Miltown St. Josephs 0-13 Cooraclare 0-9
Miltown St. Josephs bridged a twenty five year gap at Cusack Park in Ennis earlier today when they captured the Clare senior football championship title for the thirteenth time.
In one of the better finals for some time, they deservingly overcame the challenge of their neighbours Cooraclare which led to County GAA chairman Michael McDonagh, a member of the Miltown club, presenting the Jack Daly cup to the running captain, Brian Curtin, amidst great scenes of celebration
The winners made a blistering start racing into a 0-3 to 0-0 lead after just four minutes with points from Eoin Cleary, Darragh McDonagh and man of the match Kevin Keavey. Points from Rory Donnelly and Pierce Lillis lifted Cooraclare spirits and from here to half time it was evenly fought with Miltown taking a two point advantage to the break when the score was 0-8 tgo 0-6.
Cooraclare had the better of matters in the early minutes of the second half and points from Damian Burke and substitute Jack Morrissey brought the sides level just six minutes afer the resumption.
Thirteen scoreless minutes followed during which time both sides had chances and Cooraclare will certainly rue two missed frees in this period when both Rory Donnelly and Joe Downes failed to find the target.
Miltown made a crucial move ten minutes into the half when the introduced Graham Kelly and he went on to make a tremendous contribution to their victory with an outstanding performance.
Eleven minutes from the end Eoin cleary converted a 20m free to put the winners back in front and points followed from Joe Curtin and Kevin Keavey in the next four minutes to give the new champions a three point lead. They pushed this out to four with three minutes remaining and while Cooraclare pulled one back when Rory Donnelly converted a free, Miltown had the final say when Cleary tapped a penalty over the bar in the second minute of ‘injury time’ to seal a deserved victory.
The game ended on a disappointing note for Cooraclare who had defender Pearse Lillis sent off following an off the ball incident, two minutes from the end.
Seanie Malone, Eoin O’Brien, John Meade, Darragh McDonagh, Kevin Keavey Kieran Malone and Joe Curtin stood out for the winners while Cooraclare’s best were Pearse Lillis, Thomas Donnellan, Damien and James Burke.
To add to Miltown’s celebrations, Eoin Cleary was presented with the championship top scorer award while Kevin Keavey was named as man of the match.
Meanwhile Newmarket regained the Clare senior camogie title when they accounted for Inagh-Kilnamona at Clarecastle in a game that required extra time.
Inagh-Kilnamona looked tobe on their way to an historic first title when they held a four p oint lead midway through the second half but a storming finish from the more experienced Newmarket side which saw them score four points without reply inside the last ten minutes, resulted in extra time. They got a dream start to extra time and scored 1-2 without reply in the first period which proved decisive.
History was also made on Sunday morning when the Broadford-smith O’Briens combination won the minor A hurling championship title for the first time. They had four goals to spare over a fancied Wolfe Tones team. The final score in this one was 4-16 to 0-16
By Seamus Hayes