Senior Hurling 2006
Tipperary GAA Yearbook 2007 pp 49-51
Hot favourites, Toomevara, turned in a powerful second-half performance at Semple Stadium on October 22 to recapture the Dan Breen Cup. In doing so they became the first holders of third Dan Breen Cup, which was presented to the Tipperary county board by the Third Tipperary Brigade Old IRA, as a replacement for the second cup, which had been in circulation since 1972. During the first half Nenagh Eire 6g put in a spirited display to lead by 2-10 to 0-11 at the interval. But, already before the interval, there were signs that Toomevara were improving and they showed it in no uncertain manner, when they tore into the game on the resumption and confined their opponents to a mere four points during the half.
There was no change from 2005 in the format of the county senior hurling championship. The number of teams taking part was reduced by one with the decision of the Golden-Kilfeacle / Eire Og combination not to affiliate in 2006. There was one other change with the relegation of Templederry and the promotion of Burges. It meant there were twenty-five teams in the championship, nine from the North, Borrisoleigh, Kildangan, Kilruane MacDonaghs, Moneygall, Nenagh Eire Og, Portroe, Roscrea, Burgess and Toomevara, seven from the Mid, Boherlahan-Dualla, ]. K. Brackens, Drom Inch, Holycross-Ballycahill, Loughmore-Castleiney, Thurles Sarsfields, and Upperchurch-Drombane, five from the West, Cappawhite, Cashel, Clonoulty-Rossmore, Galtee Rovers and Kickhams, and four from the South, Ballingarry, Carrick Swan, Killenaule and Mullinahone.
Under the system there was a direct link between the divisional and county championships. Beforehand it was determined that there would be two semi-finals in the North and one from the Mid for county championship purposes, even though the divisions differed in their naming of rounds.
Round One proper took place in the divisions and it saw fourteen teams qualifying for the Round Robin as a result of losing their first-round games. The North provided five teams, Moneygall, Portroe, Nenagh, Burgess and Kilruane, the Mid four Thurles, Holycross, Loughmore and J. K. Brackens, the West three, Cashel, Cappawhite and Galtee Rovers, and the South two, Ballingarry and Carrick Swans.
These teams were divided into four groups two with three teams each and two with four.
Group 1 included Thurles Sarsfields, Cashel King Cormac's and Burgess, with the latter coming through.
Group 2 included Ballingarry, Holycross-Ballingarry, Nenagh, Eire Og and Galtee Rovers, with Nenagh coming through.
In Group 3 were Kilruane MacDonagh , Loughmore-Castleiney and Portroe, with Loughmore heading the group on points.
Group 4 included Moneygall, Carrick Swans, J. K. Brackens and Cappawhite, with Moneygall winning out on points .
The four Round Robin winners were drawn against the divisional semi-final runners-up. As there were only three semi-finalists, Nenagh Eire Og were given a bye to the next round. Borrisoleigh defeated Burgess by 2-12 to 0-16, Loughmore-Castleiney defeated Roscrea by 1-10 to 0-8, and Upperchurch and Moneygall drew at 2-19 each. In the replay Moneygall were convincing winners by 4-10 to 2-8
The next stage was the winners versus the divisional final runners-up. In the meantime the divisions had completed their business.
The West were ahead of the rest with their final taking place at Golden as early as July 9. This game, between Kickhams and Clonoulty-Rossmore, was one of intense commitment and saw Kickhams come out on top by 1-14 to 0-12 to take their seventeenth title. The winners led by 1-6 to 0-5 at the interval and celebrated their first victory out of five attempts since the arrival of the Millennium.
Drom-Inch bridged a twenty-two year gap when they won their third Mid title, defeating Boherlahan-Dualla by 3-13 to 0-16 at Holycross on July 30. The game seemed to be going Boherlahan's way in the first half when, with the aid of a strong breeze, they went on a point-scoring spree, but Drom had the capacity to get goals at vital stages so that Boherlahan had only two points to spare at the interval, when they led by 0-12 to 2-4. The game remained close in the second half until the introduction of Seamus Callanan nine minutes from the end, titled the game in Drom's favour and they went on to win by 3-13 to 0-16.
