By Seamus Hayes
Ballyea caused a major shock in the Clare senior hurling championship on Saturday when they defeated one of the favourites for the title, Crusheen at Cusack Park. There is no disputing the result as Ballyea were the sharper and hungrier side throughout. They led by a point at half time, 1-12 to 2-8 before outscoring their opponents 0-6 to 0-3 in the final ten minutes
A ten point haul by the outstanding Tony Kelly was a key factor in Ballyea’s victory on a day when team captain Paul Flanagan was magnificent at centre back. Jack Browne, Martin O’Leary and Clare football captain Gary Brennan were others to stand out for the winners who finished the game with fourteen players after midfielder Gearoid O’Connell picked up a second yellow card in the closing minutes.
Meanwhile, county minor A hurling champions Kilmaley moved to within a game of retaining the title when they scored a two point win over a fancied Feakle-Killanena outfit at Sixmilebridge. Cian Moloney contributed 1-9 of the winners total of 1-14. In the final they will play either Inagh-Kilnamona or Clarecastle who meet in the second semi-final next week.
In football Wolfe Tones lost their senior status when they went down to St.Breckans by the minimum margin at Gurteen. Extra time was needed to produce a winner in this tie.
Elsewhere in football, St. Josephs Doora-Barefield won a place in the under 21 A final when they had a comfortable win over Miltown at Cooraclare while Killimer moved into the junior B semi-final and a meeting with their neighbours Shannon Gaels with an easy win over Clarecastle