KILLANENA/FEAKLE 3-14 WOLFE TONES 0-13
By Michael O Connor.
Two goals in as many minutes in the first half and a scoring blitz in a four minutes spell in the second half for Killanena/Feakle secured the under 21 C champions a berth in the last four of the Under 21B championship as they overcame Wolfe Tones by 10 points in Clarecastle on Saturday afternoon.
Success for the East Clare side over Wolfe Tones who whilst having only an outside chance of success were dealt a blow when star forward Aaron Cunningham was injured on Clare duty. It must be acknowledged that Wolfe Tones were more than a match for Killanena/Feakle for roughly 45 minutes but as in the first game persistent fouling by the Shannon men cost them dearly. For Killanena/Feakle’s part they too were guilty of careless tackling that kept Wolfe Tones in the game with Ben O Gorman in fine form from placed balls.
Kevin McCafferty opened the scoring from play for the Airport men before Greg Delahunty saw his goal effort tipped out for a 65 by Michael Burke. Ben O Gorman was on target from the resulting 65 as Killanena suffered the loss of centre forward Colin McNamara with a knee injury after only 5 minutes on a day when injuries took their toll on Killanena/Feakle. Shane McGrath opened the winners account only for pacy Wolfe Tones corner forward Rory Kelly to match this effort after 7 minutes for Wolfe Tones. Cillian Bane, Enda Touhy and Kieran O Gorman added scores betweent he 11th and 14th minutes to leave the minimum between the teams as Wolfe Tone would have been happy to be a point clear at the end of the opening quarter.
This happy feeling however ended in dramatic fashion for the Shannon men as they conceded with ease a brace of goals that despite a spirited response from them left them chasing the game for the remainder. Firstly a snap shot effort by Diarmuid Bane received a deflection from a Wolfe Tones defender on its way to the corner of Chris Maguire’s net. Ben O Gorman and Rory Hayes hit back to level matters. Eoin McGuinness hit a second goal after good build up play from three Killanena/Feakle forwards to restore a three point lead. Ben o Gorman once again narrowed the gap to two points with the wind very much assisting Shannon in the first half. The final score of the half for the winners fell to Shane McGrath as Wolfe Tones once more depended on Ben O Gorman with two frees to leave them behind by the minimum (2-4) to (0-9) entering the half time break.
At this juncture the feeling amongst supporters was that it was Shannon who required the first half goals to be major contenders in the second half as Killanena/Feakle who had the benefit of a first round game would improve as the game went on with the better side. Also it was now that Wolfe Tones supporters bemoaned the absence of Cunningham as without doubt his presence against a misfiring Killanena/Feakle side would have ensured scores aplenty from play and frees for the Shannon men.
Killanena/Feakle brought on Paddy McNamara for the second half as Todd Kelsey who had a busy second 30 minutes opened the scoring before Ben O Gorman hit over another free. Indeed he hit nine points over the course of the game, mostly from frees. Had Wolfe Tones any other avenue for scores they could have had a major say in the game with five minutes left. Paddy McNamara hit over a smart effort only for O Gorman (2) once again on the mark to leave the side level after 41 minutes and Wolfe Tones were beginning to believe in themselves realising that the odds on favourites for the tie were below par up to this juncture.
The winning of the tie was created and executed by Killanena/Feakle in a four minute spell as they hit (1-3) in quick succession as Todd Kelsey, Shane McGrath and Eric Conway struck minors with Killian Bane on target with the goal to open up a six point lead. Wolfe Tones saw the light in their challenge extinguish in this short spell and were on the ropes when McGrath, Enda Touhy and Todd Kelsey once again had Killanena/Feakle nine clear with the game over as a contest. Shane McGrath added his 5th point of the game and sadly the game with just five minutes left to play with the result long beyond doubt was held up when Evan McMahon was accidentally injured in a three man challenge. He lay on the ground from over 25 minutes as an ambulance was called for to bring the stricken Killanena/Feakle hurler to hospital. When the game was resumed it was merely playing out the clock as both sides added a point each from Ben O Gorman and Enda Touhy as the result was merely incidental as thoughts of all in Clarecastle were with Evan McMahon who thankfully was released from hospital later that night.
Killanena/Feakle who were missing three starters now move on the last four with knowledge that much improvement is required as Wolfe Tones suffered the concession of soft goals wondering what might have been with more assured defending for all of the first half. The winners solid displays from Shane McGrath, Padraig Brady, Eoin Touhy, Todd Kelsey, Padraig Brady, James Noonan, Eoin McGuinness and Evan McMahon. Wolfe Tones worked hard but ran out of steam in the last 20 minutes despite the best efforts of David Ryan, Ben O Gorman, Rory Hayes, John Guilfoyle, Craig O Brien and Steve Simmonds.
KILLANENA/FEAKLE: Michael Burke, Evan McMahon, James Noonan, Paul McArthur, Michael Noonan, Eoin Touhy (0-3), Padraig Brady, Shane McGrath (0-5), Oisin Donnellan, Killian Bane (1-1), Colin McNamara, Eoin McGuinness (1-0), Diarmuid Bane (1-0), Todd Kelsey (0-3), Con Smyth. Subs: Paddy McNamara (0-1) for D Bane, Evan McNamara for Smythe, Eric Conway (0-1) for McNamara (inj), Cian Harrington for McMahon (inj).
WOLFE TONES: Chris Maguire, Blaine O Sullivan, David Ryan, Damian O Toole, Sean Reidy, Craig O Brien, Steve Simmonds, Kevin McCafferty (0-1), William Flynn, Ben O Gorman (0-9), Aaron Shanagher, John Guilfoyle, Rory Hayes (0-2), Greg Delahunty, Kieran O Gorman (0-1). Subs: Fergal McInerney for Delahunty, Jack Kelly for O Sullivan, Darragh Leahy for K O Gorman.
Referee: Ger Lyons (Ruan).