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*Joint captains David Gough and Cian Nolan in action for Smith O’Briens. Photograph: Ruth Griffin

Smith O’Briens are one win away from a return to the senior ranks, eight years after suffering relegation from the top tier.

Smith O’Briens 0-15
Tulla 0-10
Venue: O’Garney Park, Sixmilebridge

By Derek Dormer

Considering two teams from this years senior ranks are destined for relegation the importance of winning the intermediate championship has never been more critical. With the strength of clubs coming down the quest to return to senior will only be getting more difficult, knowledge of this only heightening the tension before throw in a rain soaked O Garney Park.

With incessant rain and a strong wind bound to have an effect it was a question of which team would adapt better to the prevailing conditions. A powerful second half display by the Killaloe men proved decisive in this no holds barred contest full of tenacious tackling hooking and blocking throughout.

At the end of the opening quarter, Smith O’Briens led 0-03 0-02 but from here until half time Tulla completely took over. Two sensational scores from wing back Padraic Mulconroy added to by two Sean Withycombe frees gave Tulla a deserved half time lead of 0-07 0-04.

However eight wides would prove costly as Tulla were completely dominant for a twenty minute spell and really should have scored more.

Whatever was said at half time definitely worked the oracle as Smith O’Briens completely took over. They were rampant and tenacious in their approach rattling off six unanswered points including an unbelievable team score involving five short passes which freed up man of the match Eddie Bourke who split the posts.

The third quarter ended with Smith O’Briens leading 0-10 0-07 with Tulla failing to register even an attempt at a score such was the dominance of the Killlaloe men.

On the resumption a terrific David McInerney run created a goal chance for Darragh Corry who shot agonisingly wide. The sides traded scores and entering injury time it was a one score game, however Smith O’Briens were not to be denied and a late brace from Micheal O’Shea ensured joyous scenes on the touchline and in the stands.

Overall a well deserved victory with a tremendous work ethic being the defining ingredient in their pursuit of senior hurling Colossal performances from Eddie Bourke and Micheal O’Shea being the highlight while Padraic Mulconroy and Darragh Corry battled hard for Tulla.

Scorers Smith O’Briens: Micheal O Shea (0-5), Eddie Bourke (0-3), Tommy Reddan (0-3 1f), Michael Gough (0-1), Micheal Ryan (0-1), Jason Monaghan (0-1), Pa Aherne (0-1)

Scorers Tulla: Ronan Molloy (0 -3 1f), Sean Withycombe (0-2 2f), Padraic Mulconroy (0-2), David Meehan (0-1), Darragh Corry (0-1), Feargal Kearney (0-1)

Smith O Briens
1: Mark McInerney

2: Evan Connolly
3: Cian Nolan
4: Mark Stritch

5: David Gough
6: Cathal Stritch
7: Eddie Bourke

20: Dwayne Sheedy
9: Marc O’Halloran

10: Keith Stritch
11: Micheal Gough
12: Micheal O’Shea

13: David O’Shea
14: John Cusack
15: Tommy Reddan

Subs:
18: Patrick Aherne for John Cusack (20)
8: Micheál Ryan for Evan Connolly (40)
21: Kevin Walsh for David O Shea (47)
17: Jason Monaghan for Micheal Ryan (59)
19: Caimin Quigley for Marc O Halloran (60)

Tulla
1: Daniel Vaughan

2: Kevin Conlon
3: Paul Lynch
4: Liam McInerney

5: Jimmy O’Gorman
6: Sean Torpey
7: Padraic Mulconroy

8: David Meehan
9: Ronan Molloy

10: Dan Withycombe
11: David Mcinerney
12: Darragh Corry

13: Sean Withycombe
19: Shane Hunt
17: Andrew Conheady

Subs
27: Eanna Torpey for S Withycombe (50)
20: Niall Bolton for Conheady (57)
31: Feargal Kearney for S Torpey (60)
14: William Halpin for Hunt (60)
18: Cathal Dinan for D Withycombe (60)

Referee Kevin Corry (Sixmilebridge)

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