Cratloe and Kilmurry-Ibrckane will contest the 2016 final of the Clare senior football championship after they accounted for last year’s final pairing, Miltown St.Josephs and Cooraclare in today’s semi-finals.
The Cusack Park clash of Cratloe and the title holders Miltown certainly provided plenty of talking points.. Miltown hit the front after just twenty five seconds when Darragh McDonagh found the net and by the eighteenth minute they had added three more majors, another from McDonagh and one each from Eoin Cleary and Kevin Keavey. At this point they led by eleven points, 4-1 to 0-2 and looked to be on their way back to the final but from here on Cratloe stormed into the game and they hit four unanswered points in the final ten minutes of the half to leave the half time score at 4-1 to 0-6.
Cratloe landed the first point of the second half but two for Miltown to leave the score at 4-3 to 0-7 ten minutes into the half suggested that the champions would go on to win. From here to the final whistle, however, Cratloe dominated and scored 1-5 without reply, the goal coming from Podge Collins, and they had drawn level with seven minutes still to play. Both sides had chances to get a winner in the closing minutes but neither managed to do this so extra time was required.
Both teams finished the game with fourteen players each after Seanie Malone, Miltown’s full back was sent off with twenty minutes to go followed by the sending off of David Collins on a second yellow card with four minutes remaining..
Two minutes into extra time Conor McGrath goaled for Cratloe and they went on to complete a great comeback with a four point win on a final scoreline of 2-15 to 4-5.
On Sunday evening in Doonbeg, Kilmurry-Ibrickane proved too strong for their neighbours Cooraclare in the second of the senior championship semi-finals. At the end of a poor first half they led 0-5 to 0-1 and added 1-1 in the opening minutes of the second half, the goal coming from Michael O’Dwyer.
The sending off of Andrew O’Neill on a second yellow card ten minutes before the break was a huge blow to Cooraclare. It was 1-8 to 0-1 with just seven minutes remaining and while Cooraclare battled to the end, there was no denying Kilmurry-Ibrickane their victory. Cooraclare’s goal came from a Rory Donnelly free in the third minute of ‘injury time’ but straight from the kickout Kilmurry attacked and Keelan Sexton found the net.
The throw in for this tie was delayed for five minutes to accommodate the very big attendance.
By Seamus Hayes