SIXMILEBRIDGE 4-14 CRATLOE 1-10
The game began in blistering pace with three points on the board after only two minutes. Podge Collins and Brian Carey hit the target in the first minute before Conor McGrath opened his account two minutes later. Brian Carey was detailed to mark Conor Ryan as Paidi Fitzpatrick was parachuted to full back to keep McGrath at bay were he to be positioned there.
The line out of Sixmilebridge definitely paid respect to Cratloe’s powerful five players and only time would tell would it pay dividends for the O Garney men appearing in their third final in a row. Declan Morey had the sides level after 11 minutes as one would suggest that pace was beginning to tell for Sixmilebridge in the heat of Cusack park. Ronan Mullane and David Collins enterd the referee’s notepad. The breakthrough score of the first half fell to Declan Morey who raced through and his low effort gave David Collins no chance at the end of the first quarter.
Sam O Sullivan with a smart effort stretched the Sixmilebridge lead to three before the game lulled considerably in a poor standard of fare for the premier under 21 final. The next spurt of action came courtesy of Conor McGrath with two well taken scores in the 28th and 29th minutes before Pa Sheehan rounded off the first half scoring as Sixmilebridge retired (1-4) to (0-5) clear and happy that they had quelled the scoring power of Cratloe but that was soon to change and all the better for the game.
The first attack of Cratloe in the second dhalf yielded gold as Conor McGrath with a deft pass released Cathal McInerney who coolly slotted the ball past Fleming. Joe O Connor with a brilliant score put Cratloe two clear, yet the best from Sixmilebridge was about to be unleashed. Seadna Morey hit back within seconds before Ronan Mullane who was replaced soon after left the Bridge only a point in arrears. The match winning score came about when Jamie Shanahan dispossessed a Cratloe defender and slipped the ball past David Collins.
This was Shanahan’s first score of the game after 40 minutes and he added a further (2-5) to secure the title in the easiest of fashions for Paddy Meehan’s men. Shanahan, Seadna Morey and Shanahan hit points by the 43rd minute as now the Bridge were (2-9) to (1-7) clear. Stephen Fleming was on guard in the Bridge goal and he denied Cathal McInerney a clear goal chance as Liam Markham pointed the resulting 65. Conor McGrath and Conor Ryan hit two scores in the 47th and 49th minute as now only two points was the difference. The scoreboard keeper in Cusack park was under pressure to keep the scores tallied up and it was to get busier for him very quickly. Seadna Morey kickstarted a further (2-5) in the final ten minutes before a high speculative effort by Shane Golden was dropped over the line by David Collins. The remaining (1-4) was scored by Jamie Shanahan to round off a 13 point win that may have done an injustice to Cratloe but such is sport.
Best for the winners were Paidi Fitzpatrick who was immense at full back denying McGrath a route to goal. Barry O Connor, John Fennessy and especially Trevor Purcell controlled the half back line. Shane Golden, Seadna Morey led the way up front and has proved to all doubters including this one that he is a forward to watch in the future for Clare not just for the Bridge. Jamie Shanahan opened his shoulders and all this without Kevin Lynch. Cratloe had honest displays from Joe Conroy, Liam Markham, Conor Ryan, Cathal McInerney and Conor McGrath.
SIXMILEBRIDGE: Stephen Fleming, Ger Quilligan, Paidi Fitzpatrick, Eanna Burns, Barry O Connor, John Fennessy, Trevor Purcell, Shane Golden (1-0), Brian Carey (0-1), Seadna Morey (0-3), Sam O Sullivan (0-1), Pa Sheehan (0-1), Ronan Mullane (0-1), Jamie Shanahan (2-6), Declan Morey (1-1). Subs: Noel Purcell for Burns, Cathal O Connor for Mullane,
CRATLOE: David Collins, Joe Conroy, Sean Hynan, jack McCourt, Wesley DeLoughrey, Liam Markham (0-1), Enda Boyce, Conor Ryan (0-2), Podge Collins (0-1), Patrick Carey, Cathal McInerney (1-1), Dean De Loughrey, Tomas Ryan, Joe O Connor (0-1), Conor McGrath (0-4). Subs: David McInerney for D DeLoughrey,
Referee: Rory Hickey (Eire-og).
After the game the under 21A hurling cup was presented by Michael O Neill to Shane Golden who paid due honourable tribute to the team management.