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Jarlath Collins was one of only four survivors from the St Flannan's team that claimed the Harty Cup in 2019. Photograph by John Kelly.

Clare sides suffer defeat in Harty Cup openers

BOTH Clare sides in this week’s first round games of the Harty Cup lost close contests, though a strong Clare contingent helped Limerick’s Ardscoil Ris to victory, writes Ivan Smyth.

Saint Flannan’s suffered a 2-20 to 1-21 defeat against a strong CBS Thurles outfit, while St Joseph’s Tulla just went down to De La Salle Waterford.

Flannan’s, the reigning champions, are not out of the competition but they will need to beat Cashel Community School next to book a quarter final spot. A defeat there would end their campaign.

With the Harty Cup returning after not being played last year due to COVID, St Flannan’s lined out with an inexperienced outfit as Jarlath Collins, James Doherty, Dylan Cunningham and Eoin Guilfoyle were the only survivors from the panel that claimed the Harty Cup 619 days ago.

A Cian Kirby goal after a brilliant run from deep by James Hegarty gave the Ennis side an ideal start. Then they shipped 1-3 without reply to trail by a point at the first water break.

St. Flannan’s managed to draw level at half time as they pointed all seven of their efforts on goal in the second quarter. They were caught cold at the start of the second half, shipping 1-1 without reply.

The Clare side managed to reduce their arrears to a point but were unable to get back level in the second half. James Doherty had the best goal chance in the concluding 30 minutes of action but he was dragged back for a free which Flannan’s pointed.

Eoin Guilfoyle, Jarlath Collins, James Hegarty, Rory O’Connell and James Doherty all stood out for a St. Flannan’s side who will need to topple Tipperary opposition next in Round Two to continue their quest for another Harty Cup success.

St. Joseph’s Tulla were beaten 0-20 to 0-18 in their opening round game against De La Salle of Waterford. The Clare side produced a battling display but were left to rue a tally of 14 wides.

St Joseph’s were captained by Feakle’s Ronan O’Connor on a day when Sean Withycombe finished as top scorer with eight points, six from frees.

Darragh Keogh added six further scores with five of those coming from placed balls. However, St. Joseph’s were left frustrated as they carved out more scoring chances than their Waterford opponents but were unable to convert enough on the day.

The sides were level and 0-5 apiece at the first water break with the Tulla side trailing by a point, 0-9 to 0-8 at half time. With Patrick Fitzgerald accurate from placed balls, De La Salle pushed out their lead to three points, 0-14 to 0-11 at the final water break.

Despite St Joseph’s cutting the gap back to a point near the conclusion of this game, they saw late chances drift wide as De LaSalle held on.

Adam Hogan, Darragh Ryan, Oisin Clune and Sean Withycombe all impressed for a St Joseph’s side that now face the winner of Blackwater Community School and St Colmans Fermoy, who meet on Friday. A defeat from here on out would spell the end of their campaign.

Limerick city’s Ardscoil Rís meanwhile had a healthy Clare representation as they battled to an 0-18 to 0-16 opening round win against Nenagh CBS.

Broadford’s Niall O’Farrell starred for the winners as he fired over nine points from centre forward.

Clonlara’s Seimi Gully produced two vital saves in goal to help protect his side’s lead.

Twins Colm and Noel Flynn from Sixmilebridge both started while Dara Casey, also from the ‘Bridge, fired over three points after coming off the bench in the opening quarter.

Eoin Deegan, Sam Sheehy and Riain McNamara (all Cratloe), David Kennedy and Morgan O’Connell (both Sixmilebridge), Diarmuid Stritch (Clonlara), Denis Fahy (Broadford) and Seadhna Liddy (Newmarket on Fergus) were all part of the panel. Ardscoil Rís are now through to the quarter finals in early January.

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