KILMURRY IBRICKANE...............0-12 CRATLOE...............1-9
By Michael O Connor.
From early season it was clear to many observers of the game that Kilmurry Ibrickane had their charges firmly fixed on ending the four year famine by their standards. For Cratloe, the hopes of a third championship for Colm Collins's charges were evidently in the eyes of most dealt a mortal blow with the injury received to Conor McGrath in the hurling semi final. As it transpired a very entertaining hard hitting final handled in the main with calmness by Rory Hickey ended in stalemate. Maybe Cratloe will feel that they had the greater of the more obvious chances to win the game as Kilmurry looked toothless in front of goal. It should lead to a more freeflowing replay unless defensive planners set up walls in front of Ian McInerney and Pierce deLoughrey.
An extremely average attendance at county grounds greeted both sides onto Cusack park for the 2016 final as the football supporters were far from enraptured with the final pairing. The loss of McGrath as well adding to the viewpoint that this tie was a foregone conclusion. Yet, who could bet against the talent of Cratloe for yielding an hour of inspiration against the North Clare citadel.
Kilmurry Ibrickane non playing captain Thomas O Connor led the parade so his side had the unusual feat of having 16 in the parade prematch.
Niall Hickey had the first effort for score but was well wide of Pierce DeLoughrey's goal with less than one minutes action as Cathal McInerney opened the scoring after he converted a free he won in the 2nd minute. There was little more than polite applause for the Cratloe point signifying the poor support for the dual club at the venue. A huge cheer came for Kilmurry's opening score as county star and 19 year old Keelan Sexton floated over a beauty for the equaliser in the 4th minute. Kilmurry goalkeeper Ian McInerney was called up by management for his sides second score from a placed ball 45m out after seven minutes before Cathal McInerney kicked over a stunning left footed effort to level the game for the second time after only eight minutes on (0-2) apiece.
The next real scoring opportunity fell to Kilmurry with a 45 won by Martin McMahon in the 11th minute that was sent over once more by Ian McInerney. David Collins with a smart effort from an acute angle levelled proceedings for the third time in the 13th minute. Keelan Sexton was on the end of a sharp four man Kilmurry move and his lobbing effort dropped over the Cratloe crossbar in the 17th minute. Within a minute the ball was in the Kilmurry net as David Collins teed up the inrushing McInerney who evaded one tackle and left footed the ball past Ian McInerney as Cratloe now surged (1-3) to (0-4) clear with ten minutes remaining in the half. Podge Collins added to this tally as now Cratloe were scoring with every attack. At this juncture it looked like Kilmurry were devoid of scoring power and depended on their goalkeeper for every free unless a pop over.
A mini disaster saw three Cratloe kickouts go astray with the Hickey brothers Shane and Niall kicking two in a minute as Mark McCarthy also profitted to level matters by the 26th minute on (1-4) to (0-7). The western side were now in the ascendancy as Cratloe were wishing heavily for the half time whistle. The play ebbed from end to end without any real scoring chance coming to fruition for either side as there were claims for Cratloe frees to no avail. Enda Coughlan spurned the easiest point chance of the half kicking wide before making amends setting up Michael Hogan for the lead point deep into injury time as Kilmurry Ibrickane went in (0-8) to (1-4) ahead at the break.
An altercation involving players, subs and officials attempting to break it up took place at the break as both teams went into for the break. It was indeed a most unsavoury incident and perhaps whilst it should not happen the new side entrances for both teams were not open so both teams went in the same old central entrance.
The first score of the new half fell to Keelan Sexton who kicked a point and was inches wide from a marvellous 20 metre effort a minute later that could have easily ended up in the top corner. Kilmurry were now two clear but two exceptional scores constructed by Podge Collins who was dominant at midfield and finished by Cathal McInerney and Conor Ryan levelled matters by the 40th minute before an attendance of 4450..
Newly introduced sub Noel Downes honoured his selectors faith in him with a fine score with his first touch in the 42nd minute and this feat was replicated by Cratloe sub Shane Gleeson seconds later as once more parity was shared by the teams for the sixth occasion. Keelan Sexton and Cathal McInerney exchanged frees by the 49th minute as the spectre of a replay loomed large over this fixture as now both sides were kicking efforts wide of the intended target. A Keelan Sexton free in the 53rd minute broke the deadlock as this side went a point ahead and indeed his colleagues hit two more wides as Cratloe now searched for the equaliser and indeed they did with a converted free in the 61st minute by Cathal McInerney to set up a mouth watering replay.
Scorers for Cratloe: Cathal McInerney 1-5 (3f); David Collins, Podge Collins, Conor Ryan, Shane Gleeson 0-1 each
Scorers for Kilmurry Ibrickane: Keelan Sexton 0-5 (2f); Ian McInerney (1f, 1’45) 0-2; Niall Hickey, Shane Hickey, Enda Coughlan, Michael Hogan, Noel Downes 0-1 each
KILMURRY IBRICKANE: Ian McInerney, Mark Killeen, Shane Hickey, Darren Hickey, Ciaran Morrissey, Martin McMahon, Darragh Sexton, Mark McCarthy, Keith King, Michael Hogan, Michael Dwyer, Niall Hickey, Keelan Sexton, Enda Coughlan Declan Callinan. SUBS: Noel Downes for Niall Hickey, Stephen Moloney for Hogan, Peter O Dwyer for McCarthy.
CRATLOE: Pierce DeLoughrey, Sean Chaplin, Barry Duggan, Michael Hawes, Martin Murphy, Antoin McFadden, Liam Markham, Conor Ryan, John Galvin, Stevie McHugh, Sean Collins, Conor Cooney, Cathal McInerney, Podge Collins, David Collins. SUBS: Enda Boyce for McFadden, Sean Hynan for Cooney, Shane Gleeson for McHugh.
Referee: Rory Hickey (Eire-og).
Good wishes for a speedy recovery to St Josephs Doora Barefield sub Jason Herbert who damaged his knee in the post game celebratory huddle of the Barefield players.