RANK outsiders Broadford threw themselves an unexpected championship lifeline with a tremendous fire and brimstone second-half display to end Doora-Barefield’s unbeaten run.
With three wins on the trot, St Joseph’s were hotly fancied to defeat their South-East Clare opponents in the fourth round of the senior hurling championship in Cusack Park, Ennis on Friday night.
However, Broadford had to win this do-or-die encounter to remain in contention for a place in the quarter-finals and they duly obliged with this surprise yet fully merited two point victory.
The draw between Ballyea and Sixmilebridge ensured the parish booked a place in the quarter-finals and they will now be joined by Broadford if they can beat Ballyea in their last outing.
Four points in front at the break having dominated most of the opening 30 minutes, Doora-Barefield appeared to be cruising and on course for a comfortable victory.
However, the men in maroon and white hadn’t bargained for an alarming second-half fade-out where a far more determined Broadford side outscored them by seven points to just two points from placed balls.
Not even the introduction of former Clare All-Star wing-forward, Jamesie O’Connor in the 53rd minute and four other substitutes could halt the courageous second-half fightback from the gutsy Broadford outfit and raise even a white flag from play.
Patsy Fahy’s men were left to rue some careless shooting from long range, which resulted in 14 wides, instead of varying their tactics and using their ideal target man former Clare All-Star centre-back Seán McMahon at full-forward much more frequently.
Broadford’s margin of victory would have been even greater if they had converted all of their goal-scoring opportunities.
A few shrewd substitutions and positional switches by Broadford manager, Danny Chaplin heralded their revival after the change of ends. Their defence tightened up considerably, particularly their half-back line reducing the space for the Doora-Barefield attack, while midfielders Peter O’Brien and Craig Chaplin began to win vital possession at midfield.
Broadford wing-back, James Gunning, reduced the gap to just three with a great long-range point, Conor Hassett converted a 65’ at the other end before points from Aonghus O’Brien free, Kieran Corcorna 65’ and Craig Chaplin left the South-East Clare men 1-8 to 1-7 behind after 39 minutes.
Broadford supporters started to believe victory was possible when Pádraig Hickey equalised with a point two minutes later and they rose to their feet when substitute Declan Teefy put them in front for the first time in the 46th minute.
Two minutes later, Broadford defender, Steven Gunning fell to the ground following a challenge, which resulted in Conor Hassett being sent off.
Doora-Barefield narrowed the gap to the bare minimum with 10 minutes left but they couldn’t penetrate the watertight Broadford defence where James and Steven Gunning were inspirational.
Broadford hung on and finished the stronger side as James Gunning fired over his third point from play in injury time to seal their victory.
It was all so different in the first half. Apart from the first minute when Pádraig Hickey forced Doora-Barefield custodian Christy O’Connor to produce a very good save, the men in maroon and white looked the more likely winners.
Even though a Pádraig Taylor point cancelled out an early Conor Hassett free, Doora-
Barefield were creating far more scoring opportunities thanks to the good work of defenders Marty Regan, Ken Kennedy and Kevin Dilleen, Ivor White at midfield and Conor Hassett and Damien Kennedy up front.
Points from Conor Hassett, Seán McMahon and Michael McNamara put Dooa-Barefield 0-7 to 0-3 ahead in the 24th minute before Craig Chaplin blasted a 30-metre free to the back of the net two minutes later.
Broadford ‘keeper Kevin Ryan batted down a Conor Hassett free and Seán McMahon managed to send the ball to the net in a goal mouth scramble to earn his side a 1-7 to 1-3 advantage at the interval.
Very few patrons would have predicted the dramatic change in the course of the game in the second period.
Broadford: Kevin Ryan; John Corcoran, Kieran Corcoran, Steven Gunning; James Gunning, Aidan O’Brien, Kieran O’Connor; Peter O’Brien, Craig Chaplin; Diarmuid Skeehan, John Clogan, Niall Moloney; Pádraig Hickey, Aoghus O’Brien, Pádraig Taylor.
Subs: Declan Teefy half-time for Diarmuid Skeehan, Ger Hickey 40 mins for Niall Maloney, David Hickey 60 mins for Pádraig Taylor.
Scorers: Craig Chaplin (1-2, 1-0 free), James Gunning (0-3) Angus O’Brien (0-2, frees) Pádraig Hickey (0-1), Kieran Corcoran (0-1, 65’), Pádraig Taylor (0-1), Declan Teefy (0-1).
Frees: 15; Wides: 10 65’: 1
“We needed a win and the lads battled hard for one.” Broadford manager, Danny Chaplin.
Doora Barefield: Christy O’Connor; Marty Regan, Ken Kenndy, Niall White; Mark Cullinan, Kevin Dilleen, Dara O’Driscoll; Ivor White, Mark Hallinan; Damien Kennedy, Conor Hassett, Shane O’Connor; Michael McNamara, Seán McMahon, Enda Lyons.
Subs: Emmet Whelan 35 mins for Enda Lyons, Greg Lyons 43 mins for Shane O’Connor, Declan Malone for Michael McNamara, Jamesie O’Connor 53 mins for Emmet Whelan, David Hoey 54 mins for Mark Hallinan.
Scorers: Conor Hassett (0-5, three frees and one 65’), Seán McMahon (1-1), Michael McNamara, (0-1), David O’Driscoll (0-1).
Frees: 12; Wides: 14 65s: 2
“Doora-Barefield were guilty of some silly shooting and have to learn to be more economical.” Doora-Barefield manager, Patsy Fahy.
Referee: Seán McMahon (Newmarket).