Football Match Reports
DR CROKES……0-13 CRATLOE…………..0-12
By Michael O Connor.
One of the great performances and totally unexpected by nearly all involved as Cratloe forced Dr Crokes to engineer an escape act that was half accidental more than created by good football. Dr Crokes will lick their wounds and thank their lucky stars, Cratloe will be proud of their efforts but the cup is in Kerry and memories are all that Cratloe have after a powerful display in the Gaelic grounds.
A quick glance at the brief histories of both clubs in the programme was an example of stark contrast. Dr Crokes, the aristocrats of football not just in Kerry but a national brand name for gaelic football taking on a strange mix of multiple all Ireland hurling winners whose devil may care attitude would surely come a cropper on Munster final day.
Yet, a review of results in recent years suggested that Kilmurry Ibrickane had ran Crokes to the limit on two occasions and as Cratloe had dismissed Kilmurry with ultimate ease in the Clare championship would this form run true in munster club. That was one of the hopes for Cratloe that Crokes might take them for granted.
With 30 minutes to go with nearly 200 people in the stand suggesting that this final in the Gaelic ground, Limerick was not capturing the imagination of the GAA public on the first day of December The usual strong support from Kilmihil was gathering due to the many links between Cratloe and Kilmihil ex pats all over the county. 2,384 was the official attendance come the throw in time. There one change on the Crokes side that saw Gavin O Shea, son of Kerry manager 2007 Pat O Shea replace Jamie Doolan.
With Dr Crokes playing into the Ennis road goals Cratloe struck for the opening point after an Enda Boyce free kick sneaked in for a tonic score as Cratloe dominated the opening five minutes as Sean Chaplin sent over a beauty from the wing forward position nearly 90 yards from his corner back berth. Crokes kicked two wides from play as Podge Collins began roaming the field sensing danger with Crokes attempting to get a foothold.
Indecision by Liam Markham with three colleagues free gave away the ball and Crokes attacked with two points from Kieran O Lear and Brian Looney as Pierce DeLoughrey had to be alert to deny Colm Cooper a goal chance before the opening brace of Croke’s scores. With Crokes crowding midfield to negate the Cratloe running game the ball began to break favourably for the Kerry champions and Cooper moving around set up Daithi Casey for the lead score after 12 minutes.
Cooper sent Crokes two clear following a free he won as Cratloe were beginning to struggle to get past the Kerry sides half back line and escaped a second goal threat at the end of the first quarter. The sense of threat posed by Crokes was highlighted in six wides as well as three scores in nine minutes action. Finally they got it right with Cooper, who else winning possession and shooting with precision off his left. With two Cratloe me inside the Kerry 65 this was proof enough of the control that was being displayed by Crokes. Whenever the Clare champions broke through the final pass was poor, often keeping the ball in play allowing fast counterattacks by Crokes. One of these sloppy passes led to Crokes centre back Fionn Fitzgerald scoring quickly followed by Alan O Sullivan and Colm Cooper again to open up a deserved five point lead after 22 minutes.
At some stages Cratloe had three spare players in their rearguard as Crokes attacked in waves. Colm Cooper and Alan O Sullivan added minors to leave Crokes (0-9) to (0-2) ahead entering the final three minutes of the first half. Crokes then started to play possession football knowing that the game was theirs to lose and attempted to pierce open the Cratloe defence for the game defining goal. This appeared to take the sting out of their attack. On the stroke of 30 minutes Cratloe kicked their third point all of 26 minutes since their second with Liam Markham on target. The last attack of the half great work by Podge Collins with his effort coming off the crossbar to leave Crokes (0-10) to (0-3) clear at the break.
Cratloe needed and did achieve a huge morale booster at the start of the new half with two scores in a row coming from a Cathal McInerney free and a great effort from Conor McGrath. Cratloe also had three wides with Podge Collins guilty of two of those. Podge made up for this combining with Conor Ryan to win a hard earned free that Enda Boyce cannoned off the post. With Fergal Lynch getting on hard ball he set up McGrath for his second point to reduce the Crokes lead to four points after 40 minutes.
The remaining twenty minutes will go down not alone in Cratloe folklore but Clare GAA history as one of the greatest fightbacks by a Clare side very nearly created the upset of a generation. Brian Looney struck for Crokes in the 43rd minute to restore a five point lead. The unlikeliest focus for the fightback came with a Fergal Lynch point followed in quick succession by a great score by Cathal McInerney. Now it was a three point game as Crokes and especially Colm Cooper was now a frustrated peripheral figure on proceedings. The crowd were on their feet when another stunner from McInerney in the 48th and a wonder score in the 52nd left the minimum between the sides.
