County Senior Football Quarter Finals
By Michael O Connor .
All Ireland finalists versus Munster intermediate finalists. This was the line up for the final quarter final in the 2010 Clare SFC. Kilmurry Ibrickane v Cratloe. Another twist would be to call it the clash of champions namely in senior football and hurling. A view existed that whilst Cratloe would test the North Clare side the result would go against them by five points. The reality was entirely different.
The opening salvo resulted in a wide for the South Clare side as Paul O Connor was on the ground for two minutes with an injury before resuming. The resulting kickout saw Brendan Bugler gain possession and the Clare hurler pointed from 35 yards for the opening score. Within a minute Mark McCarthy had the ball over the Cratloe bar after a free on Paul O Connor.
Cratloe dominated with relative ease the game for the following ten minutes and bar dreadful shooting Kilmurry Ibrickane would have been three down at the end of the first quarter. Paul O Connor who had never recovered from the earlier knock was replaced by Stephen Moloney in the 17th minute. Robert Conlon and Brendan Bugler each kicked wides as the county champions also kicked two frees wides as the standard of fare did little in terms of excitement and open play. 15 minutes elapsed between scores before Noel Downes in receipt of a fast delivery to the corner evaded Sean Chaplin and made no mistake as Kilmurry went a point clear.
The sides were level in the 22nd minute as Cratloe worked the ball well across the field with Sean Hynan delivering the killer pass to the unmarked Conor Ryan. Mark McCarthy restored the lead for Kilmurry Ibrickane as Cratloe conceded another scorable free. From Cratloe’s perspective they can count themselves fortunate that their opponents kicked three wides from frees in the first half. As the game entered the final two minutes of normal time Conor McGrath won a free converted by Liame Markham as for the fourth time the sides were level on (0-3) apiece.
A major let off occurred for Kilmurry Ibrickane on the stroke of normal time when Conor McGrath released the onrushing Ryan who in turn released Liam Markham whose deft chip under pressure cannoned off the crossbar for the lead point for Cratloe. This remained the case as Cratloe led (0-4) to (0-3) at the interval and growing in confidence with every play.
This confidence was dented through aggressive fast play in the opening minutes from Kilmurry Ibrickane as Enda Coughlan and Stephen Moloney kicked scores in the first two minutes of the new half. The equaliser for Cratloe came through a well taken Liam Markham free before a small skirmish resulted in Paudge Collins and the soon to be subbed Evan Talty receiving yellow cards. A breaking ball in the Cratloe defence was put over the bar by the alert Mark McCarthy in the 39th minute. A fast ball into Mark McCarthy drew the foul from David Ryan and McCarthy made no mistake from the free to send the county champions two clear after 42 minutes.
Kilmurry Ibrickane went three clear from an Odran O Dwyer but this lead was shortlived as great combination work from the Cratloe trio with Kilmihil roots namely the Collins and Oige Murphy ended with Paudge Collins scoring a tight angled score. Odran O Dwyer kicked his sides 12th wide as the tempo of proceedings had increased and favouring Cratloe’s pace.
The score that spectators were waiting for came about when a long speculative ball McGrath straight down the centre found Markham who finished to the net from 14 yards as Cratloe went two clear for the first time in the game. Pressure from Kilmurry Ibrickane drew due reward with two scores in a row from Enda Coughlan and Noel Downes that swung the lead back their way, (0-10) to (1-6) with five minutes of normal time to enact. Cratloe were starting to panic losing their normal composure, kicking three wides and giving away possession. Kilmurry brought their tally of wides to 15 as a last gasp attack from Cratloe did not create another draw which is all the fashion in Clare football at the moment.
Best for the winners who were genuinely thankful to have escaped from headquarters with the result in their favour included Shane Hickey, Mark Killeen, Enda Coughlan, Mark McCarthy, Noel Downes, Declan Callinan and Darren Hickey. Cratloe whose will be a force to come in the football for years to come on this display had solid displays from Barry Duggan, Michael Hawes, Conor Ryan, Paudge Collins, top scorer Liam Markham, Conor McGrath who had to go too far our to get possession, David Ryan and Sean Hynan.
KILMURRY IBRICKANE: Peter O Dwyer, Darren Hickey, Mark Killeen, Martin McMahon, Evan Talty, Shane Hickey, Declan Callinan, Paul O Connor, Enda Coughlan (0-2), Michael O Dwyer, Ian McInerney, Peter O Dwyer, Mark McCarthy (0-4), Odran O Dwyer (0-1), Noel Downes (0-2). Subs: Stephen Moloney (0-1) for O Connor, Brendan Moloney for Talty, Niall Hickey for Moloney,
CRATLOE: Jamie Joyce, Sean Chaplin, Barry Duggan, David Ryan, Wesley DeLoughrey, Michael Hawes, Martin Oige Murphy, Conor Ryan (0-1), Brendan Bugler (0-1), Sean Hynan, Sean Collins, Robert Conlon, Paudge Collins (0-1), Conor McGrath, Liam Markham (1-3). Subs: Damian Browne for Conlon,
REFEREE: Michael McGann (Ml Cusacks).