On the same day Mullinahone regained the South title when they defeated Killenaule by the minimwn margin, 2-14 to 1-16, at Clonmel. Ahead by six points with eleven minutes on the clock, Mullinahone were almost caught by a resurgent Killenaule side, who were determined not to lose the trophy they claimed last year after a fifteen-year gap. Killenaule led by 0-10 to 1-6 at the interval.
The North was the third final to be played on July 30. Toomevara were heading for their thirty-first title, when they took on Kildangan, looking for their first since 1943, at Nenagh.
Although they had the breeze in the first half, Kildangan were behind 0-8 to 0-5 at the interval. It looked set to be an easy victory for Toomevara as they went further ahead soon after the interval, but Kildangan came back against the odds to leave them only a point behind after fifty-five minutes. Sensing danger, Toomevara appeared to accelerate and went on to win by 1-15 to 0-12.
The losing divisional finalists had now to meet the winners that came through from the previous qualifiers. These games were played on the weekend of August 26/27. As if proving the difficulty teams have coming back from defeat, three of the four beaten divisional finalists were to lose. The exception was Kildangan, who defeated Moneygall by 0-16 to 0-15 at Nenagh on August 26, while Nenagh Eire Og got the better of Killenaule by 2-15 to 2-14 at Templemore on August 27, Loughmore-Ca stleiney defeated Boherlahan-Dualla at The Ragg by 2-18 to 2-8 on the same day, while Borrisoleigh defeated Clonoulty-Rossmore by 3-16 to 1-6 at the same venue, also on August 27.
The stage was now set for the quarter-finals, in which the above winners were pitted against the divisional champions. Three of the champion teams came through, the exception being West champions, Kickhams, who went down to Nenagh Eire Og at Templemore on September 23. In the second game at the same venue, Mullinahone came through by 1-14 to 1-12 against Kildangan. The other two games were played at Nenagh the following day. Toomevara got the better of Loughmore-Ca stleiney by 2-18 to 2-15, while in the local derby, Drom Inch pipped neighbours, Borrisoleigh, by 2-9 to 1-11.
The winners had two weeks to prepare for the semi-finals, which were played at Semple Stadium on October 8. The consensus going into these games was that Drom Inch should get the better of Nenagh Eire Og and that Toomevara would prove too good for Mullinahone . The games told a different story.
In the first game Nenagh Eire Og put an undistinguished opening quarter behind them to take control of the game. The player who helped them turn the game about was full-forward, Noel Maloney, who put them into the lead for the first time with his twenty-seventh minute goal, and he grabbed the limelight again in the forty-second minute with a second goal that clinched victory. Drom-lnch led by 0-6 to 0-3 after eighteen minutes but the North side dominated the second quarter to lead by 1-8 to 0-7 at the interval. Drom appeared to regain the initiative with two point s soon after the interval, but Nenagh regained control and, despite a Drom goal by Seamus Callanan in the fortieth minutes, which reduced the margin to the minimum, 1-11 to 1-10, Nenagh maintained the momentum and Moloney's second goal gave them a massive boost at a critical juncture sending them on to win by 2-14 to 1-13.
The second game saw Mullinahone , apparently heading for a surprise win, ambushed by a sucker goal in the final seconds of the game. Ironically, Mullinahone had come back twice from goals earlier in the game to regain the initiative, and then they had to endure a third killer goal when there was no time left for them to recover. When Tommy Dunne shot a goal in the tenth minute to put Toomevara ahead by 1-3 to 0-2, there was a fear that Mullinahone might crumble. Instead they responded well and led at the interval by 0-10 to 1-6. Toomevara re-started brightly, scoring 1-2 without reply, but again Mullinahone responded brilliantly and with five minutes remaining the sides were level. During this period Mullinahone showed
themselves at their best, scrap ping for every loose ball and challenging with renewed vigour. Eoin Kelly scored twice during this period and his side seemed heading for victory until Paddy O'Brien rifled his twenty metre free into a packed net in the third minute of added time. It was a dramatic win for Toomevara and a cruel, cruel ending to Mullinahone's aspirations.
