Hynes and James Scully (0-1 each).
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