Kilmaley 1-15 Clooney-Quin 2-12
Level eight times during the hour, a draw was a fair result to this exciting Senior Hurling Championship game at Clarecastle on Saturday evening. The result keeps both in the hunt for places in the knock-out stages.
These sides have been evenly matched in the group stage of the championship for the past few seasons.
This is the fifth time in six meetings the two sides have finished level.
In the final round, Clooney-Quin will have to beat Clarecastle to keep their play-off hopes alive whereas Kilmaley are in a slightly stronger position, as they were first round winners.
“We looked in trouble towards the end but the lads showed fair character to come back. We were unlucky not to go away with a win in the finish. It was down to the wire stuff,” according to Clooney-Quin manager Francis Browne.
“We need a result against Clarecastle and it’s all down to that game now. We are not finished yet. We will have a big say in the championship,” he added.
Kilmaley’s John Carmody described it as “a great game of hurling, it ebbed and flowed and both sides showed great character. They both went a goal down and pulled it back. I am delighted for the lads”.
“We have a small panel this year. We are struggling with injuries, retirements, emigration, everything is going against us. This point gives us something to play for in the last round. Inagh-Kilnamona will be a huge challenge. We are looking forward to it and we will prepare hard for it,” he said, before agreeing that substitute Cian Moloney made a good contribution.
“He is a very promising young player and I am delighted for him. He showed maturity to score the equaliser there at the end. There are a few more of them there and hopefully they will come on board with us,” he concluded.
Clooney-Quin had the aid of the strong wind in the first half but Kilmaley looked to be in a strong position when they only trailed by the minimum, 0-7 to 0-8, at the interval after the teams had been level on four occasions. Clooney-Quin created the best goal chance in the first half when Mike Daffy and Fergal Lynch combined before the latter saw his shot go across the face of the goal and wide.
Kilmaley equalised through Kenneth Kennedy early in the second half but Clooney-Quin quickly responded with points from Mike McNamara and Donnacda Murphy, whose pile driver was deflected over the bar by Kilmaley goalkeeper and captain Kieran Dillon.
Ten minutes into this half, the winners struck what looked like being a decisive blow when Peter Duggan blasted a penalty to the net. The free was awarded for a foul on Cathal Egan who had made a great catch.
The lead was shortlived as Cian Moloney, with his first touch, controlled a cross from Colin Lynch before shooting to the net. Two John Cabey points followed and the advantage looked to be with the Kilmaley men. With three minutes remaining they had pushed their lead to three points. Clooney-Quin weren’t going away and a minute later the game’s top scorer Peter Duggan blasted to the net. Entering the final minute he put his side back in front when converting a 35m free awarded for a foul on Fergal Lynch.
The advantage looked to be with the Clooney-Quin side but when they failed to clear their line a minute into injury time, teenager Cian Moloney nipped in and fired over what proved to be the final score of the game to tie up matters.
Shane McNamara, Cillian Duggan, Conor Harrisson, Donnacda Murphy and particularly Peter Duggan stood out for Clooney-Quin. Kilmaley’s best were Martin O’Connor, Anthony Cahill, Colin Lynch, Sean Talty, John Cabey and substitute Cian Moloney.
Kilmaley: Kieran Dillon; Martin O’Connor, Anthony Cahill, Sean Talty; Eoin Enright, Colin Lynch, John Clohessy; Kenneth Kennedy, Eoin O’Malley; Diarmuid McMahon, Noel Casey, Conor Neylon; Niall McGuane, John Cabey, Michael O’Neill.
Subs: Cian Moloney for Casey; Colin McGuane for O’Malley (both 44 minutes).
Scorers: Kenneth Kennedy (all frees), John Cabey (3f, 0-5 each); Cian Moloney (1-1); Michael O’Neill, Diarmuid McMahon, Conor Neylon, Niall McGuane (0-1 each).
Clooney-Quin: Damian O’Halloran; Brian McInerney, Shane McNamara, Joe O’Loughlin; Enda Harrisson, Cillian Duggan, Conor Harrisson; Padraig Ward, Donnacda Murphy; Peter Duggan, Cathal Egan, Mike McNamara; Mike Daffy, Fergal Lynch, Derek Ryan.
Subs: Martin Duggan for Ryan (42 minutes); John Earls for Egan (58 minutes) Seamus Conroy for Daffy (58 minutes).
Scorers: Peter Duggan (2-8, 1-6f, 0-1 line ball); Donnacda Murphy (0-2); Mike Daffy, Mike McNamara (0-1 each).
Referee: Seanie McMahon, Newmarket.
Clonlara 1-10 Sixmilebridge 2-11
Beaten finalists last year, Sixmilebridge are out of the 2012 Clare Senior Hurling Championship race after suffering a second defeat. At Clarecastle on Saturday evening, they lost out to Clonlara in a tie that produced some lively exchanges and some great scores.