So it was Toomevara and Nenagh Eire Og for the final at Semple Stadium on October 22. The previous all-North final in 1999 was also between the sides. Toomevara were playing in their eleventh decider over a period of fifteen years, losing only one, to Boherlahan-Dualla in 1996. During the same period Nenagh were contesting their fourth, losing to Toomevara in 1993 and 1999, and beating Boherlahan-Dualla in 1995.
Toomevara were general favourites before the final. The overall quality of their players, the strength in depth of their panel and their ability to win games when the chips were down, made them superior to Nenagh in the minds of most people. However, it was Nenagh who held the advantage in the opening half and led by 0-8 to 0-5 at the end of the first quarter. They went even further in front in the nineteenth minute, when Noel Maloney blasted to the Toomevara net following a good movement involving Hugh Maloney, John Kennedy and Paul Ryan. As if sensing danger Toomevara responded quickly and scored four points to Nenagh's one in a five-minute spell. But Nenagh got a new lease of life in the twenty-eighth minute when Michael Heffernan got their second goal to give them an interval lead on 2-10 to 0-11.
Whatever happened in the Toomevara dressing room during the period had a transforming effect on the side. Four unanswered early points showed they meant business but it wasn't until John O'Brien scored a delightful goal for them in the seventeenth minute that they went ahead, 1-17 to 2-13. Nenagh never recovered from that blow and in the closing stages Toomevara added to their advantage to finish comfortable four points clear at the end, on a scoreline of 1-21 to 2-14.
Thomas Dunne became the first man from the club since Martin Kennedy in 1930 and 1931 to captain two winning teams. By a strange coincidence, in 1931 the Dan Breen Cup was presented for the first time. On this occasion the Toomevara captain became the first man to receive the third Dan Breen Cup. John O'Brien received the Man of the Match award.
Toomevara: James McGrath, Barry Dunne, Tony Delaney, Paul McGrath, Terry Dunne (0-1), Benny Dunne (0-1), David Young (0-1), Eoin Brislane, Ken Dunne (0-7), Michael Bevans (0-2), Francis Devanney (0-2), Thomas Dunne (0-1) (capt.), Paddy O'Brien (0-1), John O'Brien (1-4), Willie Ryan (0-1).
Subs: David Kennedy for Brislane, Joey McLoughney for Young, John Delaney for Ryan. Also: Andrew Ryan, Brian McCormack, Kevin Cummins, Jamie Quigley, Paddy Tuohy, Denis Kelly, Thomas McCarthy, John Boland, Padraig Hackett.
Nenagh Eire Og: Michael McNamara, Stephen Ryan, John Brennan, Hugh Flannery, Hugh Maloney, Richie Flannery (capt.), Eoin Fitzgibbon, John Kennedy (0-1), John Flannery, John Slattery (0-1), Paul Ryan (0-4), Eddi e Tucker (0-1), Kevin Tucker (0-4), Noel Maloney (1-0), Michael Heffernan (1-0). Subs: Michael Hackett for Heffernan. Also: Sean Healy, Alan Kelly, Robert Tomlinson, David Hackett, Declan O'Meara, Conor Kirwin, Conor Brennan, Liam O'Gara, Brian Fitzgibbon, David Lawlor, Brian Maxwell, Brian Dillon, Eamon Hodgins, John Donnellan, Mark Flannery, Shane Maher, Patrick Murphy.
Referee: Richie Barry (Cappawhite).