Sean Collins had been busy but not a headline act up to then popped up with the equaliser as Colm Cooper was sent off for a second bookable offence. This, ironically benefitted Crokes as they realised their heritage was on the line against a novice senior team from Clare. Amazingly Clare supporters and Kerry supporters were in awe in equal measure as McInerney struck for the lead point with four minutes remaining. Crokes, knowing defeat was staring them in the face attacked and won a 45 that Daithi Casey narrowly pointed to level matters once again.
Extra time looked possible and only for Cratloe twice giving the ball away when attacking it could have been a reality. One last attack from Crokes ended with midfielder Johnny Buckley writing himelf into the history books and consigning Cratloe to a footnote in Munster club final lore.
Best for the champions who were given the freedom of the park for the second quarter were David Moloney, Daithi Casey, Colm Cooper, Kieran O Leary, Brian Looney, Johnny Buckley, Eoin Brosnan, Fionn Fitzgerald and Alan O Sullivan.
Cratloe did all they could and will look back in horror at the concession of nine scores in a row in the first half. Their best included Cathal McInerney, Podge Collins, Conor McGrath, Fergal Lynch, Oige Murphy, Sean Collins, Michael Hawes and Barry Duggan.
DR CROKES: David Moloney, John Payne, Luke Quinn, Kieran Ward, Eoin Brosnan, Fionn Fitzgerald (0-1), Shane Myers, Ambrose Donovan, Johnny Buckley (0-1), Alan O Sullivan (0-2), Daithi Casey (0-2), Brian Looney (0-2), Kieran O Leary (0-1), Colm Cooper (0-4), Gavin O Shea. Subs: Shane Doolan for Quinn, Michael Burns for O Shea, David O Leary for Ward,
CRATLOE: Pierce DeLoughrey, Sean Chaplin (0-1), Barry Duggan, David Ryan, Martin Oige Murphy, Michael Hawes, Enda Boyce (0-1), Fergal Lynch (0-1), Cillian Duggan, Liam Markham (0-1), Conor Ryan, Sean Collins (0-1), Cathal McInerney (0-5), Podge Collins, Conor McGrath (0-2).
REFEREE: Conor Lane (Cork).
After the game Munster Ccouncil chairman presented the Michael O Connor Munster club cup to Dr Crokes captain Ambrose Donovan.
Clare 1-15 Tipperary 0-7
Clare were crowned U17 Munster football champions after they comfortably saw off Tipperary in a one-sided game at the Gaelic Grounds.Tipperary came into the game looking to win their third straight title but they were no match for a Clare side who dominated from the first whistle.
Playing with the wind in the first half, Clare opened up a five-point lead inside the opening quarter of an hour, with Conal Ó hAiniféin and Keelan Sexton scoring two points each.
Clare captain Michael Duffy put in a man of the match display and he scored the game’s only goal from a penalty midway through the first half.
It took Tipperary 17 minutes to get their opening points. Duffy and Sexton added further points before the break to give Clare a commanding 1-9 to 0-2 half-time lead.
There was to be no let-up from Clare in the second half as Eimhín Courtney and Darren Nagle fired over well-worked points.
Stephen Quirke scored two points in quick succession for Tipperary but Clare remained in complete control throughout. Sexton scored his second free just before the full-time whistle to seal a convincing 11 point win for Clare.
Scorers for Clare: M Duffy (1-3, 1f), K Sexton (2fs), C O’hAiniféin (0-3 each), D Nagle, E Hanrahan, E Courtney (0-2 each).
Scorers for Tipperary: P White (0-3, 2fs), S Quirke (0-2), L Duffy, J Bergin (0-1 each).
CLARE: E O’Kelly; C Downes, P Lillis, L Tierney; D Nagle, J Woods, C O’Dea; E Hanrahan, D Walsh; C O’hAiniféin, K Sexton, N McCarthy; E Courtney, M Duffy, S Malone.
Subs: M Byrne for S Malone (48), E Callinan for N McCarthy (54), N Murray for M Duffy (57).
TIPPERARY: J Brady; R Dennehy, L Ryan, F Linnane; S Kelly, W O’Connor, D Owens; J Kennedy, S Quirke; R Peters, P White, E Moloney; L Duffy, S Lonergan, D McGrath.
Subs: M O’Connor for J Kennedy (30), J Bergin for S Kelly (30), B Norris for R Peters (52), B McCarthy for E Moloney (57), C O’Shaughnessey for W O’Connor (58).
Referee: Seamus Mulvihill (Kerry).
By Michael O Connor.
