SIXMILEBRIDGE 0-15 CLARECASTLE 1-11
By Michael O Connor.
In one of the most lacklustre ties between the sides in the first half was helped by a much improved display be both teams in the second half without ever overworking the scoreboard man at headquarters. Impressive displays were handed out by Clarecastle defenders with Stephen O Halloran dominating against Niall Gilligan, Seanie Moloney owned the right side of the pitch as Patrick Kelly impressed in the first half. Sixmilebridge were fortunate that the Clarecastle attack were shotshy hitting too many wides in a low scoring game and missing clear goal chances in the first quarter. Pat Kelly opened the scoring with a huge long range free in the opening minute with Jamie Shanahan making his senior debut equalising for the Bridge after four minutes. Shane Golden who worked hard all evening and a wonder score from Aaron Considine swopped scores after six minutes. Derek Quinn was left bemoaning two goal chances that he failed to execute before Niall Gilligan hit two scores, one a free as Clarecastle were now (0-4) to (0-2) in arrears.
Finally Clarecastle turned the threat of goals into reality when following an assault on the Sixmilebridge goal that saw three shots in five seconds Derek Quinn hit the third to the net. Clarecastle’s first half freetaking cost them three possible points as Niall Gilligan (free) and Tyrone Kierse exchanged scores inthe 26th and 30th minutes as David O Connor drew the sides on level terms for the fourth time (1-3) to (0-6) in the first half. It looked apparent that Sixmilebridge would replace at least three forwards and Clarecastle likewise but the only change for the start of the second half was Robert Conlon on for Brian Culbert who struggled with the pace. For the first ten minutes of thenew half Sixmilebridge failed miserably in the tactic of playing the ball low or high to Niall Gilligan as Stephen O Halloran held him in close arrest. Tyrone Kierse who had a more productive second half pointed the opening score before a huge speculative effort from Sixmilebridge wingback John Fennessy went over the bar. Conor O Gorman who very nearly won the game for Clarecastle was introduced and just after Niall Gilligan pointed a free the Clarecastle teenager pointed with his first touch to level the game again. Shane Golden, Darragh Moloney, Tyrone Keirse (2) and Gilligan shared five points in a five minutes spell as the Magpies edged (1-8) to (0-10) and against the odds looked capable of sustaining and maintaining the lead to the end. This rare burst of scoring continued with Darragh Moloney, Conor O Gorman and Shane Golden getting in on the act as Clarecastle were now two clear (1-10) to (0-11) with eight minutes of normal time.
Sixmilebridge rang the changes in personnel and positions with Paudie Fitzpatrick on for David O Connor as Caimin Morey moved to full forward to offer more potency in the position. A point from out on the endline from Tommy Morey somehow went over the bar and when Tony Carmody who had a storming last ten minutes sent over the equaliser to level the sides for the ninth time a draw looked possible. Clarecastle had one more opportunity converted by a Eamonn Callinan sideline cut before Niall Gilligan broke their hearts with a converted 65 to win a game that even the Bridge will admit they did not really deserve.
Best for Sixmilebridge devoid the services of the Morey brothers and Fitzpatrick who was introduced late on were John Fennessy, Derek Fahy, Tony Carmody late on, Shane Golden throughout the game and Caimin Morey. Clarecastle suffered the loss of Mark McNamara and Conor Plunkett, fought hard had the game at their mercy and blinked when at the winning post. Their best were Donagh Murphy who pulled off a marvellous point blank save from Niall Gilligan, Seanie Moloney, Stephen O Halloran, Ollie Plunkett, Pat Kelly, Fergus Ryan, Tyrone Kierse in the second half and Conor O Gorman.
CLARECASTLE: Donagh Murphy, Seanie Moloney, Stephen O Halloran, Ollie Plunkett, Eric Flynn, Pat Kelly (0-1), Fergus Ryan, Eamonn Callinan (0-1), Danny Scanlon, Darragh Moloney (0-2), Ciaran O Dwyer, Jonathan Clancy, Aaron Considine (0-1), Derek Quinn (1-0), Tyrone Kierse (0-4). Sub: Conor O Gorman (0-2) for Considine
SIXMILEBRIDGE: Derek Fahy, Tadgh Keogh, Aidan Quilligan, Trevor Purcell, Barry O Connor, Caimin Morey, John Fennessy (0-1), Shane Golden (0-4), Seadna Morey, David O Connor (0-1), Brian Culbert, Tony Carmody (0-1), Jamie Shanahan (0-1), Niall Gilligan (0-6), Pa Sheehan. Subs: Tommy Morey (0-1) for Sheehan, Paudie Fitzpatrick for D O Connor.
REFEREE: Ger Hoey (Killanena)