Loughmore/Castleiney complete historic double with win over Aherlow Gaels
John McGrath leads the way at Semple Stadium
John McGrath scored 1-7 for Loughmore-Castleiney in the Tipperary SFC final against Aherlow Gaels. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan
Loughmore/Castleiney 3-10 Aherlow Gaels 0-9: Loughmore/Castleiney completed the first ever senior football and hurling double in Tipperary following a comfortable ten-point victory over Aherlow Gaels in yesterdays senior football final at Semple stadium, Thurles.
Manager Declan Laffan paid credit to his group of players, the majority of whom had been in action for the seventh consecutive weekend between both codes. “They are an unbelievable set of players. You give out about them when things don’t go right and they didn’t go right for us in the Mid championship but we got back to the field, regrouped . . . we really drove on from there.”
Two John McGrath frees had Loughmore off to a swift start and after Mark Hanley had a fine response for Aherlow, the Mid Tipp side struck for the only goal of the first half in the seventh minute as raiding wing back Tom King finished well .
While Loughmore had their noses in front, they were doing so through McGrath’s frees with the goal the only score they managed from play in the half, despite having plenty of promising attacks. Aherlow Gaels scored all bar one of their five first half points from play with Thomas Hanley, Thomas Fahey and Bernard O’Brien to the fore.
Leading 1-4 to 0-5 at the break, Loughmore took control early in the second half with an Aidan McGrath point being followed by John McGrath’s goal as Aherlow keeper Shane Leonard and defender Sean Mullins failed to deal with the dipping 45-metre delivery, which went all the way to the net.
Forced to take extra risks to get back into the game, Aherlow left themselves exposed at the back with Loughmore’s penetrating runs, more often than not yielded frees which McGrath converted while the midfielder was almost involved in the move for Evan Sweeney’s goal in the 50th minute.
Aherlow Gaels did manage four points in the final ten minutes as they played with great spirit to the end but had star forward Barry Grogan kept scoreless by man of the match John Meagher.
LOUGHMORE/CASTLEINEY: D Brennan; T Long, J Meagher, L Egan; T King (1-0), C McGrath, J Ryan; N McGrath, J McGrath (1-9, 1-7 frees, 0-1 45); D Kennedy, A McGrath (0-1), L McGrath; C Hennessy; M Webster, E Sweeney (1-0). Subs: D Bourke for Webster (22 mins), W Eviston for Kennedy (52 mins), T McGrath for A McGrath (56 mins), S Hennessy for C Hennessy (59 mins).
AHERLOW GAELS: S Leonard; S Russell, J Hennessy, E O’Meara; M Hanley (0-1), M O’Brien, S Mullins; S Grogan (0-1), T Fahey (0-2); T Hanley (0-2), B Grogan, L Coskeran; S Cunningham, C Dillon, B O’Brien (0-3, 0-1 free). Subs: M Russell for Dillon (16 mins), B Hanley for Mullins (38 mins), S Kiely for Cunningham , A Leahy for Coskeran (48 mins), T O’Donoghue for S Russell (58 mins).
Referee: D O’Mahoney (Ardfinnan).