match report from the guardian on the port game
13-man Burgess hang on for stunning win
A free, three minutes into added time from Stephen Murray, handed 13-man Burgess a stunning victory over great rivals Portroe in a titanic North Tipperary Senior Hurling Championship clash on Saturday evening.
Despite the result, Portroe still progress to the quarter finals while Burgess bow out but you would have thought it was the other way round at the final whistle as Burgess celebrated an heroic victory despite playing the final 25 minutes (including injury time) with two men less following the sending off of full forward Brian Hogan for a second bookable offence. He joined Damian O’Brien on the sidelines after the wing forward was given a straight red card in the 30th minute for a high pull on Portroe’s Simon Kelly.
The red cards were only a part of a tempestuous derby clash which saw almost eleven minutes of added time played in of the first half due to a combination of injuries as well referee Anthony Sherlock having to deal with bouts of indiscipline from both sides. On at least two occasions, the Kildangan official could have issued red cards to players from both sides following dust-ups, which could well have calmed down proceedings.
The one-point victory, coupled with Templederry’s five-point defeat, wasn’t enough for Burgess to progress as they lost out to Templederry on a score difference of eight points. They will rue the defeat to Borrisokane for their failure to progress and will be frustrated as to how they couldn’t play with the same level of intensity six days’ apart.
The sight of the Portroe jersey was a factor in their added motivation and such was the level of their performance prior to the red cards, it wouldn’t be foolish to suggest that if Burgess had finished with 15-men they could have won by the margin needed to progress to the quarter finals.
The victory was laid in an outstanding defensive performance, spearheaded by centre back Donagh Maher who gave one of the great individual displays seen in the North Championship in recent years. Whether fielding high ball or snapping ball in tight situations, the Tipp defender was imperious as part of a dominant defence where Shane Maher was superb at full back also. John O’Dwyer, Peter Gill, Johnny Mulqueen and Michael O’Flaherty were also outstanding.
Tossy and Timmy Hogan got through an amount of work, particularly in the second half. In attack, watching Tipperary Under 21 manager Ken Hogan will have noted the display of Stephen Murray who added to his 13-point haul against Borrisokane with a further dozen but his workrate was impressive also.
Noel Gleeson was relocated to centre forward due to the absence of Tony Scroope and provided great leadership, scoring two points as did Brian Hogan who was proving an ideal target man prior to his sending off.
While still progressing to the quarter finals and a meeting with Roscrea, this is a defeat that could hurt Portroe going forward, particularly their inability to get control of the game despite having two extra men for 25 minutes.
The full back line was strong with Christopher O’Riordan, and O’Halloran brothers Noel and Dermot to the fore, giving great protection to goalkeeper Darren Gleeson who did get on the scoresheet with two longrange frees.
The half back line were solid with Simon Kelly and Michael Creamer giving little away while Colm Gleeson started brightly but shipped a very heavy challenge from teammate Noel O’Halloran in the first half which appeared to take the wind from his sails.
Jimmy Creamer was busy at midfield along with Justin Conroy but it was in attack where Portroe struggled against a superb Burgess defence with the starting forwards yielding just 1-3 from play. John Sheedy top scored with nine points while James Ryan was also to the fore in a creative sense. Michael Sheedy, David Gleeson and Dinny Hogan had their moments but they were all too rare while Mark Gennery was called shore early on.
Just seconds after the throw-in, the first flare-up developed but the referee opted to not to take any action. Darren Gleeson opened the scoring with a long range free and indeed eight of the first nine points came from frees with Stephen Murray converting four to three for Portroe’s John Sheedy.
The second major flare-up came in the eighth minute behind the Portroe goal with Noel O’Halloran and Brian Hogan receiving yellow cards while Darren Gleeson and Noel Gleeson were extremely fortunate not to have been sanctioned also.
Noel Gleeson got the first score from play in the third minute and added the second nineteen minutes later to put Burgess two points in front and they doubled the advantage by the 28th minute with points from Stephen Murray (free) and Brian Hogan.
Burgess were in control of proceedings but then lost Damian O’Brien to a straight red card. Darren Gleeson strode forward to convert the subsequent long range free.
In the substantial period of added time, the drama continued with Brian Hogan getting his second point before Portroe got back into contention with a fine goal. Dinny Hogan made a trademark catch ahead of Shane Maher and passed to John Sheedy who in turn played in David Gleeson to goal from close range. A Stephen Murray free was cancelled out by a Jimmy Creamer point from distance to leave Burgess 0-10 to 1-6 in front at half time.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Burgess continued to set the tempo with Stephen Murray converting two frees early in the second half to one for John Sheedy before Burgess were reduced to thirteen men in the 39th minute when Brian Hogan pulled on a dropping ball but missed and connected with the head Noel O’Halloran with Anthony Sherlock issuing a second yellow card.
It appeared an uphill struggle for Burgess but in the next four minutes they hit three points, all from Stephen Murray (including two superb efforts from play) to open a five-point lead as Portroe appeared bemused about how to use their extra men.
John Sheedy managed a badly needed score in the 48th minute but was cancelled out five minutes later by the score of the game, all of 65-metres out on the stand side from Donagh Maher.
With time running out, Portroe began their fight back with a John Sheedy free followed by an excellent James Ryan sideline cut. John Sheedy flashed a shot over from close range and when Michael Sheedy was fouled following a superb catch, John Sheedy converted and appeared to have earned a draw for his side in the second minute of added time.
However, there was one final twist as a Stephen Murray dash down the right wing was brought to an end 25-yards out and from right on the sideline, he split the posts from the free to earn a dramatic victory for his side.