Huge disappointment was the key emotion experienced by Clare footballing folk in Cusack Park evening. A solid start to this qualifier tie ending in a whimper, much like the entire reign on Mick O Dwyer whose legendary status and presence in Clare football was planned to propel Clare a step or two up the footballing ladder
The multi All Ireland winning manager stepped down as Clare manager after powerful shows of footballing eminence by Laois immediately before and after half-time was enough to see the Leinster men past his Clare side, 3-17 to 0-10, in round two of the qualifiers in wonderful sunshine before a sizable attendance. It had long being flagged that the Kerryman would only be a short team appointmen and this was confirmed as O'Dwyer's has decided not to seek a second year in charge of the Banner men on the back of this defeat. The real let down of the 2013 season wasn’t really the championship except maybe the hope of a qualifier win but the failure to make the promotion places from Division four. They did do well in the lower division but let themselves slip away from promising positions against sides that Clare were capable of accounting for. Once again key players unavailable due to emigration, lack of interest and lack of size, power and skill in the panel were the decisive factors in another season in the basement.
Goals either side of the break from former UCD dual star John O'Loughlin and David Conway were the pivotal scores that drove Laois on their way to victory. The blue and white clad footballers managed by Justin McNulty added to these scores with a bevy of points in the second-half, allowing Clare just four points that showed the gulf in standard in divisional football
Ten minutes before half-time Clare had led by four points after a strong opening period, but they failed to hit the target for the next 27 minutes until David Tubridy landed his fourth point. Laois wing back Darren Strong opened the scoring after two minutes before Tubridy hit two frees, one after a hefty challenge on Gary Brennan. Rory Donnelly, Colm Begley and Tubridy once more left it at (0-4) to (0-2) with ten minutes elapsed. Clare were in flying form but worringly Laois were kicking wides and had 9 before the 20thminute. Rory Donnelly and Kelly had two further Clare points and indeed Clare had two clear goal chances that went a begging.
By the 23rd minute Laois had seized the initiative back from Clare and secured the win leading by 1-12 to 0-07 after their forwards finally found the target after hitting ten wides in the first-half. Initially Clare made plenty of progress by feeding direct ball into Gary Brennan, who once again braved a broken rib to line out for the Banner. He was involved in everything good that Clare did early on and, after his move to the edge of the square, the points began to flow for Clare. It could have got a lot worse for the O'Moore men in the 25th minute when wing-back Graham Kelly charged down on goal, only for his blistering drive to clear the crossbar. This juncture was where Clare's creative industry ended and Laois went on to hit 1-05 before and after half-time to end the contest.
The key score arrive in the 31st minute when O'Loughlin finished smartly to the net after Donie Kingston's excellent pin point pass. Five minutes after the restart David Conway found the top corner for a splendid goal to end any Clare hopes. David Tubridy kept Clare's score respectable with three second-half frees but, late on, Munnelly palmed to the net from 5 yards out to put suitable gloss on the deserved midlanders win.
Best for Laois were Mark Timmons, Darren Strong, Kieran Lillis whose father Mick was a former Clare great, John O Loughlin Colm Begley, Ross Munnelly, Padraig Clancy, Donal Kingston and Padraig McMahon. Clare will have to regroup, probably promote Mick O Dwyer’s assistants or move onto new supremos for the next season, Irrespective of this the true football base in Clare is experiencing a huge drift in population with some of the best footballers now domiciled in hurling heartlands. Trying times ahead for the football future of Clare.
Laois: Eoin Culliton, Paul O'Leary, Mark Timmons, Paul Begley; Darren Strong (0-03), Kieran Lillis (0-01), Padraig McMahon; John O'Loughlin (1-01), Padraig Clancy (0-01); Billy Sheehan, Conor Meredith (0-01), Colm Begley (0-02); Ross Munnelly (1-03), Donal Kingston (0-02), David Conway (1-01).
Subs: Colm Kelly for Kingston, Evan Costello (0-01) for Kelly (51 mins), Denis Booth for P Begley (53 mins), Conor Boyle for Clancy (55 mins), Tom Shiels (0-01, 0-01f) for C Begley (57 mins).
Clare: Joe Hayes; Gordon Kelly, Laurence Healy, Martin McMahon; Declan Callinan, John Hayes, Gary Brennan; Ger Quinlan, Cathal O'Connor; Shane McGrath, Ian McInerney, Alan Clohessy; Rory Donnelly (0-02), Graham Kelly (0-01), David Tubridy (0-06).
Subs: Chris Dunning for Clohessy , Chris Dixon for G Kelly, Shane Ryan (0-01) for McGrath, John Keane for O'Connor (60 mins), Padraig McMahon for Brennan (63 mins).
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork).
