Intermediate Final

posted 21 Oct 2010, 12:03 by Unknown user   [ updated 21 Oct 2010, 12:05 by Denis Tuohy Agricultural Consultant ]

St Breckan’s 1-9        Clondegad 0-8

Three years after the parish lost its senior status, Lisdoonvarna, Doolin and Kilshanny is again home to one of Clare’s 16 senior football clubs. 
Although Clondegad had significantly more possession than St Breckan’s, beyond Gary Brennan, they offered no discernible scoring threat. The Clare midfielder scored five of his side’s eight points, including three from play. 
The only starting Clondegad forward to score from play was Tony Kelly. While Clondegad did kick 11 wides, it was clear from early in the 2010 intermediate final that the loss of Podge McMahon, who picked up a serious injury in their semi-final win over Corofin, would be virtually impossible to overcome. 
St Breckan’s deployed Denis O’Driscoll as an extra defender in the opening half, although he lined out at centre-back after half-time. They repeatedly closed down the space in which Clondegad tried to play, while playing five forwards at the opposite end helped St Breckan’s to find space at that side of the field. Although Mark Hawes’ first-half goal was the game’s crucial score, Pat Nagle’s superb free taking was equally important. On top of that, youngsters Seán Cormican and Stephen Tierney kicked sublime scores from play at vital times during the second half. 
Backed by a huge support in Miltown, Clondegad were a point up after just 20 seconds when Gary Brennan raced through after his side had won the throw-in. Briefly, it looked as if the warm favourites would justify their status. 
Ten minutes later though, they were 1-2 to 0-1 down, looking frozen and stunned. Pat Nagle pointed the winners’ first score from a free, while Raphael Considine kicked the first of some top-class St Breckan’s scores from play. 
After a couple of wides from Shane Brennan (Clondegad) and from Nagle, Denis O’Driscoll and Conor Cormican combined to present Mark Hawes with a simple goal chance at the town end. He buried it and the visible upsurge in St Breckan’s burgeoning confidence levels was very apparent. Gary Brennan from a free and from play helped to steady Clondegad, who enjoyed significantly more possession at this stage in the game. 
Five minutes from half-time Tony Kelly pointed a nice score for Clondegad, leaving the winners 1-2 to 0-4 up. Yet Gary Brennan, Kelly and Eoin Griffin kicked three of their team’s seven first-half wides as half-time approached. With the last kick of the first half Pat Nagle pointed a free, won by Seán Rouine, leaving St Breckan’s 1-3 to 0-4 ahead at the interval. 
Clondegad needed to find a higher gear on the resumption but instead it was St Breckan’s who did just that. Conor Cormican angled the ball over the bar after just 12 seconds after his midfielders won the throw-in. His twin brother Seán and Pat Nagle then added a couple of excellent scores from play within half a minute of each other. Now 1-6 to 0-4 ahead, 10 minutes into the second half, the intermediate championship was St Breckan’s to lose. 
Although Gary Brennan from a free and Brian Carrig brought Clondegad to within a goal of their opponents nine minutes from full-time, Nagle from a 45 yard free and Stephen Tierney from play, edged Francie Hawes’ team back into a five-point lead. Eoghan Donnellan and Brennan from play kicked late scores to give some semblance of hope to Clondegad as they pressed for a desperately needed goal. 
A minute into injury time they nearly conjured one as first Francie Neylon and then Shane Brennan had goal efforts smothered. That was about the only time when the North Clare men looked slightly ruffled. Pat Nagle’s injury-time pointed free, won by Conor Cormican, sealed the win for St Breckan’s. 
They looked much sharper than Clondegad, who had coasted through to the final. St Breckan’s semi-final replay win over Kildysart stood to them, as did their superior scoring threat. Several of their players were capable of kicking a point from play, while Clondegad were almost totally reliant upon Gary Brennan. 
Craig Flanagan was very solid in goal for St Breckan’s, while he varied his kick-outs, when it became clear that Gary Brennan was liable to win most of them if they landed in his vicinity. 
The St Breckan’s full-back line didn’t concede a score from play between them from their starting opponents, while their half-back line excelled. Both wing-backs scored a point each from play, while Darragh Considine and Denis O’Driscoll contributed significantly. 
Although he faded for a period during the second half, Gary Brennan was the dominant player in the middle of the field, before he was moved to full-forward. Pat Nagle’s free taking was exemplary for St Breckan’s, while Conor Cormican and Mark Hawes’ movement in the full-forward line was impressive. Similarly, Seán Cormican worked very hard both in defence and attack. 
Brian Carrig did his best to carry the game to St Breckan’s, as did Gary Brennan, who sustained a few hefty knocks. 
The attack however, completely malfunctioned with players carrying the ball into the tackle too often and sometimes not releasing it quickly enough. 
That said, the movement from the full-forward line, in the absence of Podge McMahon, wasn’t great. 
Adding the intermediate championship to the U-21 B title, in which they also defeated Clondegad in the final, has capped a superb 2010 for St Breckan’s. 
Although some of their key players are in the veteran category, they have several talented youngsters who should flourish playing senior championship next year. 
Clondegad will be devastated to have fallen at the final hurdle but they have no option but to give it another huge effort in 2010. 
Their young players will have matured further and another year playing Cusack Cup football will help them. They will reflect on the absence of McMahon and Gearóid O’Connell but there is no avoiding the fact that St Breckan’s looked fairly comfortable for most of the hour, bar that late goalmouth scramble.

St Breckan’s: Craig Flanagan; Daniel Carey, Conor Howley, Seán Howley; Raphael Considine, Darragh Considine (captain), Stephen Tierney; John McDonagh, Seán Rouine; Denis O’Driscoll, Mikey Keating, Seán Cormican; Pat Nagle, Conor Cormican, Mark Hawes.
Subs: Cathal Blood for Raphael Considine (inj, 42mins); John Stack for Mikey Keating (55); Shane O’Connor for Cathal Blood (58); Neil Hawes for Mark Hawes (60). 

Scorers: Pat Nagle (0-5, 0-4f); Mark Hawes 1-0; Raphael Considine, Conor Cormican, Seán Cormican, Stephen Tierney (0-1) each.

Wides: 4; Frees: 17

Clondegad: Declan O’Loughlin; Brian Murphy, Paddy O’Connell, Cormac Ryan; Kieran Browne (captain), Brian Carrig, Seán Clohessy; Gary Brennan, Cormac Murphy; James Murphy, Shane Brennan, Tony Kelly; Kenneth Kelly, Eoin Griffin, Francis Neylon.

Subs: Eoghan Donnellan for James Murphy (48).

Scorers: Gary Brennan (0-5, 0-2f), Tony Kelly, Brian Carrig, Eoghan Donnellan (0-1) each.

Wides: 11; Frees: 27; 45s: 2

Referee: Michael Rock, Ennistymon

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