By Seamus Hayes
Cratloe 0-14 Crusheen 0-6
Cratloe’s dream to be the senior hurling and football champions of Clare in 2014 is very much alive.
A comfortable win over Crusheen in the hurling decider this afternoon means that they are just one win away from achieving what Ennis Dals did way back in 1914. Victory over Eire Og in the football final next Sunday will not only see them retain the Jack Daly cup which they won for the first time last year, it will confirm their place as the kingpins of senior hurling and football in Clare
While the hurling final won ‘t be remembered as one of the better finals, there can be no disputing the merit of Cratloe’s victory, In winning the Canon Hamilton trophy for the second time (they won their inaugural title in 2009), they justified favouritism on a day when they led from the start.
Two points ahead inside the opening minute, they dominated the exchanges and would not have been flattered had they a greater winning margin.
The foundations for the win were laid in defence as Cratloe limited the Crusheen attack to just one point throughout the afternoon.
The winners led at the break by seven points, 0-9 to 0-2 after both sides had recorded some bad misses. Cratloe failed to score in the third quarter but Crusheen could only manage one point in this period, another converted free by Pat Vaughan.
Eleven minutes remained when Pat Vaughan scored the loser’s opening point from play but Cratloe responded with four unanswered scores to hold a commanding 0-14 to 0-4 advantaage with just two minutes of normal time remaining.
Crusheen battled to the end, but they just could not break down a solid Cratloe defence in which centre back Conor Ryan excelled. He was later named as man of the match while the game’s top scorer Conor McGrath, picked up the award as the championship’s top scorer.
In addition to Ryan, Cratloe had strong displays from Michael Hawes, who captains the football team next week, Sean Chaplin, Shane O’Leary, Liam Markham, who captained the team, Gearoid Considine and Conor McGrath.
The Dillon brothers, Ciaran O’Doherty, Jason Greene, Gerry O’Grady and Pat Vaughan tried hard for Crusheen
Cratloe;–Gearoid Ryan; Shane O’Leary, Michael Hawes, David Ryan; Sean Chaplin, Conor Ryan, Enda Boyce; Martin Murphy, Liam Markhan (0-1); Shane Gleeson, Podge Collins (0-1), Sean Collins (0-2); Cathal McInerney (0-2) Gearoid Considine (0-1), Conor McGrath (0-6), 4 frees;
Subs—David Collins (0-1) for Gleeson; Barry Duggan for O’Leary; Damian Browne for Considine; John O’Gorman for D. Ryan; Philip Gleeson for Chaplin
Crusheen; Donal Tuohy; Jason Greene, Cathal Dillon, Alan Brigdale; Ciaran O’Doherty, Cian Dillon, Shaun Dillon; Pat Vaughan (0-5), 3 frees, Fergus Kennedy; Gearoid O’Donnell, Joe Meaney, Alan Tuohy; Conor O’Donnell, Gerry O’Grady, Colin Vaughan (0-1);
Subs—Darragh O’Doherty for A. Tuohy; Jamie Fitzgibbon for Meaney; Cronan Dillon for G. O’Donnell; Conor O’Loughlin for Brigdale
Referee—Seanie McMahon, Newmarket
***Earlier, Eire Og were crowned senior B hurling champions when they scored a 4-16 to 4-9 win over O’Callaghans Mills in a replay