Every championship produces shock results and so it was as the race for the Canon Hamilton trophy got under way in Clare.
Unbeaten in league and championship last season, champions Sixmilebridge were rocked when beaten by the minimum margin by Crusheen at Cusack Park this Saturday evening. These teams have produced some very close contests in recent years and this proved to be no different.
Sixmilebridge looked to be edging in front when they went two points clear with ten minutes to play but four unanswered points from Crusheen proved decisive. One point separated the teams at the end of normal time with two minutes of ‘injury time’ to play. The champions piled on the pressure but Donal Tuohy in the Crusheen goal made a great save from Alan Mulready at the expense of a ’65. Niall Gilligan was adament that his effort was between the uprights but the umpires had no doubt that it was wide. It left the final score at 1-14 to 0-16 in favour of Crusheen.
In the opening game at headquarters there was another shock as Feakle accounted for Cratloe. An Oisin Donnellan goal twelve minutes into the second half was the crucial score in this tie. It levelled the tie and from here on the winners grew in confidence and had opened a four point lead with three minutes remaining. Cratloe had the last two scores but it wasn’t enough to prevent Feakle from winning on a final scoreline of 1-15 to 0-16 on an evening when Cratloe were without Conor McGrath and Cathal McInerney.
The Duggan brothers, Martin and Peter excelled as Clooney-Quin scored a 4-13 to 1-19 win over Inagh-Kilnamona in a first round game played at Shannon. London based Martin, playing his first game with the club in a couple of seasons, scored 2-2 and caused a lot of problems for Inagh-Kilnamona while Peter chipped in with 1-5. Their fourth goal came from Fergal Lynch.
In Scariff, O’Callaghans Mills made a winning start to their campaign with a 2-16 to 1-13 win over Whitegate. Adrian Flaherty and Jacob Loughnane were the goalscorers for the winners who were 1-9 to 0-4 in front at half time.
The opening game in the championship took place on Friday evening when Clarecastle finished strongly to record a 0-19 to 0-17 win over Tulla at Cusack Park.
In the intermediate championship, Broadford were 1-23 tio 1-11 winners over Killanena, Smith O’Briens were 0-26 to 1-21 winners over Parteen while Clarecastle (1-7) and Corofin (0-10) shared the spoils.
Disappointment for Newmarket Celtic
Before one of the largest crowds to date at the county soccer grounds in Doora, Newmarket Celtic’s dream of victory in the Munster junior cup final was dashed this evening by St. Michaels from Tipperary. Three first half goals from the visitors proved decisive and while the Clare champions battled to the finish, the star studded St.Michaels deservingly captured the honours. Stephen Kelly scored Newmarket’s only goal in injury time.
By Seamus Hayes