Tubber shatter Cratloe in passion filled display.
County senior hurling championship rd 4
By Michael O Connor.
Shock of the season. Every championship produces one of some magnitude. Last Saturday in Cusack park one occurred that may not be matched for the remainder of the year. In recent years these two clubs have met in group games on a regular basis with little between the sides and often providing high quality games to savour. Behind the scenes discussions on the fixture itself helped to ignite a powerful performance on the field by the eventual winners.
Last Saturday debunked the theory that four teams should be relegated from senior hurling as one of those possible candidates defeated the reigning champions with ease. The key element in this win was the total undiluted passion that Tubber displayed from the moment they entered the arena. Within 60 seconds of the throw in Cratloe were rocked to the core like never before as Tubber hit the target three times from play.
Clive Earley after five seconds started the blitz. Shane O Connor after 50 seconds and David O Donoghue with just over a minute played were the targetmen. Matters settled down but Cratloe could not score hitting a number of wides with little convinction as Tubber were in no mood for conceding ground. 11 minutes elapsed before their next score via Patrick O Connor from a 80m free. His cousion Barry added Tubber’s fifth score before finally with 17 minutes played Conor McGrath saved the blushes of a Cratloe side that was playing second fiddle all over the field. The intervening five minutes exploded the myth that Cratloe might ease their way into the game before the end of the first half as Pat O Connor (2) and Dara O Connor who gave Liam Markham a testing time hit over minors to race (0-8) to (0-1) clear.
The final five minutes of this surreal opening half that had spectators admiring the passion on the line as much as on the field displayed by the North Clare side witnessed three more scores. Conor McGrath had only his sides second and final score of the half as David O Donoghue and Eamonn Taaffe rounded off a perfect ten for Tubber to lead (0-10) to (0-2) entering the dressingroom for the half time rally. Barry Gleeson replaced the injured Gearoid Ryan after 25 minutes.
The half time discussion centred around the question whether Tubber could keep up the tempo and if Cratloe had the desire to rally back to overcome an eight point deficit minus the services of Enda Boyce and Paudge Collins. The opening moments of the new half suggested a Cratloe revival of sorts with two scores emanating from Martin Oige Murphy and Sean Collins. Pat O Connor repeated his feat of the first half with another 80m free before Conor Ryan and Sean Chaplin struck over two points to leave five points between the sides (0-11) to (0-6) at the end of the third quarter. David O Donoghue, Eamonn Taafee, Sean Collins and Sean Chaplin ensured a lively succession of scores in five minutes as Tubber maintained a five points advantage, (0-13) to (0-8) with 52 minutes played.
Cratloe started to exert tremendous pressure and their young stars began to rally the cause with points from Conor Ryan and McGrath who missed a number of chances from frees to leave just a goal between the sides after 57 minutes. Once more Tubber took all that Cratloe could muster up and rebelled with two further points courtesy of the O Connor’s, Shane and Darragh to seal the game at (0-15) to (0-10) as Sean Hawes made a fantastic save from Clive Earley. A late rally from Sean Collins and Conor Ryan ended with Barry Gleeson bundling the ball over Paul Waters line for a consolation goal. Ronan Taaffe was not playing due to the minor semi final as Tubber celebrated the final whistle with scenes truly akin to a championship final win. The winners were served well in a success that they will talk of for many a day by Conor Earley, Patrick O Connor, David O Donoghue, Shane O Connor, Justin McMahon and Clive Earley. Cratloe will now nervously look at other results that unlikely as they may occur will knock them out of the championship if they all materialise. Sean Collins, Conor Ryan and Sean Hawes tried hard for the champions.
TUBBER: Paul Waters, Mark Earley, Justin McMahon, John O Connor, Tommy Lee, Conor Earley, Pat O Connor (0-4), Barry O Connor (0-1), Clive Earley (0-1), Eamonn Taaffe (0-2), Shane O Connor (0-2), Darragh O Connor (0-2), David O Donoghue (0-3), Jack Neylon, Ger O Connor. Subs: Fergal O Grady for John O Connor, Nigel O Donoghue for Ger O Connor.
CRATLOE: Sean Hawes Philip Gleeson, Barry Duggan, David Ryan, Cathal McInerney, Michael Hawes, Liam Markham, Martin Oige Murphy (0-1), Sean Chaplin (0-2), Sean Collins (0-2), James Enright, Damian Browne, Conor McGrath (0-3), Conor Ryan (0-2), Gearoid Ryan. Subs: Barry Gleeson (1-0) for G Ryan, Aidan Browne for Enright.