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First U-21A title for slick Cratloe

Cratloe 2-19   Ennistymon 3-6

AT the end of a near flawless display, Cratloe got their hands on the clubs first ever U-21A football title in Cusack Park last Thursday evening.
The boys in dark blue were superior to Ennistymon in virtually every position as evidenced by their flowing brand of football, which led by a avalanche of quality scores from play.

Cratloe's Liam Markham fights for posession with Ennistymon's Cathal Malone. Photograph by Declan MonaghanNeither the weather or the fact that the teams were barred from entering the pitch until 15 minutes before throw-in, derailed Cratloe.
Yet it was Ennistymon, playing with the wind, who struck first when David Davenport goaled from a penalty given away by goalkeeper Wes de Loughrey, who brought down Danny Rouine.
Two minutes later, Pádraig Collins netted one of the slickest goals seen in Cusack Park this year. Cutting through the Ennistymon defence, Collins played a neat one two with his older brother, Seán, before outwitting Noel Sexton with the outside of his right foot.
Deployed in a roving role, the 17-year-old Cratloe corner-forward, went on to produce a man-of-the-match display, leading some people to ask how come he didn’t make the Clare minor starting 15 this year. A question perhaps for his father, Colm Collins, the Cratloe U-21 and Clare minor manager?!
Come the interval, Cratloe led 1-9 to 1-4. Seán Collins pointed a trio of scores from play, two of which could have been goals, while Conor Ryan, Conor McGrath with the point of the game, Enda Boyce, Cathal McInerney and Joe O’ Connor tagged on a flood of scores. 
Playing with the wind, Davenport and Michael McDonagh completed Ennistymon’s first-half total.
Eleven minutes after the restart, Cratloe had added five unanswered points, the pick of which was put over by Cathal McInerney, following a diagonal pass from Seán Collins.
Noel Sexton kept the scoreline somewhat respectable when he saved superbly from McInerney, who had evaded Micheál O’Loughlin.
Seven minutes from full-time, Cratloe led 1-18 to 1-6. Ennistymon netted twice in the final five minutes to take the bare look off their scoring return. Davenport scored his second penalty, which was won by Cathal Malone, while Malone scored the third goal in injury time.
Cratloe players celebrate victory over Ennistymon in the U-21A final at Cusack Park. Photograph by Declan MonaghanLiam Markham’s pull from about 30 yards skidded along the surface and was spilled over the line by the otherwise excellent Noel Sexton, two minutes from full-time.
What makes Cratloe’s win even more noteworthy is the fact that all of their starting 15 are under age again next year, while 12 will be eligible in 2011.
While Barry Gleeson, Enda Boyce and Liam Markham played well for Cratloe in defence, Ennistymon just couldn’t handle the combined attacking threat of Pádraig and Seán Collins, Conor McGrath who sprayed several probing passes around Cusack Park, Cathal McInerney and Joe O’Connor, who played well alongside the impressive Conor Ryan in midfield.
If these Cratloe players continue to improve and develop in the years ahead, they will soon be a significant force in Clare football at senior level. Their display was built purely on skill, movement and finishing power; Cratloe scored 2-17 of their total from open play.
As for Ennistymon, they will be very disappointed at their complete non-performance. Only Noel Sexton, David Davenport and Cathal Malone made any impact.

Cratloe: Wes de Loughrey, John Laurence Boyce, Joe Conroy, Barry Gleeson (captain), Enda Boyce, Liam Markham, Seán Hynan; Conor Ryan and Joe O’Connor; Kane O’Shea, Seán Collins, Dean de Loughrey, Cathal McInerney, Conor McGrath and Pádraig Collins.
Subs: Patrick O’Gorman for Kane O’Shea, John O’Halloran for Dean de Loughrey and Seán Hayes for Conor McGrath.
Scorers: Pádraig Collins and Liam Markham 1-1 each, Seán Collins 0-4, Joe O’Connor 0-4, (0-2f), Conor McGrath 0-3, Cathal McInerney 0-2, Conor Ryan, Enda Boyce, Dean de Loughrey and John O’Halloran 0-1 each.
Wides: 5; Frees won: 27.
Yellow cards: Liam Markham, Barry Gleeson, Enda Boyce, Pádraig Collins and Joe Conroy.

Ennistymon: Noel Sexton, Robbie McInerney, Micheál O’Loughlin, Micheál Houlihan, Mickey Rouine, Martin Barry, Cathal Malone; Francis O’Loughlin and Ronan Linnane; Michael McDonagh, Tadgh Malone, David Davenport, Danny Rouine, Seán McGonigley and Brian Sexton.
Subs: Dara Ralph for Micheál Houlihan, Aidan Slattery for Mickey Rouine, Seán O’Driscoll for Tadgh Malone and Brian Houlihan for Francis O’Loughlin.
Scorers: David Davenport 2-4, (2-0 pen and 0-3f), Cathal Malone 1-0, Michael McDonagh and Brian Sexton 0-1 each.
Wides: 3; Frees won: 31; 45’s: 1
Yellow cards: Martin Barry

Referee: Michael Talty (Kilmurry Ibrickane).

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