The County Senior Football Championship 2014
The county senior football championship of 2014 made history when it wasn't concluded until St. Stephen's Day. Fixed for the shortest day of the year the contestants, Cahir and Loughmore-Castleiney, played out a draw at Leahy Park, Cashel on that day and had to come back five days later to resolve it.
The championship was run on the same format as in 2013 but the success of the senior hurlers, the draw in the All-Ireland final and the relative success of the senior footballers meant that there weren't enough days on which to play the games involved. After the replay of the hurling All-Ireland the county board agreed to push ahead with the senior hurling championship in order to make the Munster Club deadline and to withdraw from the Munster Club championships in senior football and intermediate football and hurling
The championship was played in four groups with the winners of the groups making their way to the county quarter-finals and the second place teams facing the divisional champions or the next placed team in the preliminary quarter-finals, or failing that a bye. There was also a relegation element with the bottom team in each group playing off to decide on the two teams to go down to intermediate.
The four groups, two of four teams each and two of five teams, were as follows: 1. Aherlow Gales, Kilsheelan Kilcash, Galtee Rovers, Fethard; 2. Arravale Rovers, Clonmel Commercials, Cahir, Moyne-Templetuohy, Clonmel Óg; 3.Loughmore-Castleiney, J. K. Brackens, Ardfinnan, Thomas MacDonaghs, Ballyporeen; 4. Killenaule, Moycarkey-Borris, Moyle Rovers, Eire Óg.
It took twenty-nine games between May 5 and October 27 to complete the group games.. The respective group winners were Aherlow Gaels, Cahir, Loughmore-Castleiney and Killenaule and they qualified for the quarter-finals.
The second place teams, Kilsheelan Kilcash, Arravale Rovers, J. K. Brackens and Moyle Rovers played the divisional champions, Thomas MacDonaghs, Ardfinnan, Eire Óg and Galtee Rovers respectively, with Thomas MacDonaghs, Arravale Rovers, Eire Óg and Moyle Rovers coming out on top.
The stage was now set for the quarter finals. Two of these games were played on November 23. At Templemore Thomas MacDonaghs defeated Killenaule by 1-9 to 0-8 and Loughmore-Castleiney defeated Arravale Rovers by 0-12 to 0-9 at Holycross. The remaining two games were played a week later. At Ardfinnan, Aherlow Gaels defeated Moyle Rovers by 1-9 to 0-11 while Cahir 3-6 and Eire Óg 0-15 drew at Cashel. The replay took place at Cashel a week later with Cahir winning by 0-10 to 0-5.
The semi-finals were played on December 14. At Boherlahan Loughmore-Castleiney defeated Ahrlow Gaels by 3-5 to 0-8. The winners scored two goals in the opening quarter and Aherlow were chasing the game after that. Their pursuit wasn't helped by poor shooting with no fewer than eight wides in the seond half.
The second semi-final was played at Templetuohy and Cahir defeated Thomas MacDonaghs by 2-10 to 3-5. The winners were coasting with a lead of nine points midway through the second half when they were hit by 2-2 from MacDonaghs during a five-minute spell and had to use all their craft and experience to secure victory.
Fixed for December 21 at Leahy Park, Cashel the final attracted a sizeable crowd of 1,500 in very good conditions for the time of the year, In an exciting game Cahir appeared to have victory in their grasp when Loughmore-Castleiney's Cian Hennessy grabbed an equaliser in the 59th minute of the game. Following an early goal by Cahir's Robbie Costigan, Loughmore-Castleiney stormed into the game with two goals in the twefth and twentieth minutes to put daylight between the sides but Cahir came back with four unanswered points to lead by 1-6 to 2-2 at the interval. The second half was a close encounter in which the lead changed sides a number of times and a draw was probably a fitting result even though Cahir may have felt they left victory behind them.
