Tullogher Rosbercon 2-15
It was a game fitting of the occasion.
Dicksboro were worthy winners, but only just, as they overcame a spirited and skillful Tullogher Rosbercon side at UPMC Nowlan Park on Saturday afternoon in the Kilkenny Honda Centre Minor ‘A’ Championship final.
It was agony for John Murphy and his side but Dicksboro’s class eventually prevailed as their dominance at this grade continues for another year.
Tullogher Rosbercon got off to the perfect start as full-forward and captain Danny Glennon made amends for an earlier missed free as he made no mistake with his second effort of the day from a free that he won after he was fouled when he was running through on goal.
Harry Shine responded with a relatively easy free on the 20-metre line to open his and Dicksboro’s account but the dangerous Glennon restored Tullogher Rosbercon’s lead with the first score from play and another easy free in front of the goal as they moved into an early 0-03 to 0-01 lead.
The Shine and Glennon show continued with Shine getting his first from play after good build-up play from Dicksboro and the equaliser came almost immediately after with another Shine free.
Shine got his fourth with a well-taken score from play, but Tullogher stemmed the brief Dicksboro tide thanks to a score from their own centre-forward Ryan Murphy, 0-04 to 0-04.
Glennon turned provider for his side when he batted the ball down for the onrushing midfielder Jamie Lyng who restored Tullogher’s lead with a fine score.
The early pace was frantic and frenetic from both teams as they were keen to make their mark on the biggest day in the minor hurling calendar.
Shine continued to lead the charge for Dicksboro with another point from play. While they were looking over-reliant on their star man in the opening quarter, wing-forward Matthew Kelleher lifted the scoring burden off Shine somewhat with a good effort from play before another Shine free left the scoreboard reading Dicksboro 0-07 to 0-05 Tullogher Rosbercon at the first-half water break.
Tullogher’s quick start was built upon by Glennon once again who got on the end of a breaking ball and expertly pulled on the sliotar to fire past Dicksboro goalkeeper Michael Clarke and give the southern club a deserved one-point lead.
Dicksboro full-forward Declan O’Farrell got off the mark as he pointed for the first time in the afternoon, but his counterpart Glennon showed his class once more with a free that just about had the distance to drop over the bar, giving Glennon 1-04 and Tullogher Rosbercon a 1-06 to 0-08 lead.
Again, Tullogher failed to build on a decent run of form as Kelleher equalised for Dicksboro with another well-taken score and Dicksboro midfielder Seán Kennan got the score of the opening thirty minutes from within his own half to move Michael Walsh’s side into the lead, 0-10 to 1-06.
Kelleher got his third and fourth of the afternoon soon after before Shine and Glennon exchanged frees as Dicksboro finished the half the stronger of the two sides.
Glennon and Shine continued to prosper from placed balls and a final Dicksboro point from wing-back Michael Stynes gave the town team a 0-15 to 1-08 lead at half-time.
Mikey Raggett and Kelleher got early scores for Dicksboro at the start of the second half, but the remainder of the quarter would be dominated by the team making their first ever appearance in a Minor ‘A’ final.
Centre forward and centre back Ryan Murphy and Lar Murphy got superb scores and Glennon continued his fine first-half form into the second with two excellent scores from play as they reduced the deficit to two points at the water break, 0-17 to 1-12.
A contentious but crucial moment in the game came at the beginning of the final quarter as a long ball found its way into past Michael Clarke and into the back of the Dicksboro net. The goal stood despite Dicksboro players, management and supporters all making the claim that the game should have been stopped for an injury to one of their players. Referee Paul Cahill ignored the claims and Tullogher had an unlikely lead.
Shine (x2) and Declan O’Farrell efforts restored Dicksboro’s lead but Tullogher refused to lie down irrespective of whether they were underdogs or not. Glennon increased his tally to 1-09 and Shine added and eleventh point to his name as both players remained razor sharp with their free-taking. Dicksboro led by 0-21 to 2-13 as a dramatic game came towards its equally dramatic end.
Glennon pointed a pressure free to reduce the deficit to a single point yet again but the outstanding Kelleher notched on another score from play as Tullogher could not get back on level terms.
Glennon once again made no mistake with a scoreable free as John Murphy’s side, who had already made history by getting this far, looked to go one step further but it wasn’t to be as the final whistle went before they had another opportunity to find the levelling point.
Heartbreak for a Tullogher Rosbercon team who did everything they could and more to. They fell just short but can hold their heads high in the knowledge that they have a group of players that leaves the club in a healthy state for years to come.
For Dicksboro, their remarkable form at this grade continues as they became three-in-a-row champions, a feat only achieved by Mooncoin and Dicksboro themselves previous to their 2019, 2020 and 2021 victories.