Ballygiblin win battle of neighbours to take Munster crown

A stream and a few miles separate their home pitches and though they are from different counties they would know each other well.
Ballygiblin win battle of neighbours to take Munster crown

Colin English, Ballygiblin in action against Skeheenarinky (Tipperary).

Ballygiblin 2-14 Skeheenarinky (Tipperary) 1-9

In the battle of the near-neighbours Cork's Ballygiblin came out on top in the Munster Junior hurling championship final at Mallow.

Sheer joy for the Cork side as their fans spilled onto the pitch afterwards to celebrate with their heroes.

A stream and a few miles separate their home pitches and though they are from different counties they would know each other well.

Most of them would have gone to school together in Mitchelstown and have won titles together there. But all that was forgotten as club loyalties took precedence in a game that was worthy of the occasion.

The demand for tickets was high and it was sold out well in advance of the day and such was the demand that crowd congestion meant the throw-in had to be delayed 15 minutes.

Ballygiblin had to start without midfielder Darragh Flynn who was a huge loss but it didn't put them off their game as they were the better of the sides early on. They were lifted even further when Flynn came on at half-time to help his side's cause.

Full forward Sean O'Sullivan, Ballygiblin in action against Skeheenarinky (Tipperary).
Full forward Sean O'Sullivan, Ballygiblin in action against Skeheenarinky (Tipperary).

They had some outstanding displays with Mark Keane controlling the defence from centre-back and in front of him, Joseph and Sean O'Sullivan tormented the Skeheenarinky defence all through.

Joseph O'Sullivan opened the scoring in the first minute from a free to put the Cork side in front, with Darragh Brennan getting Skeheenarinky off the mark. Tomás Vaughan added a second for the Tipp side before Sean O'Sullivan had them level again.

Dean Barry put Ballygiblin in front and a second free from O'Sullivan saw Ballygiblin lead 0-4 to 0-2 at the water break.

Nerves were playing their part with both sides guilty of missing some good scoring chances, which saw Skeheenarinky rack up eight wides by half-time as Ballygiblin had six.

Michael Walsh increased their lead on the resumption before Skeheenarinky raised a green flag to see the sides level again.

Noel Vaughan started the move, passing to John O'Callaghan who then played Maher in. His flick-on was doubled on by Adrian English to find the back of the net in a superb team move.

But Ballygiblin didn't panic, with Sean O'Sullivan putting them back in front, before another free from Joseph O'Sullivan made if 1-7 to 1-2.

Points from Tipp senior footballer Conor Sweeney and Vaughan had the sides back on level terms going into injury-time.

But a late pointed free from O'Sullivan saw the Cork side have a slender lead at the break, 0-8 to 1-4 and all to play for in the second-half.

Vaughan raised the first white flag of the second-half, with Joseph O'Sullivan pointing another free before the telling moment came.

Kieran Duggan, Ballygiblin in action on the forward line against defender Seamus O'Callaghan, Skeheenarinky (Tipperary).
Kieran Duggan, Ballygiblin in action on the forward line against defender Seamus O'Callaghan, Skeheenarinky (Tipperary).

A long free in from O'Sullivan was pulled on by Dean Barry and when the ball broke to Sean O'Sullivan his first-time pull flew past Skeheenarinky keeper Aidan Treacy, to put Ballygiblin 1-9 to 1-5 up with 38 minutes gone.

But Skeheenarinky weren't going away easily and two pointed frees from Vaughan reduced the deficit to two points by the second-half water break.

O'Sullivan pointed another free and added a second from play to put four points between the sides.

Any chance of a Skeheenarinky comeback was well and truly dashed in the 55th minute when Sean O'Sullivan pounced for his second goal to end this game as a contest.

Kieran Duggan added a point to put them 2-13 to 1-8 in front going into injury-time.

Noel Vaughan pulled a point back for Skeheenarinky and Sweeney had a shot on goal go narrowly wide.

Fittingly Joseph O'Sullivan got the last score as the bragging rights and Munster title went to Ballygiblin, who now move on to an All-Ireland semi-final.

Free taker Joseph O'Sullivan, Ballygiblin lines up a free against Skeheenarinky (Tipperary).
Free taker Joseph O'Sullivan, Ballygiblin lines up a free against Skeheenarinky (Tipperary).

Scorers for Ballygiblin: S O'Sullivan 2-2, J O'Sullivan 0-9 (7f, 0-1 65), D Barry, M Walsh, K Duggan 0-1 each.

Skeheenarinky: A English 1-0, T Vaughan 0-6 (6f), C Sweeney, D Brennan, N Vaughan 0-1 each.

BALLYGIBLIN: C Noonan; B O'Gorman, F Herlihy, M Lewis; B Coffey, M Keane, J Mullins; R Donegan, J O'Sullivan; D Sheehan, C English, M Walsh; K Duggan, S O'Sullivan, D Barry.

Subs: C O'Sullivan for B O'Gorman (25 inj), D Flynn for C O'Sullivan (ht), C O'Sullivan for K Duggan (59).

SKEEHEENARINKY: A Treacy; S O'Callaghan, D Hyland, E Morrissey; F Ó Súilleabháin, R O'Callaghan, O Brennan; J O'Callaghan, D Brennan; D Finn, M Maher, C Sweeney; A English, T Vaughan, N Vaughan.

Subs: T Sweeney for M Maher (ht), H English for D Finn (51), C English for A English (55).

Referee: John O'Halloran, Limerick.

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