St Breckans 0-10 Clashmore 0-8
Last Sunday’s Munster semi-final display in Dungarvan was their best yet as they dispatched Clashmore, who couldn’t handle the Clare men’s second-half intensity and scoring quality.
Clashmore only managed to kick one second-half point, having led 0-7 to 0-4 at half-time. While St Breckan’s were more balanced than their opponents, whose distribution was particularly poor, Pat Nagle was a man apart in front of a huge North Clare support in Waterford.
He kicked three sublime points from play, all in the second half, two of which were from more than 45 yards out. His point 17 minutes into the second half was an example of a player imbued with confidence taking on the responsibility. That score tied the teams at 0-8 each. A minute later the same player won and pointed a 21-yard free, while he also landed a monster point three minutes from time to secure St Breckan’s two-point win. They will now play Gneeveguilla from Kerry in the Munster intermediate final in the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday, November 28.
Just two minutes prior to half-time the odds on St Breckan’s reaching the Munster final were on par with the chances of Seánie Fitzpatrick being appointed Minister for Finance.
At that stage, St Breckan’s trailed 0-7 to 0-2 but late points from Denis O’Driscoll and a Nagle free, won by John Stack, pulled Francie Hawes’ team to within three points of Clashmore.
Those scores proved as important as any of St Breckan’s six second-half points. Another factor that helped the Clare men was the enforced substitution of Clashmore corner-forward Seán Fleming. Although he was later re-introduced, Fleming wasn’t as effective as he was before picking up the injury.
Conor Cormican, whose intelligent movement bamboozled Clashmore full-back Ciaran Bourke, scored both of St Breckan’s remaining points in the opening half. The first was after he linked neatly with Cathal Blood, while Denis O’Driscoll sprayed a perceptive pass towards Cormican to create his second score.
With the breeze behind them, Clashmore had the better of St Breckan’s for most of the opening half, although Pat Nagle, John Stack and John McDonagh all missed chances to add to their team’s total.
With the Clashmore full-forward line playing good football, Brian O’Halloran and Fleming kicked four points from play between them, while Karl O’Keeffe notched the remaining three.
Had Craig Flanagan not made crucial saves from Fleming and O’Halloran during that opening half, Clashmore could have got away from Breckan’s by half-time. On another note, Flanagan tried to place team-mates with his kick-outs and while this worked for the first three, they lost five of the next six in the first half, which placed significant pressure on their half and full-back lines.
St Breckan’s had to impose themselves early in the second period if they were going to extend their provincial adventure by another fortnight. Inspirational points from Stephen Tierney, now at corner-back having started on the wing and from John McDonagh, left them just a point adrift, 0-7 to 0-6.
Seán Rouine and Conor Cormican kicked successive wides before Brian O’Halloran pointed Clashmore 0-8 to 0-6 ahead nine minutes into the second half. Although a glut of Clashmore supporters were now urging referee Pat Sheehy to “go home,” along with several even less complimentary suggestions, it’s worth noting that the Waterford club were unable to add to their total in the remaining 21 minutes.
That said, some 50/50 decisions definitely went St Breckan’s way during the second half. Pat Nagle alone notched all four of St Breckan’s remaining points, three from play. His class was too much for Clashmore, who had nobody capable of banging over points from distance.
In what must rank as one of the most impressive team displays in the club’s history, Pat Nagle’s individual performance outstripped everyone else in Dungarvan. Craig Flanagan excelled in goals, making smart saves and looking very calm, while Darragh Considine and Stephen Tierney, especially when attacking, played very well. John McDonagh and Shane O’Connor imposed themselves in the middle of the field after half-time, while Denis O’Driscoll, operating in a free role around the middle, was the best player on the pitch in the opening 15 minutes. Seán Rouine worked hard at wing-forward, when switched to attack, with Seán Cormican sent to corner-back. Full-forward Conor Cormican played great football and constantly made himself available for a pass into space.
While St Breckan’s gave it everything on the field they were backed by a vociferous support in the stand. They galloped onto the field afterwards, underlining what the win meant to the club and to their parish. Their next task will be to make sure that they are heard in the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday week.
St Breckan’s: Craig Flanagan; Daniel Carey, Conor Howley, Seán Howley; Seán Rouine, Darragh Considine (captain), Stephen Tierney; John McDonagh, Shane O’Connor; Cathal Blood, Seán Cormican, Pat Nagle; John Stack, Conor Cormican, Denis O’Driscoll.
Subs: Neil Hawes for John Stack (51).
Scorers: Pat Nagle (0-5, 0-2f); Conor Cormican (0-2), Denis O’Driscoll, Stephen Tierney, John McDonagh (0-1) each.
Clashmore: Roger Ryan; Seán Bourke, Ciaran Bourke, Pádraig Connery; Philip Dee, Kieran Connery (captain), Ed Beresford; Brian Murray, Mark Power; Colm Faherty, Seamus Landers, Karl O’Keeffe; Brian O’Halloran, Cillian O’Keeffe, Seán Fleming.
Subs: Eoin Breathnach for Seán Fleming (27-injured); Aidan Trihy for Brian Murray (40); Seán Fleming for Colm Faherty (47); Seán O’Connor for Aidan Trihy (52).
Scorers: Brian O’Halloran (0-3), Karl O’Keeffe (0-3, 0-1f), Seán Fleming 0-2.
Referee: Pat Sheehy (Kerry).