Smith O’Brien’s 3-7 St Breckan’s 0-6
FOLLOWING Cratloe’s intermediate and Clooney-Quin’s junior A football success, Smith O’Brien’s added to East Clare’s football haul at the Éire Óg grounds last Saturday.
Beaten in a replay in the 2008 junior B final, the Killaloe men definitely didn’t need a second chance 12 months later.
Although they shot 11 wides, Paul McCarthy’s team fully deserved their win. While their kicking wasn’t the greatest at times, players like John Culhane, Trevor Howard, John Cusack, Shane Byrne and Stephen McCarthy played some impressive football.
One of the games highlights was the display of Eugene Cusack in the winners’ goal. The Cavan fireman made a particularly good save from Tony Shannon 15 minutes from full-time, while Seán Neville steered the rebound wide. That save and subsequent miss were crucial as Smith O’Brien’s led 1-5 to 0-5 at that juncture. Seven minutes from full-time, Brian Scanlan blocked down another St Breckan’s goal attempt.
Linking up with Tony Shannon, John Stack, who scored 0-4 in total, kicked the game’s opening point after just 23 seconds.
Kevin McCarthy netted Smith O’Brien’s first score in the eighth minute, when he was placed by Brian McKeogh.
A minute after Anthony Foley rattled the post, when he pulled on a loose ball, Shane Byrne found Anthony O’Sullivan with a lovely pass, enabling the wing-forward to point his side a goal ahead.
Kevin McCarthy, after a lung-bursting John Cusack run and Eric Murrihy exchanged scores, leaving Smith O’Brien’s 1-2 to 0-2 up after 20 minutes.
John Stack kicked two late frees, while Byrne scored an impressive point for the East Clare men, who led 1-3 to 0-4 at half-time.
Set up by Foley, Kevin McCarthy pointed Smith O’Brien’s three points up early in the second half, shortly after Stephen McCarthy and Liam Walsh had kicked a wide each.
Brian McKeogh via his fist and Tony Shannon, from a free, exchanged points before a scoreless 16 minutes followed.
In that period, Cusack made his crucial save for the men in red, while Smith O’Brien’s kicked several wides at the far end.
Trevor Howard’s point was quickly followed by a Stephen McCarthy goal from play, three minutes from time, to seal Smith O’Brien’s win.
Although John Stack replied from play, picking up the clearance after Cusack had saved from Anthony O’Sullivan, Shane Byrne finished off the Lisdoonvarna and Doolin men with 1-1 in injury time.
Joined later in the evening by Keith Wood, Smith O’Brien’s put as much effort into their celebrations as they had into their championship-winning feat earlier on Saturday.
A year after their replay defeat to Ennistymon, they made the most of their third stab at junior B glory in Ennis last weekend.
As for St Breckan’s, they will feel that they didn’t do themselves justice, despite putting a big effort into their campaign.
Smith O’Brien’s: Eugene Cusack, Brian Scanlan, Willie Neary, Rory Cahill; Liam Walsh, John Culhane, Trevor Howard; John Cusack (captain) and Paul McKeogh; Shane Byrne, Kevin McCarthy, Anthony O’Sullivan; Keith Stritch, Anthony Foley, Brian McKeogh.
Subs: Stephen McCarthy for Keith Stritch, Seamus Gleeson for Anthony O’Sullivan, Martin Haugh for Anthony Foley, Mark McInerney for Brian McKeogh and Aidan McKeogh for Liam Walsh.
Scorers: Kevin McCarthy and Shane Byrne (1-2 each), Stephen McCarthy (1-0), Anthony O’Sullivan, Brian McKeogh and Trevor Howard (0-1 each).
Wides: 11; frees won: 18; 45s: 3.
Yellow cards: Trevor Howard and Stephen McCarthy.
St Breckan’s: Colm Haugh, Shane Stack, Seán O’Domhaill, Michael Flanagan; Noel McDonagh, Paddy Mooney (captain), Seán Creedon; Tony Shannon and Adrian Linnane; John Carey, Graham O’Neill, Cormac Hehir; Seán Neville, Eric Murrihy, John Stack.
Subs: Eric Callaghan for Seán Creedon, John Paul Keating for Seán Neville and Aidan O’Sullivan for Eric Murrihy.
Scorers: John Stack 0-4, (0-2f), Tony Shannon (f) and Eric Murrihy 0-1 each.
Wides: 5; frees won: 23; 45s: 1.
Yellow card: Shane Stack.
Referee: John Brew, Kilmurry Ibrickane.