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KILADANGAN VS LOUGHMORE
Loughmore-Castleiney vs Kiladangan. Sun 20th September Semple Stadium Thurles @ 2.00 pm. Live on TG4.
Has Kiladangan’s time finally, arrived? Finalist’s three times in the last five seasons they have been a model of consistency in the Premier County. if they are to get their hands on Tipperary’s Dan Breen, they will need to overcome formidable opponents in Loughmore Castleiney
The paths to the final have been somewhat contrasting with Kiladangan rarely troubled. They were paired in Group 1 with JK Brackens, Drom-Inch, and Roscrea. They won all three fixtures without ever hitting top gear. In the last eight, Toomevara put up a brave resistance, but they crushed Drom-Inch in the semi-final.
Loughmore had to emerge from the ‘Group of Death’ which included Moycarkey Borris, Thurles Sarsfields, and Kilruane MacDonaghs. They were soundly beaten by Pádraic Maher and Co, as Thurles ‘Sars’ topped the group. They survived courtesy of a nervy winner-takes-all clash with Kilruane – to advance to the last eight. Clonoulty-Rossmore were expected to be a real test in the quarter-final, but they folded meekly. In the semi-final, Loughmore brought their A-game when hammering a highly regarded Nenagh outfit. Incredibly they are on course for a double as they defeated a talented Moyle Rovers in the football semi-final. When you consider the small playing pool the parish has at its disposal, this is a remarkable feat.
Loughmore has lifted the cup on three occasions in 1988, 2007, 2013. They ended a famine in 2007 when lifting the cup after a 19-year hiatus: (1988-2007). For a team laden with talent, it is a poor return in terms of Tipperary senior titles. They love their hurling in Loughmore, but they love their football also. The marriage has not always been a smooth one, however. Keeping the show on the road week in-week out is a big ask. Noel and John McGrath are the standout players, They will be ably assisted by evergreen Evan Sweeney, John Maher, and younger McGrath sibling – Brian.
For Kiladangan a historic first title beckons. They returned to Tipperary senior ranks in 2005. In the previous season, they captured the county intermediate title and Munster intermediate cup. They then famously won the all-Ireland intermediate title beating Carrickshock of Kilkenny, in a dramatic final in Thurles. The club confirmed the return to the top tier by capturing a first North Senior title in 65 years in 2008. They will want to avoid making history of a different kind, however. Lorrha (1905, 1948, 1956, 1966, 1984) lost the five Tipperary senior finals they competed in.
Kiladangan took a heavy beating from Thurles in 2016. They were off-color last year against Borrisileigh. They will be keen to avoid a third loss in three finals. County stars Willie Connors and Alan Flynn are key men. Alan’s brother Paul is also a Tipperary panelist. Under-20 star Billy Seymour and club stalwart Joe Gallagher can be expected to put in huge shifts also. Loughmore would dearly love to emulate their 2013 Tipperary double-act. Kiladangan’s rise in Tipperary has been relentless. Can they handle the burden of history? The first title is by nature always the hardest to win. Can they finally seize the day? It promises to be a classic as history beckons these two fine sides.
KILADANGAN FINAL’S RECORD
2019 Borris-Ileigh 1-15 Kiladangan 1-12
2016 Thurles Sarsfields 0-27 Kiladangan 1-15
LOUGHMORE CASTLEINEY LAST TWO FINAL’S
2014 Thurles Sarsfields 2-22 Loughmore-Castleiney 3-11
2013 Loughmore-Castleiney 1-17 Nenagh Éire Óg 1-16