By Michael O Connor
A better balanced and physically stronger Tubber side overcame a spirited challenge from Crusheen to secure the Junior B hurling league title. Both sides who lost at the semi final stage of the championship met in Tubber on Saturday with Tubber strongly fancied to take the laurels.
Crusheen started without the services of three key players due to injury as Padraic O Malley opened the scoring in the 3rd minute. Declan Ryan who ended the game with six points, two from play opened Tubber’s account after five minutes. Over the course of the hour each score was hard won with Tubber benefitting from continuous Crusheen fouling.
Niall Kearney and Edward Fogarty (free) responded for Crusheen as Ryan did likewise for Tubber. Ger Brohan and Damian Quinn was also on target with a point each to leave the winners (0-7) to (0-5) ahead at the break. Crusheen brought on two substitutes for the second half and Tubber were most fortunate not to concede at least one goal in the opening five minutes of the new half as Crusheen had three clear goal opportunities but spurned each chance.
Tubber rallied with points from Ryan and Paddy O Connor as Crusheen despite ample possession could not create scores thanks to a strong Tubber rearguard. Evan O Donoghue and Ryan rounded off the winners scoring as Niall Griffin managed a late consolation point for Crusheen whose third team has been promoted in the junior b league in the last two years. Tubber will for their successful efforts be plying their trade in the junior A league next season.
Best for Tubber were Cathal O Grady, Oliver Taaffe, Francis McCormack, Mark Waters, Shane McMahon, Micheal Kelly, Declan Ryan, Ger Brohan and Damian Quinn. Crusheen had strong displays from the excellent Darren O Connor at corner back, John Hanrahan, Emmet O Connor, Ethan O Donnell, Edward Fogarty, Niall Griffin and Youen Horner.
TUBBER: Cathal O Grady, Dermot Taaffe, Oliver Taaffe, Mark Waters, Micheal Kelly, Shane McMahon, Kevin Conroy, Francis McCormack, Cyril Cunningham, Declan Ryan (0-6), David Fogarty, Damian Quinn (0-1), Ger Brohan (0-2), David Conroy, Nigel Naughton. Subs; Paddy O Connor (0-1) for Conroy, Evan O Donoghue (0-1) for Nigel Naughton.
CRUSHEEN: John Hanrahan, Darren O Connor, Emmet O Connor, Eoin Ryan, Enda O Brien, Damian Murphy, Edward Fogarty, Ethan O Donnell, Philip O Donnell, Padraic O Malley (0-1), Niall Griffin (0-1), Alan Griffin, Niall Kearney (0-1), Sean Weir (0-1), Brendan Keehan. Subs: Youen Horner for Alan Griffin, Paul O Donnell for Keehan, Raymond Hassett for Murphy, Damian O Connor for Kearney Anthony Rodgers for O Brien.
Referee: John Dolan (Clarecastle).
After the game Irish officer of clare county board Tom Burke presented the Junior B league hurling cup to Tubber captain Cyril Cunningham.