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County Senior Football Final

posted 30 Oct 2017, 15:00 by John O'Sullivan

KILMURRY IBRICKANE..............1-14     CLONDEGAD.......................0-14

By Michael O Connor.

Title number 15 for Kilmurry Ibrickane  as Clondegad's maiden county final appearance ends in heartbreak knowing the chances were there but overworking the ball in scoring positions and one lapse in concentration allowing the only goal of the game to go against them and decide the 2017-18 home for the Jack Daly cup.

The injury time drama that saw Eire-og snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and granted the minnors from Naomh Eoin a Junior county crown were hoped by many to be a trial run for the senior decider in Cusack Park.

Clondegad had impressed greatly in the final twenty minutes against Miltown Malbay as Kilmurry Ibrickane edged past a lifeless Cratloe side that were selfish in forward play. Clondegad hit hard early on with James Murphy entering the ref's notepad in the 2nd minute. Indeed in the opening five minutes a number of high tackles were witnessed on both sides before Keelan Sexton opening the scoring from a free in the 3rd minute.

Tony Kelly was involved in two meandering runs that ended in a group  of  Kilmurry defenders as the estuary side looked toothless in attack against an apparently well drilled defence in the opening ten minutes. On a number of occasion the Kilmurry Ibrickane defenders were out first to the ball leaving Clondegad on the backfoot. Dermot Couglan and Darragh Sexton added scores to send the reigning champions three clear before Tony  Kelly got Clondegad on the scoresheet after 12 minutes. Gearoid O Connell rounded off a three man move with a glorious rightfooted 14th minute score. Stephen Moloney responded in like fashion by the 18th minute. The first real goal danger for any side was witnessed as  Niall Hickey's powerful effort was tipped off the crossbar by Liam Deasy. Evan Talty had to retire injured after a head injury received in a clash with Shane Brennan just before Gary Brennan set up Tadgh Lynch for a 23rd minute equaliser.

On the stroke of the start of four minutes injury time Stephen Moloney won a free converted by Keelan Sexton to sneak a point clear before Ian McInerney made  his way up from goal to send over a free as both side ended the first half with ten scores and ten wides to leave Kilmurry Ibrickane (0-6) to (0-4) ahead at the interval.

The game was only two minutes old into the second half when both sides were on the scoresheet as Kilmurry hit two courtesy of Keelan Sexton and Stephen Moloney  as Tony Kelly responded with the first score of the new half. The  roving nature of Dermot Coughlan saw him as a link man as Clondegad on a number of occasions carried the ball into contact losing it when scores were there for the taking. Keelan Sexton and Tony Kelly who was impressing with his third score were on target by the 36th minute to leave two between the sides as proceedings were up a notch quality wise on the opening half. Podge McMahon made the most of a half chance to punch the ball over the bar to leave the minimum between the sides. A crossfield  pass from Shane Brennan fell into the hands of Eoghan Donnellan who sent over the equaliser that lasted all of 30 seconds before Keelan Sexton raced clear to restore his sides supremacy on the scoreboard in front of an attendance of 4,916.

As the game trundled into the final quarter Kilmurry Ibrickane were beginning to hold the ball in the Clondegad half  of the pitch as Keelan Sexton, Ian McInerney (free) and Noel Downes added to what was now a (0-11) to (0-8) lead for the championship favourites.

With ten minutes  left on the clock Dermot Couglan set up Kilmurry sub Michael O Dwyer for a well taken point just after Gary Brennan had been on the scoresheet and just before Shane Brennan had another Clondegad point. This was as close as it got for Mike Hehirs men. Ian McInerney kicked over a free to restore a three point lead as Kilmurry were now running straight at the Clondegad goal. Peter O Dwyer who was the hero of the semi final with his first touch after being introduced sneaked the ball past Liam Deasy into the near corner to send Quilty six clear.

When one would have expected Kilmurry to drive on they surrendered ground easily and in the final analysis would have lost if they were playing a team with more county final experience. Podge McMahon narrowed the gap to five points before Martin McMahon with a perfect through hand pass set up Noel Downes but his effort came off the Clondegad post. Eoghan Donnellan from the next Clondegad attack made no mistake as now only four points separated the sides with the game descending into a battle all over the field with eventually Peter O Dwyer and Joe Neylon exiting the action on two red cards.

 Podge McMahon hit a point but Noel Downes kicked the insurance score with the game gone into injury time. Amazingly nearly 9 minute of same was played  as the last score of the day fell to another McMahon free. Had two more players received their marching orders there would have been little surprise as what had been an entertaining game for 45 minutes was mean spirited in the final 25 minutes of fare.

Best for the champions included Darren Hickey, Martin McMahon who was to the fore in leadership, Keith King, Stephen Moloney, Enda Coughlan, Keelan Sexton and Dermot Coughlan. Clondegad showed enough fire and effort to say they will be contenders in the seasons to come with a squad now used to county final fare.

KILMURRY IBRICKANE: Ian McInerney (0-3),  Darragh Sexton (0-1), Darren Hickey, Mark Killeen,  Shane Hickey, Martin McMahon, Evan Talty, Keith King, Mark McCarthy,  Niall Hickey, Michael Hogan, Stephen Moloney (0-2), Enda Coughlan,  Keelan Sexton (0-4), Dermot Coughlan (0-1). Subs: Thomas Lernihan for Talty, Michael O Dwyer (0-1) for Hogan,  Noel Downes (0-2) for N Hickey, Peter O Dwyer (1-0) for M McCarthy, Eamonn Bracken for Moloney, Darren Sexton for K Sexton,

CLONDEGAD: Liam Deasy, Brian Casey, Brian Murphy, Cormac Ryan, Conor Gavin, Cillian Brennan, Brian Carrig, Gary Brennan (0-3), James Murphy, Tadgh Lynch (0-1), Eoghan Donnellan (0-2), Gearoid O Connell(0-1), Podge McMahon (0-4), Shane Brennan, Tony Kelly (0-3). Subs: Ryan Jennings for J Murphy, Joe Neylon for Lynch, Niall Lynch for B Murphy, Niall Deasy for C Ryan,

Referee: Pat Cosgrove (Corofin).

Following the game the Jack Daly senior football championship cup was presented by County chairperson Joe Cooney to Kilmurry Ibrickane captain Martin McMahon.

Enda Coughlan was Man of the match with Cathal McInerney collected the championship top scorer award.