Cork 1-20 Clare 1-11
By Michael O Connor.A duck shoot was predicted by even the optimistic Clare supporters as Cork trundled up to Clare headquarters with the odds of 1/50 behind them. Even the presence of Mick O Dwyer on the Banner sideline made no effect on bookmaker odds. The ritual hammerings handed out by Cork and Kerry to Tipperary, Limerick and Waterford suggested a similar fate for the home side.
What transpired was a warm glow of an honourable defeat for Clare who after being caught in the headlights of a smart moving Cork side battled into the game before conceding a soft goal and then spending the second half battling honourably but never really in the hunt for the win.
Suggestions of a huge defensive blanket being put across the Clare rearguard gave the impression that Clare were intent on a damage limitation exercise with both eyes on the qualifiers. Dr Con Murphy and Mick O Dwyer exchanged a warm greeting before the warm up began as these two stars of Cork and Kerry acknowledged each other.
The heavy rain that bedevilled Clare headquarters did not relent for the duration of this Munster semi final with Kerry at usual awaiting the winners in the final. Ciaran Sheehan, named in the programme did not start with Fintan Gould coming in for the Eire-og man and he shown snippets of form with four points from play over the 70 minutes. David Tubridy kicked an eminently scorable free wide after two minutes before Cork struck for seven points in a row from the 5th to 17th minutes. Gould (2), Brian Hurley (3) John O Rourke and Daniel Gouldling were on target as Cork threatened to win this game by a landslide with a continuation of this rate of scoring. Clare, however had other ideas and in the intervening eight minutes were on six scores through the skills of Shane McGrath, David Tubridy (3), John Hayes and Rory Donnelly to leave two scores between the sides entering the final seven minutes of the half. The game defining goal from an entertainment point of view effectively killed off this tie when against the run of play Daniel Goulding struck to put five points once again between the sides. Clare crumbled in the wake of this goal and conceded three points from Brian Hurley, Paul Kerrigan and Daniel Goulding with a sole response from Ian McInerney to leave Cork atop a (1-11) to (0-7) lead.
What more could Clare mentors say to their charge except keep at the pattern of play that was showing great discipline at the back and kick the ball straight and long to Gary Brennan hoping for breaks and some good fortune. The Clare supporters were relieved that their team were at least competitive and organised in what they were about. Paul Kerrigan struck for the first score of the new half before Gary Brennan kicked Clare’s only goal after three minutes. Cork were spurred into action just as they were, when in the first half Clare had threatened. Daniel Goulding hit three scores from play in a row before a truly brilliant effort by the recently introduced Chris Dunning. However, Clare unlike Cork were devoid of forwards who could kick two or three points each even though the banner men did have enough possession to make scores. Cork who were now beginning to show off the strength of their bench brought on A list players such as Aidan Walsh, Ciaran Sheehan Donnacha O Connor and Alan O Connor. Clare as one would surmise did not possess this level of impact sub as much as their subs tried.
Fintan Gould, Brian Hurley and John O Rourke with his second point restored a ten point Leesiders lead with 11 minutes remaining in the game. Rory Donnelly and substitute John Keane hit a brace as Clare supporters who were used to departing the venue in games like this long before the final whistle stayed on to offer encouragement. Donnacha O Connor and fellow sub Ciaran Sheehan rounded off the Cork scoring as the final score of the game fell to David Tubridy. Cork, at the final whistle knew they had been in a game regardless of the fact they always looked like winners. Clare, for their part were good value for their efforts but now need to win a qualifier game to justify a years work or else this honourable defeat will mean nothing at the end of year report.
Best for Cork were Brian Hurley, Fintan Gould and Daniel Goulding who scored (1-14) between them. Graham Canty, John O Rourke, Damian Cahalane and Paul Kerrigan were also to the fore as Clare defended well but at a cost of costing them extra players up front to help my man of the match Gary Brennan. Others to do well for Clare included Martin McMahon, John Hayes, David Tubridy in patches, Declan Callinan, Rory Donnelly and Ian McInerney.
CORK: Ken OHalloran, Eoghan Cadogan, Michael Shields, Damian Cahalane, James Loughrey, Graham Canty, Tomas Clancy, Alan O Connor, Pearse O Neill, John O Rourke (0-2), Paddy Kelly, Fintan Gould (0-4) , Daniel Goulding (1-5), Brian Hurley (0-5), Paul Kerrigan (0-2). Subs: Aidan Walsh for P O Neill, Ciaran Sheehan (0-1) for Kerrigan, Donnacha O Connor (0-1) for O Rourke, Alan O Connor for P Kelly,
CLARE: Joe Hayes, Martin McMahon, Laurence Healy, Gordon Kelly, Declan Callinan, John Hayes (0-1), Graham Kelly, Gary Brennan (1-0), Cathal O Connor, Rory Donnelly(0-2), Ger Quinlan, Shane McGrath (0-1), Alan Clohessy, Ian McInerney (0-1), David Tubridy (0-4). Subs: Chris Dunning (0-1) for Clohessy, Francis Hayes for O Connor, John Keane (0-1) for Quinlan, Shane Ryan for McGrath, Paudge McMahon for Graham Kelly,
Referee: Derek Fahy (Longford).
