Naas's James Burke- Photo Pat Tinsley
Tullaroan (Kilkenny) 3-17
AIB Leinster Intermediate Hurling Club Championship Semi-Final
It looked a difficult task on paper and so it proved as Tullaroan proved too to handle for Naas in the Leinster Intermediate Hurling Championship Semi-Final at Sean Lockes Gaa Club in Callan.
Tullaroan eventually got over the line in Kilkenny a few weeks ago after knocking on the door profusely and the club who have twenty Senior Titles to their name had too much class for Naas.
Naas were competitive throughout with the likes of James Burke, Brian Byrne and Jack Sheridan finding the target frequently but it was further back where the issues lied for the County Town as their back six struggled with Tullaroan’s ruthless attack.
Tullaroan essentially had the game wrapped up by the break when they found the net on three different occasions with Peter Walsh and Martin Keoghan on the double scoring.
Naas had got back to within five points entering first half stoppage time but Keoghan’s second goal really punctured Naas’s revival.
Naas as a result struggled to get anything going in the second half and Jack Sheridan’s late goal only served as a consolation.
Naas needed a good start but the opposite occurred as after Bill Gaffney pointed in the opening minute Tullaroan were soon four points clear when Peter Walsh offloaded to Martin Keoghan for him to finish past Jeff Keane.
Naas responded with a phenomenal sideline cut from Jack Sheridan on near halfway before Tullaroan hit back with an effort from Shane Walsh with the first of his eight points as the Kilkenny side opened up a 1-2 to 0-1 advantage.
The teams then exchanged scores with Brian Byrne knocking over two long range efforts for Naas on the back of Tullaroan points from Gaffney and Dylan Simpson.
Tullaroan looked very dangerous in attack and it wasn’t long before they added goal number two when Peter Walsh knocked a shot into the top corner.
Shane Walsh, Keoghan and Padraig Walsh then followed up with points and all of sudden Tullaroan were nine points to the good.
Naas kept plugging away though and they scored five of the next six points with a trio of Byrne scores being added to by Burke and Sheridan.
Shane Walsh got Tullaroan’s only point during that spell as Naas looked in contention but a stoppage time goal from Keoghan after Simpson had a shot saved by Keane left the Kilkenny Champions eight clear.
Byrne and Sheridan did hit back with Naas points before the break as Tullaroan led 3-7 to 0-10 at the interval.
Naas were slow starters in the second half after three Shane Walsh points pushed Tullaroan into a big lead and they also won a 34th minute penalty when Keoghan was fouled while shooting in the square but Dylan Simpson could only blast the shot wide of the goal.
Simpson didn’t dally on that miss for long though as he knocked over his second point minutes later to open up a double score lead.
Naas didn’t get their tally for the second half going until the 49th minute when Brian Byrne knocked over a free but instead of a momentum shift Tullaroan went up a level with Gaffney, Shane Walsh and John Walton getting successive points.
Tullaroan then emptied their bench in preparation for a final date with Offaly’s Seir Kieran and Naas quickly got 1-2 without reply with points from Byrne and sub John O’Malley followed up by a Sheridan goal.
Fittingly though Tullaroan finished in style with Gaffney and Shane Walsh rounding off on a comprehensive ten point success.
Tullaroan: Paul Buggy; Diarmuid Doheny, Tommy Walsh, Stephen Maher, Martin Walsh, Padraig Walsh 0-1, Jack Keoghan, Dylan Simpson 0-2, Mark Walsh, Bill Gaffney 0-4, Martin Keoghan 2-1, John Walton 0-1, Shane Walsh 0-8 (0-3fs), Tommy Walsh, Peter Walsh 1-1.
Subs used: Tomas Dunne for Keoghan 42 mins, Shane Cuddihy for Simpson 52 mins, Ken Coogan for M.Walsh 58 mins, Adam Talis for T.Walsh 58 mins, Stephen Dowling for P.Walsh 58 mins.
Naas: Jeff Keane; Paul Sullivan, Richie Hogan, Donie MacSweeney, Sean Gainey, Rian Boran, Simon Leacy, Shane Broderick, Cathal Dowling, James Burke 0-3, Ross Kelly, Conor Dowling, Shane Ryan, Brian Byrne 0-6 (0-4fs), Jack Sheridan 1-3 (0-1f).
Subs used: John O’Malley 0-1 for MacSweeney h-t, Mick Purcell for Conor Dowling h-t, Kevin Aherne for Ryan 58 mins, Mark Nevin for Broderick 58 mins, Eoin O’Hehir for Cathal Dowling 60 mins.
Ref: Sean Stack (Dublin)