Thursday 14 December 2017

Last-gasp Grogan point sends Aherlow faithful into raptures

Aherlow 2-4
Loughmore / Castleleiney 1-6
Tipperary SFC Final

In the words of Aherlow's famous commentator Eddie Moroney, there was a big night in the Glen last night as the West Tipp club struck late to win their second county title following a gripping game against Loughmore/Castleiney at Semple Stadium yesterday.

Classy Tipperary sharpshooter Barry Grogan proved to be the hero of the hour as he kicked a long-range point three minutes into added time to complete the comeback after his side had trailed by four points at the break.

After narrowly losing last year's final, it was a deserved win for Aherlow. They forced the issue for much of the game but over-elaboration in possession and 11 wides made their victory a lot harder than it should have been.

Aherlow, managed by former Limerick and Laois boss Liam Kearns, struggled to contain Loughmore's Micheal Webster in the first half as he kicked an early point before playing a key role in two further scores for James Egan.

It took Aherlow 17 minutes to register a score and when it came it was timely, as Conor O'Shea poked home their first goal after Loughmore 'keeper David McGrath had made a fine save from Bernard O'Brien.

Tom King restored Loughmore's lead before Webster again came to the fore, as he was at the heart of the move which saw Cian Hennessy find the back of the net in the 24th minute.

Loughmore's four-point half-time lead was maintained until the 44th minute when Tipp star Grogan showed great strength to gather a high ball under pressure and flash an excellent shot to the net.

Loughmore's only score of the second half came via the boot of John Scully, but the sending-off of James Egan -- for a second yellow card -- with 10 minutes remaining put them under even more pressure as Aherlow sensed an opportunity to snatch the crown.

Grogan levelled with a free with six minutes to go and deep in injury-time, following a foul by Aidan McGrath which saw him pick up a second booking to reduce Loughmore to 13 men, Grogan played a one-two with Thomas Hanley before firing over from 45 yards to steal the title and send the Aherlow fans into raptures.

Scorers -- Aherlow: B Grogan 1-4 (0-2f), C O'Shea 1-0.

Loughmore: C Hennessy 1-0, M Webster, J Egan (0-1f) 0-2 each; T King, J Scully 0-1 each.

Aherlow -- B Moroney; M O'Brien (Capt), J Hennessy, M Hanley; S Mullins, Ciaran McDonald, Chris McDonald; C Dillon, S Moloney; B O'Brien, B Grogan, L Coskeran; C O'Shea, S Grogan, D Peters. Subs: T Hanley for O'Shea (39), D O'Shea for B O'Brien (41).

Loughmore/Castleiney -- D McGrath; T Long, E Connolly, W Eviston; A McGrath, C McGrath (Capt), T King; D Kennedy, J Scully; J Egan, L Treacy, N McGrath; L McGrath, M Webster, C Hennessy. Subs: P Brennan for Scully (53), J Meagher for Hennessy (60), Derek Bourke for Treacy (60).

Ref -- B Tyrrell (Clonmel Commercials).

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