By Michael O Connor.
Cork qualified for yet another Provincial final at this level thanks to the easiest of wins over a Clare side that possessed players who were unable to cope with the power and pace of a Cork side that were content to take the points and just defend against concession of goals.
A promising start by Clare ended with three wides, all which should have been scored with Mark McCarthy sending two close frees wide.
Andrew O Brien who led the scoring threat for Cork hit three in the opening twenty minutes as Fiachra Lynch and Eoghan Buckley added one apiece. Clare’s only score in this period was a well taken effort by Mark McCarthy as Darren O Neill’s half chance for a goal was blocked out. Little chance for a real goal effort was created in the first half as both sides were intent on shooting from a distance, which worked well for Cork and did not exist for Clare as the best the Junior side could manage were half hit under pressure efforts. A huge let off for the Peter O Connell managed side in the ten minutes before the interval was the five wides created by Cork and indeed the visitors could say that on three occasions the Clare defence were fouling when Cork were shooting but no frees were awarded.
The rain began to invade Cusack Park with consistency and strength. The last ten minutes of the opening half resulted in no futher Clare score and little scope for creating same as Cork hit five more points with Cathal Vaughan leading the way with a hat trick as Eoghan Buckley and Fiachra Lynch also on the mark. No cheer greeted even the Cork men as they held a deserved (0-10) to (0-1) interval lead as their supporters were thinking ahead to the provincial junior decider. Clare could argue that they were worth five points by half time but Cork appeared to take points when goals were available with a little extra effort so nine points was a fair reflection on the scoreboard.
Cork thanks to the efforts of a dominant midfield and half back line poured on the pressure in the second half with Cathal Vaughan scoring at will from frees and play hitting five before being replaced with ten minutes remaining. Clare finished the half with some merit as they scored four of the last five scores with Mark McCarthy on the mark. Andrew O Brien, Kevin O Driscoll, Fiachra Lynch and Vaughan(5) were the second half Cork targetmen as Michael Meade ended the curtain raiser and Clare ended their short Junior campaign for 2013.
CORK: David Hanrahan, A J O Connor, Eoin O Mahony, Kevin Harrington, Richard O Sullivan, Rory O Sullivan, Sean Kiely, Rory Deane, Michael O Leary, Cathal Vaughan (0-8). Andrew O Brien (0-4), Colm O Driscoll, Eoghan Buckley (0-2), Fiachra Lynch (0-3), David Harrington. Subs: Kevin O Driscoll (0-1) for Deane, Michael Vaughan for Harrington, Mark Sugrue for C Vaughan, Peter Daly for R O Sullivan, John Cronin for A J O Connor,
CLARE: Tony Burke, Eugene Flanagan, Stephen Collins, Stan Lineen, Cathal Doohan, Matthew Moloney, Declan McMahon, Darren O Neill (0-1), Keith O Connor, Craig O Brien (0-1), Enda Finucane, Eoin Brew, Rory O Connor, John Looney, Mark McCarthy (0-7). Subs: Matt O Shea for Doohan, Eoin Cleary for Rory O Connor, Graham Glynn for O Looney, Darragh Bolton for Brew, Liam Corry for O Brien,
REFEREE: Michael Meade (Limerick).
By Michael O Connor.
Hope brought about by the appointment of legendary manager Mick O Dwyer led to an improved attitude from players. However to lose three games at home in the national football league was tantamount to starting on a minus figure and work uphill. As a consequence, Clare remain firmly rooted in the basement of league football for another season at least.
Clare welcomed Limerick to Cusack park for the round 6 league game with all at stake, namely promotion to Division 3 next season and a day in Croke park. Ian Ryan, the sharpshooter in chief for Limerick football opened the exchanges. The biggest cheer of the first half was reserved for the 23rd minute when Kilmurry Ibrickane’s Mark McCarthy opened the scoring for Clare. Blood sub Michael O Shea added a valuable second score for the banner men as the Clare defence was now a lot more confident than in the early stages. Indeed after the 15 minute Clare were the better side than their guests to Cusack Park with the pace of the forwards causing problems for the Limerick defence. On a rare foray past halfway in the 27th minute Limerick worked a good score as Seanie Buckley kicked the shannonsiders 6th point. Clare were not unduly deterred by this and scores from Gary Brennan and Ian McInerney in the 30th and 34th minutes respectively left just two points between the sides. Inbetween these scores Donal O Sullivan had to be quick off his lines to deny Ian McInerney a goal and the rebound was sent harmelessly wide by Shane McGrath who earlier also wasted another point scoring opportunity.
