Corner back JJ Ryan on the ball for Tullogher Rosbercon. Pic: Willie Dempsey
Unlike Saturday’s first semi-final of the Kilkenny Honda Centre Minor A championship between Dicksboro and James Stephens which was competitive for forty minutes, the second semi-final between Tullogher Rosbercon and Bennettsbridge on Sunday morning at the MW Hire Centre, Dunmore was effectively decided by the first water-break when Tullogher Rosbercon led by ten points.
Bennettsbridge were forced to line out without 2021 Kilkenny minor full-back Bill Hughes who was nursing a shoulder injury. His absence was a big loss to Bennettsbridge but throughout the pitch the Southerners were strong in every sector and they dominated the game from the throw-in.
An early pointed free from Timmy Kelly put the ‘Bridge ahead for the one and only time in the game. Within a minute, another of this year’s Kilkenny minor hurlers Danny Glennon equalised from a free for Tullogher and they never looked back after that score.
Three goals in a seven-minute spell before the first water-break put Tullogher in firm control of the game. The first came from impressive wing forward Marty Murphy who plucked the sliothar out of the sky from a puck-out and ran fifty metres to score. The second came from Danny Glennon after a neat pass from Niall Mooney, while the third was also scored by Marty Murphy after good build up play among several attackers.
Bennettsbridge never recovered from those three goals and while they were more competitive in the second quarter, goals were required to narrow the margin between the teams. And with Tullogher defenders Cathal Mooney and Lar Murphy commanding in central roles, few scoring chances came the Bridge’s way.
Timmy Kelly was unerring from frees for the ‘Bridge but it took until the twenty-fifth minute to get their first score from play, a point from Charlie Fitzgerald.
It got no better for Bennettsbridge in the second half despite the side working hard to get back into the game. Points from Jack Campion and Paddy Walsh (2) narrowed the margin, but a fourth Tullogher Rosbercon goal from Danny Glennon ensured that there was no way back for the ‘Bridge boys.
Tullogher’s physical strength in key positions was key to their impressive performance. With an abundance of strong hurlers in their team, their work rate and combination play were superior to their opponents.
Marty Murphy continued to impress in the fourth quarter grabbing two more points and so too did team captain Danny Glennon who was a constant threat all through the game.
Three points from Bennettsbridge midfielder Jack Campion was just reward for a strong second half performance from the young player.
Dicksboro will rightly enter the upcoming county final as favourites, but what a great achievement for Tullogher Rosbercon to have reached a Minor A final. The Southerners have a strong central spine to their team, and they are not lacking in confidence as evident by their impressive semi-final performance against Bennettsbridge.
Tullogher Rosbercon- Andre Murphy; JJ Ryan; Cathal Mooney; David Kennedy; Aidan Lawlor; Lar Murphy (0-2, Frees); Padraig Dooley; Jamie Lyng; Kevin Aylward; Marty Murphy (2-2); Ryan Murphy (0-1); Niall Mooney; Jack Handrick (0-2); Danny Glennon (Capt.) (2-9, 0-3 Frees); Dean Kinsella. Subs – Finn Kelly; Fiona Connolly; Sean Ryan.
Bennettsbridge- Jack Forristal (Capt.); Conor Molloy; Joe Hughes; Sean Byrne; James Hughes; Kyle Ryan; Gearoid Kent; Paddy Walsh (0-2); Jack Campion (0-4, 0-3 Frees); Stephen King Koehler; Timmy Kelly (0-3 Frees); Charlie Fitzgerald; Noah Walsh Brennan; Bill Nolan; Oran Reddy. Sub – Luke McBride.
Referee – Colin Tobin (Youg Irelands).
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