Cahir: Brian Enright, Mikey O'Connor, Gerald Hally, Conor Casey, Sean O'Connor, Aidan Casey, Robbie Costigan (1-0), Eddie Kendrick (0-1), Liam Casey, Benny Hickey (0-3), Paddy O'Flaherty (0-1), Shane Murphy, Padraig Whelan (0-3), Dean Lonergan (0-2), James McGrath (capt.). Subs: Eoin Donaghy for Mikey O'Connor, Niall McKenna for Shane Murphy. Also: Evan O'Dwyer, Diarmuid Tarrant, Johnny McMahon, Tom O'Gorman, Liam Howard, Edmund Meehan, Noel O'Gorman, Ian Flannery.
Manager: Tom McGlinchey. Selectors: Colm O'Flaherty, Paul Frazer.
Loughmore-Castleiney: Dominic Brennan, Lorcan Egan, Willie Eviston, Tomás McGrath (0-2), Tom King, Ciaran McGrath, John Ryan, Noel McGrath, David Kennedy (capt.), Aidan McGrath, Cian Hennessy (1-1), Liam Treacy 0-2), Liam McGrath (1-0), Evan Sweeney, John McGrath (0-2). Subs: Joseph Nyland for Evan Sweeney, John Meagher for Lorcan Egan, Eamonn Connolly for David Kennedy. Also: Richie Maher, Derek Bourke, Tommy Long, Tommy Maher, Joseph Hennessy, Diarmuid Brennan, Shane Hennessy, Bill O'Connell, Henry Maher, Dinny Brereton, Brian McGrath, Paddy Moynihan, Eddie Connolly, Shane Nolan, Johnny Campion.
Manager: Declan Laffan. Selectors: Seamus Bohan, Pat McGrath. Trainer: Alan O'Connor.
Referee: Paddy Russell (Emly)
The replay was at Cashel on St. Stephen's Day and 1710 spectators braved the elements to watch an entertaining game, inn which Loughmore-Castleiney were crowned champions for the thirteenth time. Playing with the breeze in the first half they ran up a score of nine points to Cahir's 1-1. It was only in injury time that Paddy O'Flaherty got Cahir's goal but it gave them hope with the elements in their favour after the interval. However, all they could manage was 1-1 as Loughmore-Castleiney's workrate, determination and footballing savvy closed them down and ensured that the defending champions, who failed to score during the period, had a point to spare on a scoreline of 0-9 to 2-2 at the final whistle.
Loughmore-Castleiney: Dominic Brennan, John Meagher, Willie Eviston, Tom McGrath, Tom King, Ciaran McGrath, John Ryan, Noel McGrath (0-2), David Kennedy (capt.), Aidan McGrath, Cian Hennessy, Liam Treacy (0-2), Liam McGrath, Evan Sweeney (0-1), John McGrath (0-4). Subs: Eamonn Connolly, for Liam McGrath (bc), Derek Bourke for Liam Treacy, Joseph Hennessy for Noel McGrath (bc).
Cahir: Brian Enright, Mikey O'Connor, Gerald Hally, Conor Casey, Sean O'Connor, Aidan Casey, Eoin Donaghy, Eddie Kendrick, Liam Casey, Benny Hickey, Paddy O'Flaherty (1-0), Shane Murphy, Padraig Whelan, Dean Lonergan (1-2), James McGrath (capt.). Subs: Diarmuid Tarrant for Padraig Whelan (bc), Tom O'Gorman for Sean O'Connor, Niall McKenna for Conor Casey.
Referee: Sean Lonergan (Moyle Rovers)
Relegation included the bottom team in each group, Fethard, Clonmel Óg, Thomas MacDonaghs and Moycarkey-Borris. Because Thomas MacDonaghs were declared divisional champions in the North, they were not involved.
The three teams involved had to play a round robin of games with the highest team remaining senior. When the three rounds were completed the three teams had one win each. The relegation then went to a sudden death with Clonmel Óg drawn against Moycarkey-Borris. The latter won by 0-11 to 0-8 at New Inn on December 14 with Clonmel Óg relegated. Moycarkey-Borris then defeated Fethard by 2-9 to 1-4 at Boherlahan on December 21 to send the football team with the greatest number of senior titles into intermediate ranks for 2015!
Drom Inch were crowned intermediate champions at Boherlahan on St. Stephen's Day when they defeated Upperchurch-Drombane in the final and qualified for senior ranks in 2015.
Published in Dec 2014