Optimism, at half time was also tempered with nerves of failure once more for Clare with the winning post in sight. It was accepted that the breeze would matter for no more than a score with the short game favoured by both. Michael O Shea continued his good form with a well kicked score a minute into the new half. When in appeared that Clare were on the ascendancy their world collapsed with Ian Ryan and Seanie Buckley pointed in the 37th and 39th minutes respectively. Whatever psychological damage these two scores did to Clare it stunted them as they somehow felt that it was slipping away from them once more. Whilst Gary Brennan and Ian McInerney (free) did manage to bring it back to the minimum by the 43rd minute they needed a goal to really put confidence into the side. A major factor in success was also missing from the Clare men and that was luck. They won a penalty when Gary Brennan was upended but Donal O Sullivan’s foot kept out David Tubridy’s effort. The resulting 45’ was sent wide by Ian McInerney. The Limerick substitute Ian Corbett had a solid contribution to the Limerick side scoring in the 49th minute and again in the 51st either side of a converted Ian Ryan free to surge Limerick four clear of the host side.
Another slice of misfortune visited Clare when five minutes later in the 56th minute Shane McGrath saw an excellent effort cannon off the crossbar as Chris Dunning kicked the rebound wide. In this space of time Clare spurned 6 points and Limerick added three.
Finally a minute later Gary Brennan, now operating at full forward was on target and surely something Clare football must consider as a long term option as the game gravitates to the St Flannans teacher when he is positioned there. The killer goal from a Clare perspective and the winner for Limerick materialised when Ian Ryan palmed the ball to the net at the end of a four man Limerick move. With this moment’s action Clare’s league hopes ended and seconds later Ger Collins with the goal at his mercy took the point option such was Limerick’s growing confidence that the game was now over as a contest. Ian McInerney and Gary Brennan managed consolation scores either side of an excellent Ian Ryan score that proved to be Limerick’s last score of the game as they celebrated promotion and a league final slot in Croke Park against Tipperary in the coming weeks. Such was the hope early in the second half that Clare players clenched fists when scoring believing that the day would be theirs, How wrong, sadly they were.
Limerick goalkeeper Donal O Sullivan was a key architect in this win with two vital saves and his smart kickouts kept possession. Johnny McCarthy, Seanie Buckley, Pa Ranahan, Paudie Browne who struggled against Michael O Shea but finished well, Ian Ryan who took absolute concentration, finished with (1-5)were amongst those who led the way. Others with impressive cameos included Ian Corbett and Ger Collins. Clare who were visibly shaken at the final whistle knowing that the blame for this defeat could be rested comfortably at the door of the team had good displays from Gary Brennan, Michael O Shea, Declan Callinan, Enda Coughlan, John Hayes, Cathal O Connor in patches and Ian McInerney in the second half.
CLARE: Joe Hayes, Chris Dixon, Shane McNeilis, Enda Coughlan, Declan Callinan, Gordon Kelly, John Hayes, Gary Brennan (0-4), Cathal O Connor, Shane McGrath, David Tubridy, Chris Dunning, Rory Donnelly, Ian McInerey (0-3), Mark McCarthy (0-1). Subs: Michael O Shea (0-2) for Donnelly (inj), Ger Quinlan for Dunning, Martin McMahon for Dixon,
LIMERICK: Donal O Sullivan, Andrew Lane, Johnny McCarthy, Mark O Riordan, Stephen Lavin, Paudie Browne, Pa Ranahan, Thomas Lee, Bobby O Brien, Seanie Buckley (0-2), Ger Collins (0-3), John Riordan, Eoghan O Connor (0-1), Derry O Connor, Ian Ryan (1-5). Subs: Ian Corbett (0-2) for D O Connor, John Galvin for o Brien, Stephen Lucey for Lee.
Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo)
Four Tubridy points and another from Alan Clohessy helped Clare establish a 0-5 to 0-2 lead by the 22nd minute.
Niall McNamee’s goal six minutes later levelled proceedings but Clare finished the first half far stronger and points by Chris Dunning, Shane McGrath and Enda Coughlan saw the visitors deservedly lead by 0-8 to 1-2 at the interval.
