Noel McGrath inspires Loughmore Castleiney to Tipperary hurling final win

The county senior shot 0-7 as Loughmore-Castleiney won out to day in Semple Stadium.

Loughmore-Castleiney captain Ciaran McGrath.
Loughmore-Castleiney captain Ciaran McGrath.
Image: INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

Loughmore-Castleiney 1-17
Nenagh Éire Óg 1-16

NOEL McGrath’s second half super show inspired Loughmore-Castleiney to a come from behind victory against Nenagh Éire Óg in this afternoon’s Clean Ireland Recycling Tipperary SHC final in Thurles.

Tipperary star McGrath shot six of his seven points after half-time as Loughmore-Castleiney came from six points down to claim the Dan Breen Cup for the third time.

Their first Tipperary crown since 2007 was secured with a stirring second half display, with McGrath and centre back John Meagher leading the charge.

On three occasions in the first half, Loughmore trailed by six points and by half-time, they had registered eleven wides.

In the second half, Loughmore were much more economical with their shooting, racking up just two, as Nenagh hit seven.

By the 14th minute, all six of Nenagh’s six starting forwards were on the scoresheet as the Blues stormed into a 1-5 to 0-2 lead.

The goal, in the 12th minute, was finished to the net by Paddy Murphy after Barry Heffernan’s long ball broke kindly for the full-forward.

At half-time, Nenagh were four points clear, 1-7 to 0-6, but Loughmore had the breeze at their backs for the second half, as 7195 spectators looked on.

Nenagh were awarded a 34th minute penalty when Ritchie Flannery was fouled but their leading scorer Mikey Heffernan skied his effort over the crossbar.

That point was Nenagh’s first score since the 19th minute but McGrath was soon grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck.

The 2010 All-Ireland senior medallist was just 16 in 2007 when Loughmore claimed their last county title and he stepped up to the plate once again on the local calendar’s biggest day.


Ciaran McGrath and Cian Hennessy celebrate at the final whistle
Pic: INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan

And midway through the second half, Noel’s cousin Liam, who captained Tipperary’s minor footballers to All-Ireland glory in 2011, grabbed the crucial goal.

Meagher supplied a pinpoint delivery but McGrath still had plenty to do as he plucked the ball out of the sky before burying a textbook goal at the Town End of Semple Stadium.

Loughmore were now ahead for the first time in the game but with four minutes remaining, Nenagh were back level at 1-15 apiece.

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In a grandstand finish, Ciaran McGrath and Evan Sweeney stepped up with the crucial points before Heffernan cut the deficit to just a single point with a free in stoppage time.

Nenagh piled forward in search of an equaliser but it never came and Loughmore held on to set up an AIB Munster quarter-final against Limerick champions Na Piarsaigh in a fortnight’s time.

Scorers for Loughmore-Castleiney: Noel McGrath 0-7 (0-1f, 0-1 ’65), L McGrath 1-2, A McGrath (0-2f) & C Hennessy 0-2 each, C McGrath, T McGrath, D Kennedy & E Sweeney 0-1 each.

Scorers for Nenagh Éire Óg: M Heffernan 0-7 (0-3f, 0-1 pen), P Murphy 1-2, P Morris 0-3, T Heffernan 0-2, A Coffey & R Flannery 0-1 each.

LOUGHMORE-CASTLEINEY: Shane Nolan; Tommy Long, Derek Bourke, Joseph Hennessy; Aidan McGrath, John Meagher, Tom King; Ciaran McGrath, Tomás McGrath; John McGrath, David Kennedy, Noel McGrath; Liam McGrath, Evan Sweeney, Cian Hennessy.

Sub: Micheál Webster for Kennedy (56).

NENAGH ÉIRE ÓG: Michael McNamara; Mark Flannery, Noel Maloney, John Brennan; Daire Quinn, Hugh Maloney, Billy Heffernan; Barry Heffernan, Kevin Tucker; Pearse Morris, Michael Heffernan, Tommy Heffernan; Andrew Coffey, Paddy Murphy, Ritchie Flannery.

Subs: Donncha Quinn for Billy Heffernan (52), Paul Ryan for Coffey (46), Johnny Slattery for Paul Ryan (60).

Referee: John McCormack (Knockavilla Kickhams).

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Jackie Cahill

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