Clonlara 1-22 Clooney-Quin 3-10
A marvellous display of point scoring from Donal Madden, John Conlon, Darach Honan and Nicky O’Connell inspired champions Clonlara to this well-deserved victory over Clooney-Quin in the quarter-final of the Clare Senior Hurling Championship at Cusack Park on Sunday.
While the South-East Clare outfit will be pleased with a tally of 1-22, there is sure to be some concern in the camp at the concession of 3-10 and this is an area they will have to work on before they face Newmarket in the semi-final.
The experience that Clonlara have gained over the past two years and particularly in 2008, was evident in this latest display. Despite the concession of those scores, they never panicked and when the final whistle sounded, they were worthy winners.
They started with points from Donal Madden and Darach Honan, before they conceded a goal to Derek Ryan in the fifth minute when he found the net from a penalty awarded for a foul on Fergal Lynch, who caused the title holders a lot of problems on the day.
The champions hit back with five points in six minutes but then Lynch struck for a goal from play and a Martin Duggan point followed to level the game with 12 minutes still to play in the half.
Clonlara were then awarded a penalty, when Keith Fennessy was taken down, but Donal Madden’s effort was saved by Cathal Egan. The sides exchanged points twice before Clooney-Quin went in front when Fergal Lynch pointed. This drew a strong response from the champions, who hit four unanswered points in three minutes to lead at half-time on a score of 0-13 to 2-4.
While the teams were in the dressing room at the break, Clonlara’s U-16 team, which had earlier in the day beaten Newmarket in the U-16B final, were introduced to the patrons.
Clooney-Quin had the first two points of the second half from Derek Ryan frees but Clonlara were superb when they attacked and three points in as many minutes from Madden and Nicky O’Connell (2) had them four clear with just seven minutes played in the half.
The margin was still three with Clonlara in front as the game reached the three-quarter stage. Clonlara captain, Tomás O’Donovan was now at full-back and he got the upperhand on Fergal Lynch, which weakened Clooney-Quin’s attacking options.
The loss of Derek Ryan with a hand injury further weakened the losers’ attacking options. Clonlara continued to pick off the points and they went six clear with eight minutes still to play.
This was still the margin with a minute remaining when Clonlara killed of any lingering hopes of a Clooney-Quin victory with a goal from Keith Fennessy, who coolly shot to the net on his championship debut after taking a pass from Darach Honan.
Brian Woods, Domhnall and Tomás O’Donovan, Nicky O’Connell, John Conlon, Donal Madden and Darach Honan all contributed handsomely to this win for the champions. Conor Harrison, Cillian Duggan, Cathal Egan and Fergal Lynch got through a lot of work for Clooney-Quin men but they lacked the all-round balance of Clonlara.
Clonlara: Ger O’Connell; Brian Woods, John Moloney, Senan Nihill; Pat O’Hare, Tomás O’Donovan, Domhnall O’Donovan; Nicky O’Connell, Cormac O’Donovan; John Conlon, John Barry, Tommy Lynch; Darach Honan, Donal Madden, Keith Fennessy.
Sub: William Slattery for Barry (60 minutes).
Scorers: Donal Madden (0-7, 0-3f), John Conlon (0-5), Nicky O’Connell (0-5, 0-3f), Keith Fennessy (1-1), Darach Honan (0-3) and Tommy Lynch (0-1).
Frees for: 10. Wides: 6.
Bookings: Brian Woods (5 minutes).
“They were strong down the middle and they were always a danger in front of goals. Our forwards were smart and scored some nice points. Tomás O’Donovan did well when he moved to full-back. He had the strength to compete in the air.” Colm Honan, Clonlara.
Clooney-Quin: Patrick Cunningham; Shane McNamara, Conor Harrison, Paul Clune; Adrian Fleming, Cillian Duggan, Enda Harrison; Mike McNamara, Seán Conheady; John Earls, Cathal Egan, Martin Duggan; Paudie Ward, Fergal Lynch, Derek Ryan.
Subs: Michael Daffy for Ward (45 minutes), Brian Shally for Ryan (inj, 50 minutes) and Seamus Conroy for E Harrison (54 minutes).
Scorers: Derek Ryan (1-4, 1-3f), Fergal Lynch (1-1), Mike McNamsra (1-0), Seán Conheady, Martin Duggan, Cathal Egan, Paudie Ward, Brian Shally (free) 0-1 each.
Frees for: 8. Wides: 7. 65s: 1.
Bookings: Shane McNamara (13 minutes) and Fergal Lynch (55 minutes).
“We had 50% of the play in the first half but they were taking their chances and we weren’t taking ours. The goals brought us into it but every chance they got they took. We were chasing the lead for most of the game. If you don’t take your chances it will haunt you and that was proved again today.” Pat O’Rourke, Clooney-Quin.
Referee: Ger Hoey, Killanena.