Offaly manager Emmet McDonnell had called four players ashore by half-time, giving an indication of the problems they were experiencing. Yet, against the run of play, corner-back Brian Darby’s 54th minute goal put Offaly 2-4 to 0-9 ahead.
Clare were unfortunate not to be out of sight by this stage. Their captain Gary Brennan crashed a powerful shot against the crossbar and Offaly goalkeeper Alan Mulhall, who scored a first half point, produced a brave save to deny Podge McMahon.
However, the Banner landed the next four points through Tubridy (two), Shane Ryan and Brennan to wrap up the win and McMahon also blazed wide in the 65th minute with the goal at his mercy.
CLARE: J Hayes; M McMahon, S McNelis, E Coughlan 0-1; S Haugh, G Kelly, D Callinan; G Brennan 0-1, C O’Connor; C Dunning 0-1, S McGrath 0-2, A Clohessy 0-1; M McCarthy, R Donnelly, D Tubridy 0-6 (0-1 free, 0-1 ’45).
Subs: P McMahon for Donnelly (53), S Ryan 0-1 for Clohessy (inj, 55).
OFFALY: A Mulhall 0-1 (free); B Darby 1-0, P McConway, E Rigney; G Guilfoyle, J Moloney, M Brazil; R Brady 0-1 (free), A McNamee; M Mitchell, B Connor 0-1, E Carroll; B Allen, N McNamee 1-1, P Cunningham.
Subs: S Pender for Rigney (25 mins), P McPadden for Cunningham (29), D Kelly for Mitchell (33), R Dalton 0-1 for Allen (half time), J Maher for McPadden (blood sub 56 -59 mins), M Young for A McNamee (63).
Referee: B O’Shea (Dublin).
Clare 1-14 Leitrim 2-8
Clare came from behind to defeat Leitrim comfortably in Carrick-on-Shannon after turning in a superb second-half performance, led by David Tubridy, Mark McCarthy, Gary Brennan and Cathal O’Connor.
Leitrim dominated the opening 24 minutes, after which they led 1-5 to 0 -1. Emlyn Mulligan orchestrated matters for the hosts, hitting 0-3 and creating a goal for Conor Beirne.David Tubridy answered with a point from a fifth minute free but then the game was delayed for eight minutes following an injury to Leitrim’s Adrian Croal.
When the action resumed Clare rallied and closed the gap to the minimum by the break (1-5 to 1-4) with points from Tubridy and Shane McGrath, along with a fine Mark McCarthy goal.
Sub Rory Donnelly had Clare level within a minute of the restart but Paddy McGowan edged Leitrim ahead with a point soon after.
But then it was all Clare, with Tubridy and Podge McMahan leading by example as Mick O’Dwyer’s men landed seven points without reply.
Emlyn Mulligan had a late goal for the hosts.
The only black mark against Clare was the dismissal of Martin McMahon for a foul on Mulligan.
Scorers for Clare: D. Tubridy 0-5(4fs.); M. McCarthy 1-1, S. McGrath, G. Brennan, 0-2 (each), R. Donnelly, P. McMahon, G. Kelly, C. O’Connor, 0-1 (each).
Scorers for Leitrim: E. Mulligan 1-4(3fs.), C. Beirne 1-0, W. McKeon 0-2, P. McGowan, D. Beck, 0-1 (each).
CLARE: J. Hayes; L. Healy, S. McNeilis, E. Coughlan; D. Callinan, G. Kelly, M. McMahon; G. Brennan, C. O’Connor; S. McGrath, A. Clohessy, C. Dunning; M. McCarthy, P. McMahon, D. Tubridy.
Subs: R. Donnelly for Dunning (22), N. Kelly for McMahon (66), C. Duggan for McCarthy (71).
LEITRIM: C. McCrann; D. Beck, C. Egan, P. Maguire; C. Clarke, P. Brennan, A. Wynne; W. McKeon, P. McGowan; A. Croal, E. Mulligan, G. Hickey;
C. Beirne, J. Glancy, K. Conlan.
Limerick 2-16 Clare 2-13An open and entertaining McGrath Cup quarter-final in chilly Foynes yesterday and an ultimately deserved but skin-of-the-teeth win for the home side.
KILMURRY IBRICKANE…..0-10 ST JOSEPHS DOORA BAREFIELD…………….0-4
By Michael O Connor.
No surprise really in Cusack park as Kilmurry Ibrickane once more are champions of Clare. Their overall superiority in defence as they smother opponents forward power granted them title 13 against St Josephs who must now be wondering what they have to do to score in a county final.
