South Liberties 1-11 Whitegate 1-9
WHITEGATE’S dream of contesting the Munster club intermediate hurling final was dashed at Cusack Park on Sunday by a physically stronger and sharper South Liberties outfit from neighbouring Limerick.
The Clare champions’ failure to avail of a number of good chances in the opening half proved costly but, over the hour, their Limerick counterparts were the better-balanced side and deserved their victory, which gives them a place in the provincial final on Sunday week against Douglas from Cork.
With the pitch in remarkably good condition following the heavy rainfall of the previous week, the Clare and Limerick champions served up a good game of hurling.
The loss of the experienced Terence Fahy due to injury proved to be a big blow to Whitegate.
On a day when their attack struggled against a physically stronger opposition, Fahy’s experience would have been a big help in their front line of attack.
The visitors scored the first point inside the opening minute but the Clare champions dominated the opening quarter and bounced back to score 1-4 without reply. Points from George Waterstone and Jason Malone were followed by a Stephen Malone goal, which came after Albert Shanahan in the Liberties’ goal had saved well from John O’Brien. John Minogue and Waterstone added further points as Whitegate threatened to build up a big lead.
From here on South Liberties came much more into the game and four unanswered points had them back to within two of the home side with five minutes of the half still to play.
A point each from midfielders Ian Fahy and team captain, Patrick Minogue gave the home supporters cause for cheer but they were rocked in the first minute of injury time when impressive South Liberties captain, Shane O’Neill went forward from his wing-back position and he beat the Whitegate defence to score his side’s goal. The score clearly rocked the home side and sent the visitors to the dressing room in high spirits.
It was a blow from which Whitegate never fully recovered. Within a few minutes of the resumption, the winners had taken the lead, with points from Mike Keane and Anthony Owens, and from here on they had the better of matters.
Scoring chances were fewer in this half and the game was at the three-quarter stage before Whitegate threatened to add to their first-half tally. However, George Waterstone surprisingly went for goal from a 20 metre free in front of the posts and his effort was saved.
Early in the final quarter John O’Brien levelled for Whitegate, their first score of the half, but within a minute former Limerick player Mark Keane had his side back in front with a 60 metre free.
Ian Fahy, with a great strike from a 30-metre line ball, levelled again with 10 minutes to play but within a minute Mike Moynihan gave the winners a lead they would hold to the end.
Mark Keane and Andrew Fahy swapped points when they converted 65s before South Liberties substitute Derek Grimes sealed his side’s victory with a good point from play.
Two minutes of injury time were played and in the second of these the home side launched one last attack. Centre-back Brendan Bugler broke forward and passed to John Minogue, whose effort was turned behind for a 65, which Andrew Fahy lobbed into the goalmouth but the Liberties defence held firm and as they cleared their lines the final whistle sounded and Whitegate’s season was over.
Jason Malone and John Bugler did well in the Clare side’s defence but their forward line disappointed on the day. Albert Shanahan, Shane O’Neill, Mark Keane and Anthony Owens did well for the winners.
South Liberties: Albert Shanahan; Shane Garry, Niall Shanahan, Tony Carroll; Thomas Ryan, Mark Keane, Shane O’Neill (capt); Mike Moynihan, William Hickey; Brian Slattery, Anthony Owens, Davy O’Neill; Mike Keane, Ciaran Carbery, Colum Godfrey.
Sub: Derek Grimes for Godfrey (45 minutes)
Scorers: Shane O’Neill (1-0); Mark Keane (0-3), all frees; Brian Slattery (0-2), both frees; Colum Godfrey, Davy O’Neill, Mike Keane, Mike Moynihan, Anthony Owens, Derek Grimes, (0-1) each.
Frees: 12; Wides: 11; 65s: 1
“It was a great game and we had to work hard. We missed a number of chances,” Seán Hehir, South Liberties coach
Whitegate: Andrew Fahy; Cathal Mulvihill, John Bugler, Trevor Kelly; Tommy Holland, Brendan Bugler, Jason Malone; Patrick Minogue (capt), Ian Fahy; Eric Minogue, Raymond Cahill, John Minogue; Stephen Malone, George Waterstone, John O’Brien.
Sub: Michael O’Brien for E Minogue (49 minutes).
Scorers: Stephen Malone (1-0); George Waterstone (0-2), frees; Ian Fahy (0-2), one line ball; John O’Brien, John Minogue, Jason Malone, Andrew Fahy (free), Patrick Minogue, (0-1) each.
Frees: 9; Wides: 4; 65s: 3
Referee: Colm Lyons, Cork
A great year for East Clare club
WHITEGATE were, understandably, disappointed to lose out at the semi-final stage of the Munster Intermediate Hurling Championship on Sunday but despite that defeat, it was a great year for the East Clare club.
Speaking after the game, selector David Considine said, “We had enough chances in the first half to be further ahead at half-time but we didn’t take them. We should have scored from a 20 metre free and we had some bad wides. We didn’t take all of our chances.”
Overall however, it was a great year. “We set out at the start of the year to win the intermediate championship.
“We achieved that target and everything after that was a bonus. It’s great to be back in senior ranks.
“The intermediate championship is one of the toughest to win. The teams that have won this title in recent years have gone on to do well and the records show that.
“Whitegate must now ensure that they hold their own at senior level and maintain their status. We must consolidate our position in the top grade.
“Broadford won the intermediate title last year and their target this year was to get out of the group, which they achieved. If Whitegate can qualify from their group next year it will be great.
“The teams that have come up from intermediate in recent years have held their own in the top grade and that must be our aim.
“It’s great to be up in the senior grade and we must ensure that they don’t go back down,” added Considine.