There was no hiding the disappointment for Sixmilebridge manager, Christy Chaplin.
“We had chances and we didn’t take them. We should have been another point or two up at half-time. We gave away a couple of soft scores before half-time. In the second half we were six points up and we gave away silly frees and made silly mistakes and let Clonlara back into it,” he said after the game.
“We started to die and once Clonlara got within a point, some of our lads’ heads went down and Clonlara got stronger. They had the assistance of the wind in the second half but that doesn’t win anything. You have to work. We started to slacken off. Some of our lads dropped their heads and Clonlara took advantage of that,” Chaplin added.
The ’Bridge were short a few regulars due to injury but Chaplin refused to blame their defeat on this.
“I won’t blame injuries. We knew coming into the game that they weren’t there. We had 15 on the field. We were in front for long periods and we didn’t put it away. Fair play to Clonlara. They took their chances. It was our own fault,” he said.
Clonlara selector Tommy Moloney felt the winners showed “great fighting spirit and it was a great second half”.
“We are very pleased with the way things worked out. We felt we were a bit flat in the first half but we certainly picked it up a bit in the second half. We fought really hard and we are really delighted that we are through now. It’s a just reward for what the lads have done all year.”
He admitted to being a little worried with 10 minutes to go. “It was tight and anything could happen. A goal could come at any time and we could be finished but fair play to the lads. It worked out well for us.”
Knowing they had to win to stay in the title race, Sixmilebridge were in determined mood right from the start and they got off to a dream start with a Paul Fitzpatrick point after just 20 seconds followed in the first minute by a Niall Gilligan goal.
Clonlara settled and by the end of the first quarter had cut the lead to two points, 0-4 to 1-3. Sixmilebridge pushed five clear with scores from Niall Gilligan, Danny and Caimin Morey and they held this margin to the break when the score was 1-8 to 0-6 in their favour.
They had the first score of the second half but they were then rocked by a Clonlara goal from Colm Galvin who finished a move started by full-back Domhnaill O’Donovan. A couple of minutes later, Sixmilebridge were five clear again when Caimin Morey blasted a penalty to the net, the free having been awarded for a foul on Niall Gillign.
It didn’t look good for Clonlara but with Nicky O’Connell becoming more dominant by the minute, ably assisted by Domhnaill and Cormac O’Donovan, they hit three unanswered points from John Conlon (2) and Cormac O’Donovan to leave two points between the teams at the turn of the final quarter.
Two magnificent points from Conlon and Nicky O’Connell had the margin down to one with six minutes to go. Colm Galvin levelled with three remaining but the ’Bridge were back in front a minute later thanks to a converted free by Caimin Morey. Jason Murphy levelled before, in the final minute of normal time, the winners took the lead for the first time when substitute Tommy Begley pointed and they sealed their win with an injury-time free from Nicky O’Connell.
In the second minute of injury time, Sixmilebridge won a free at midfield but Paul Fitzpatrick saw his effort go wide.
The winners’ defence did well with Domhnaill O’Donovan and Nicky O’Connell particularly outstanding. Cormac O’Donovan got through a lot of work at midfield, while up front, John Conlon and Colm Galvin did well.
Tadhg Keogh and Seadna Morey worked hard in the Sixmilebridge defence, while up front, veteran Niall Gilligan caused some problems for the winners.
Clonlara: Ger O’Connell; Pat O’Hare, Domhnaill O’Donovan, Cillian Fennessy; Nicky O’Connell, Paul Nihill, Oisín O’Brien; Cormac O’Donovan, William Slattery; John Conlon, Jason Murphy, Ronan Carey; Colm Galvin, Darach Honan, Ger O’Connell.
Sub: Tommy Begley for Carey (39 minutes).
Scorers: John Conlon (0-5); Colm Galvin (1-1); Nicky O’Connell (0-3, 2f); Cathal O’Connell (frees); Cormac O’Donovan (0-2 each); Darach Honan, Jason Murphy, Tommy Begley (0-1 each).
Sixmilebridge: Derek Fahy; Tadhg Keogh, Pádraig Fitzpatrick, Trevor Purcell; Noel Purcell, Seadna Morey, John Fennessy; John Reddan, Paul Fitzpatrick; Shane Golden, Danny Morey, Pa Sheehan; Niall Gilligan, Caimin Morey, Robert Conlon.
Sub: Alan Mulready for Reddan (42 minutes);
Scorers: Caimin Morey (1-5, 1-3f); Niall Gilligan (1-2); Danny Morey (0-3); Paul Fitzpatrick (0-1).
Referee: Ambrose Heagney, Corofin.