Fourth time lucky for St Josephs having lost three previous finals to the reigning champions or Kilmurry Ibrickane once more to uphold their standing as football kingpins of Clare and claimed title number 13. St Josephs under the guise of Doora won the county crown way back in 1898. The VIP section, normally the hottest ticket in town was not even half full as the two teams lined up behind the Tulla pipe band.
In the 2011 final Kilmurry had raced into a five lead lead with the game gone 15 minutes and at the interval St Josephs were facing half time losing 8 points to no score. The commonly held view that it could not be the same scenario in 2012 and from the early exchanges it looked like St Josephs would be more than equal to Kilmurry Ibrickane on this occasion.
The first five minutes of the game saw the ball being kicked with extreme rarity as both teams maintained possession choosing not to gamble into giving away an early score. St Josephs were keen to launch in high balls as Kilrush had profited from this tactic in the two semi final outings with Kilmurry.
Despite early pressure from the Mid Clare club it was the holders who opened the scoring from wing forward Noel Hickey in the 8th minute. There was little evidence at this stage that the first half would become a complete non event. However, within two further minutes the alarm bells were ringing all around headquarters and no where more certain that in Barefield ears as Thomas O Connor and Peter O Dwyer kicked a score each to surge their charges three clear. Declan O Keeffe (free) and Ivor White (play) were off target as Barefield’s kicking left a lot to be desired often relinquishing possession to the Kilmurry defenders.
Ian McInerney (2 frees), Noel Downes, Niall Hickey and John Daly (free) added five scores between the 18th and 28th minutes as the spectre of St Josephs repeating the 2011 feat of no first half score loomed menacingly. This, thankfully did not materialise as Cathal O Sullivan with a speculative effort from 55 yards sailed between the posts as the game entered injury time to leave Kilmurry (0-8) to (0-1) behind at the break.
St Josephs needed two if not three goals to win this title and barring the Kilmurry goalie kicking into his own net this was not going to happen. Niall Hickey and Ian McInerney in the 36th and 38th minutes added to the Kilmurry Ibrickane tally as they went into double figures, (0-10) to (0-1) and no way back for Barefield. To further compound St Josephs misery they kicked a number of wides in desperation and it diluted any momentum in their challenge.
KIlmurry failed to score for the remainder of the game as St Josephs to their credit performed better than in 2011 but did not create even what one could suggest was half a goal chance in the second half. Cathal Duggan following a great catch by Alan O Neill pointed and added a free soon after for St Joseph’s third score in the 43rd minute. The final twenty minutes of action resulted on a miserly one point being added to the scoreboard as Cathal Duggan converted a free in the 57th minute. Kilmurry Ibrickane now move on to play the Kerry county champions and on this performance may have to up their efforts considerably to reach the next round.
Best for the two in a row champions, a feat last achieved in 2008-09 by Kilmurry Ibrickane were Peter O Dwyer who made a number of saves in the second half, Martin McMahon, Paul O Connor, Ian McInerney, Darren Hickey, Niall Hickey, Michael O Dwyer and Thomas O Connor. St Josephs have lost the O Gorman Cup, Cusack cup and county finals to Kilmurry Ibrickane. Their efforts are laudable but from their perspective unsuccessful despite Declan O Keeffe, Kevin Dilleen, Ivor Whyte, Cathal Duggan, Alan O Neill and Enda Lyons when introduced.
KILMURRY IBRICKANE: Peter O Dwyer, Martin McMahon, Darren Hickey, Shane Hickey, Thomas O Connor (0-1), Paul O Connor, Declan Callinan, Peter O Dwyer (0-1), Ian McInerney (0-3), Evan Talty, Michael O Dwyer, Niall Hickey (0-3), Enda Coughlan, John Daly (0-1), Noel Downes (0-1). Subs: Seamus Murrihy for Talty, Odran O Dwyer for Daly, Mark McCarthy for Peter O Dwyer, Ciaran Morrissey for Ian McInerney,
ST JOSEPHS: Subs: Declan O Keeffe,Paudie Nugent, Steven Collins, Martin Brooks, Sean Flynn, Kevin Dilleen, Declan Malone, Alan O Neill, Mark Hallinan, Greg Lyons, Cathal O Sullivan (0-1), Paul Dullaghan, David O Brien, Ivor Whyte, Cathal Duggan (0-3). Subs: Enda Lyons for Malone, Brian Clancy for O Brien, Christy O Brien for Hallinan, Luke Brannock for Dullaghan, Eamonn Clohessy for O Sullivan,
REFEREE: Michael Rock (Ennistymon).
After the game Michael O Neill made the presentation of the Jack Daly cup to Martin McMahon as Niall Hickey was selected as man of the match. Cathal Duggan was awarded the top scorer of the championship title.