*John O’Meara. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

JOHN O’MEARA from Sixmilebridge has managed Kiladangan to win the Tipperary senior hurling championship for the second time in their history.

Kiladangan prevailed over Thurles Sarsfields on Sunday in Semple Stadium in the replay of the Tipperary senior hurling championship final. They won on a score of 1-21 1-20 and set up a Munster semi-final with Clonlara on November 19th in Thurles.

Sean Hayes’ goal swung Kiladangan on their way to victory, on a day when Tipperary hurler Willie Connors hit 0-3 to see Alan Flynn lift the Dan Breen Cup.

Paying tribute to O’Meara, Flynn said, “he came in and took us on last year, it was the best thing that happened us. From Sixmilebridge in Co Clare, he came in with fresh eyes, he managed us and treated us with respect, he treated us like adults. I’m delighted you came to us and I can’t wait to work with you for the next couple of years”.

They lost last year’s final following a replay to Kilruane MacDonaghs, coming out on the wrong side of a 2-20 1-16 score.

Ex Wexford manager, Darragh Egan was part of O’Meara’s management alongside Sean O’Meara and former Tipperary footballer, George Hannigan, Kyle Kelly (S&C). On their way to winning the title, they defeated Toomevara managed by Lissycasey native Joe Hayes in the quarter-final.

Speaking following the win, John commented, “it was end to end and edge of the seat stuff. At half time we were disappointed to be down and our wide count was high and we possibly should have had a goal. Thurles had a great start with the goal from Paddy and we were six points down after fifteen minutes”.

He continued, “When we went two up early in the second half I thought we might push on but credit to Thurles they came back”. Sean Hayes’ green flag had been something he showed glimpses of all year, the provincial manager with Bank of Ireland said, “we had our way worked back into the game and up stepped Sean, he has done today what he has been doing all year for us”.

Thurles Sarsfields may have had thirty six titles in comparison to Kiladangan’s maiden title before the 2023 decider but it didn’t deter the club from Puckane. “The lads are very experienced, they’ve been here a lot of days and not every day has went their way when they have been here, we saw in the drawn match when we got a result without playing particularly well. Credit has to go them, they were coming off a low of losing a replay last year having been in position to win it, it is a credit to the work they have put in, they are a great club with great people in it”.

When they won their first championship in 2020, they were managed by Brian Lawlor who went on to coach the Newmarket-on-Fergus senior hurlers in 2022 when they exited at the quarter-final stage of the Clare SHC.

During his time as Sixmilebridge manager, John guided his native club to win three Clare SHCs in six years. They dethroned Newmarket-on-Fergus as champions in 2013 to win the title for the first time in eleven years and followed this up with final wins in 2015 against Clonlara and over Clooney/Quin following a replay in 2017.

His move to the Tipperary club followed a two-season spell over Limerick outfit, Patrickswell where his fellow Bridge man Sean Chaplin served as coach. In 2021, The Well reached the county final under their watch but the second season saw them eliminated in the quarter-finals to South Liberties.

A holder of two Clare SHC medals following Sixmilebridge’s wins over Éire Óg (2000) and Clarecastle (2002). He is a former Chairman, Secretary and Hurling Development Committee Chair of the club and was involved with their intermediate side who lost to Tulla in the 2022 semi-final.

In 1997, O’Meara was part of the Clare minor hurling panel crowned All-Ireland champions. He has previously coached the Clare minor hurlers and Éire Óg when they regained their senior status by winning the Clare IHC in 2011.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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