There was relief for the victors, and a level of satisfaction for the losers after a game that went right down to the wire in Callan.
“We are happy to win in a tight game,” was the reaction from Carrickshock manager, Maurice Power, whose side needed a last minute penalty save to earn them victory in the first round of the senior hurling league.
Tullaroan were brave, and a young team produced some lovely bouts of hurling, but poor finishing and bad lapses in defence cost them dearly in the end.
Still, they were there chasing something to the finish. They were awarded a penalty in the 61st minute when the hugely effective Martin Walsh was fouled at the town end after fielding a long free from centre-back, Stephen Maher. Paul Buggy made perfect contact with the ball on the free shot, but his effort was well saved.
That save was the difference between the sides in the end.
“Tullaroan played well, “ Mr Power continued. “They had us in trouble at times. There was pressure to produce a result after last year’s county final defeat, so we are very happy with the win.”
Tullaroan, who have been whittle down to the bone by injuries and emigration, gave youth its fling. It promised great things early on. With Mark Walsh the lead man in attack, they charged into a 0-6 to 0-1 lead after 10 minutes.
The ’Shock, who were without the injured Richie Power (hamstring), were playing into the wind. They were struggling a bit. It took a strong drive by John Power (S) to punch a hole in the until then solid Tullaroan defence, and there to finish from close range was Brian Donovan. Suddenly the early zest and promise was lost from the losers game.
They were hauled back to terms twice subsequently, and at half-time a point from Mark Walsh, with an assist by Martin Walsh, earned them a slim interval lead of 0-9 to 1-5. Donovan’s score was a big one for the winners, because the they needed three frees from Jamie Power to further boost slim pickings.
For the new half Carrickshock moved Michael Rice into midfield - from centre-forward - and for a while he had a considerable influence on things as his side got on top. Michael Rohan got them off to a flyer when shooting a brace of point. John Power (L) added a third to edge them 0-9 to 1-8 clear by the 34th minute.
Within 60 seconds they had the ball in the net again. Brian Donovan providing a lovely finish after Michael Rohan worked the opening. The expectation was that Carrickshock would push on. They didn’t.
A 42nd minute goal by Shane Cuddihy helped Tullaroan draw level (2-10 to 1-13). The ’Shock picked up the pace again, and were rewarded with a point from John Power (L) and a goal from Michael Rohan (3-11 to 1-13). Surely they had it this time? No!
A 57th minute goal from the hard going Jack Keoghan brought Tullaroan right back into contention again. In the end the rescue bid failed, but that wasn’t the fault of the Walshs’, Mark, Martin or Padraig, nor young Keoghan or Stephen Maher either. Carrickshock’s best were Brian Donovan, John Dalton and Michael Rohan.
SCORERS: Carrickshock - Brian Donovan (2-2); Michael Rohan (1-3); Jamie Power (0-3, frees); John Power, Lismatigue (0-2); John Power, Stoneyford,Michael Rice, Paddy Mulcahy (0-1 each). Tullaroan - Mark Walsh (0-7, three frees, one 65); Jack Keoghan (1-1); Padraig Walsh (0-3); Shane Cuddihy (1-0); Martin Walsh (0-2).
Carrickshock - Emmett Dunphy, Richard Frisby, John Tennyson, David Franks, Niall Tennyson, John Dalton (capt), John Cahill, Michael Rice, Paddy Mulcahy, John Power (Lismatigue), Jamie Power, John Power (Stoneyford), Michael Rohan, Brian Donovan, Kevin Farrell. Subs - John Murphy, Pat Tennyson.
Tullaroan - Richie Butler, Michael Maher, Tommy Walsh (county player), Tommy Walsh (St Kieran’s College full-back), David Dowling, Stephen Maher, Richie Maher, Ken Coogan, Jack Keoghan, Mark Walsh, Martin Walsh, Padraig Walsh, Peter Walsh, Paul Buggy, Shane Cuddihy. Sub - Shane Walsh.
Referee - Paddy Neary (James Stephens).