SENIOR B HURLING
Crusheen 0-11 O’Callaghan’s Mills 0-11
AN inch is as good as a mile the saying goes and so it proved at Clarecastle on Sunday when Crusheen and O’Callaghan’s Mills played out a draw in the final of the senior B hurling championship.
The game was in the second minute of injury time when Adrian Flaherty won possession some 80m from the Crusheen goal. With his side a point down and time fast running out, the former Éire Óg player got in a mighty strike that was clearly on target.
Clare All-Ireland U-21 winning goalkeeper, Donal Tuohy kept his eye on the ball all the way. He leaped high into the air and trapped the ball but as he prepared to clear to safety, the umpire raised the white flag having judged that the ball had crossed the bar when Tuohy made the stop.
The score tied up the game for the fifth and final time and they will have to meet again to decide where the Ryan Hannon Trophy will rest this winter.
Weather conditions were difficult but the Clarecastle pitch was in excellent condition for the game which was transferred from Cusack Park on Sunday morning following heavy overnight rain.
It wasn’t the best of games and this was particularly true of the opening half which produced just one score from play and at the end of which, the ’Mills led by the odd point in seven.
To be fair to the teams, things did improve in the second half and the lead changed hands on a few occasions. Gearóid O’Donnell levelled matters two minutes after the resumption but Jonathon Lyons and Adrian Flaherty replied with a point each to give the Mills a two-point advantage.
Three unanswered scores from Crusheen’s Joe Meaney (free), Conor and Gearóid O’Donnell saw Crusheen take the lead for the first time 13 minutes into this period but a Fergus Donovan effort left the teams level at 0-7 each at the three-quarter stage.
They were still level five minutes later after Conor Cooney and Fergus Donovan had exchanged points before Crusheen appeared to take a grip on the tie with points from Joe Meaney, Fergus Kennedy and Gearóid O’Donnell to lead by three with eight minutes still to play.
This was still the position with three minutes remaining when Fergus Donovan had a point for the ’Mills. Two minutes of additonal time were signalled before Conor Cooney cut the margin to one when he landed a 60m free in the final minute of normal time.
When the same player was wide of the target less than a minute later following a good move, it looked as it if would be Crusheen’s day and that the B title was on the way back to the club for the first time in six years.
They refused to accept defeat, however, and Flaherty’s great strike ensured another day out for the mid-Clare side as Crusheen find themselves in the race for two titles. They are due to play Broadford in the semi-final of the Clare Champion Cup this Saturday with the winners here going through to play the holders Clonlara in the final.
Diarmuid Hehir, Pat Donnellan, Conor Cooney, Fergus Donovan and Adrian Flaherty did well for the ’Mills in this outing while Crusheen’s best were Alan Brigdale, Cian and Cathal Dillon, Joe Meaney and Gearóid O’Donnell.
Crusheen: Donal Tuohy; John Brigdale, Cian Dillon, Alan Brigdale; Cathal Dillon, Ciarán O’Doherty, Darragh O’Doherty; Tony Meaney, Conor O’Donnell; Alan Tuohy, Seán Dillon, Joe Meaney; Paddy Meaney, Fergus Kennedy, Gearóid O’Donnell.
Subs: Jason Greene for A Tuohy (22 minutes); Patrick O’Grady for P Meaney (25 minutes); Brendan McMahon for S Dillon (half-time).
Scorers: Joe Meaney (0-5), four frees; Gearóid O’Donnell (0-3), Fergus Kennedy (0-2), Conor O’Donnell (0-1).
Frees for: 11; wides: 10; 65s: 2.
Bookings: Darragh O’Doherty (9 minutes); Cathal Dillon (24 minutes).
O’Callaghan’s Mills: John Cooney; Damian Noonan, James Shanahan, Gerry Cooney; Pat Donnellan, Diarmuid Hehir, Bryan Donnellan; Conor Cooney, Niall Donovan; Jonathon Lyons, Declan Donovan, Fergus Donovan; James McMahon, Adrian Flaherty, Alan Duggan.
Subs: Gerard Frost for Damian Noonan (49 minutes); Gary Neville for N Donovan (54 minutes).
Scorers: Adrian Flaherty (0-4), three frees; Conor Cooney (0-3), two frees; Jonathon Lyons, Fergus Donovan (0-2) each.
Frees for: 15; wides: 9.
Bookings: Conor Cooney (55 minutes).
Referee: Fergie McDonagh, St Joseph’s.