Kilmurry-Ibrickane 0-13 Doonbeg 1-8
Kilmurry-Ibrickane bridge a three-year gap when they captured The Clare Champion-sponsored Cusack Cup for the third time at Cooraclare on Sunday evening.
Possessing the greater scoring potential, they deservingly overcame the challenge of their neighbours and arch rivals Doonbeg who last won this title 16 years ago.
Level five times throughout the first half, the winners got the upperhand after the break and held a slight edge for much of the second.
The determination of both sides to win this game was evident from the start and is reflected in the fact that a total of 10 players were booked during the tie, which was well refereed by Ennistymon’s Michael Rock.
For the throw-in, Enda Coughlan was at centre-back for the winners but within a minute, he had switched to centre-forward in a change with Evan Talty.
The winners were first to score when the very impressive Ian McInerney converted a 30m free from near the sideline in the second minute. The lead was shortlived as Shane Ryan broke through for the equaliser for the Magpies in the fourth minute.
Tempers flared in the sixth minute but the production of four yellow cards, three to Doonbeg, quickly calmed things down. Doonbeg took the lead in the eighth minute when David Tubridy converted a 50m free. They had the first goal chance of the game two minutes later but John Sexton got in a good block deflecting Shane Killeen’s effort behind for a 45’.
Kilmurry-Ibrickane had the better of matters for the next 10 minutes and scored four points without reply to lead by three with just under five minutes to play in the half. Within a minute, they were level for the third time as David Tubridy fisted a Shane Ryan delivery to the net. Kilmurry-Ibrickane claimed he was in the square but the green flag was raised after the officials consulted. In the remaining time, points were exchanged twice leaving the teams level, for the fifth time in the game, when the half-time whistle sounded.
For the second half, Kilmurry brought in the experienced Paul O’Connor at wing-back and they quickly regained the initiative shooting three points without reply from Enda Coughlan (free), Niall Hickey and Mark McCarthy, by the 10th minute.
Points from Shane Ryan and David Tubridy (free) narrowed the margin to the minimum by the three-quarter stage but Doonbeg were unable to get back on terms and two from Ian McInerney followed by a Noel Downes effort left the winners four ahead entering the closing stages.
As always, Doonbeg battled to the end and had two late points from David Tubridy frees but their efforts to get through for the goal they needed were thwarted by a well marshalled Kilmurry-Ibrickane defence.
John Sexton, Martin McMahon, Seamus Murrihy, Mark McCarthy, Ian McInerney and Enda Coughlan got through a lot of work for the winners, while Pádraig Gallagher, Conor Whelan, Colm Dillon and Shane Ryan were prominent for Doonbeg.
after the game, Clare GAA chairman Michael O’Neill presented the Cusack Cup to the winning captain Peter O’Dwyer senior, while Liam Duggan from, The Clare Champion, presented cheques to the respective club chairmen, Ger Talty from Kilmurry-Ibrickane and John Keane, Doonbeg.
Kilmurry-Ibrickane: Peter O’Dwyer Junior; John Sexton, Darren Hickey, Martin McMahon; Shane Hickey, Enda Coughlan, Thomas Lernihan; Seamus Murrihy, Peter O’Dwyer (captain), Ian McInerney, Evan Talty, Mark McCarthy; Niall Hickey, Michael Hogan, Noel Downes.
Subs: Paul O’Connor for Lernihan (half-time); Stephen Moloney for Hogan (48 minutes).
Scorers: Ian McInerney (0-5, 3f, 1 x 45’); Noel Downes (0-3), Enda Coughlan (both frees), Mark McCarthy (0-2 each); Niall Hickey (0-1).
Doonbeg: Nigel Dillon; Joe Blake, Pádraig Gallagher, Conor Whelan; Brian Dillon, Paraic Aherne, Ritchie Vaughan; Colm Dillon, Enda Doyle; Shane Killeen, Shane Ryan, Eamonn Tubridy; Paul Dillon, Kevin Nugent (captain), David Tubridy.