What a difference a year makes. In the space of a week in October 2014, Cratloe made history when they won the Clare senior hurling and football titles becoming the first Clare club to achieve such a feat of winning both in the same year on the field of play.[doptg id=”79″]
Just under twelve months on they have been stripped of both titles in the space of seven days, both defeats coming at the quarter final stage.
At rain swept Cusack Park today, Sunday, they lost their bid for a third senior football title in a row when they went under to Clondegad. And there can be no arguments as to the merit of Clondegad’s victory over the champions who started brightly and raced into a three point lead in the opening quarter. Indeed they had a few chances to have increased this lead but failed to capitalise
Gradually Clondegad got a grip on proceedings and when they half time whistle sounded the sides were level at 0-7 each. They took up where they had left off when the second half got underway and quickly opened a two point lead before striking a major blow seven minutes into the second period, Paudge McMahon finding the net after being put through by Gary Brennan.
It left the champions with a mountain to climb and while they battled to the finish, the tight marking of the Clondegad defence meant that the holders got few opportunities as they went in search of the goal they needed to get back into contention.
Brian Murphy, Conor Gavin, Eoin Griffin, team captain Brian Carigg and the Brennan brothers, Gary, Shane and substitute Cillian, were prominent for the winners.
Barry Duggan, Michael Hawes, Liam Markham, Sean Collins and Conor Ryan played their hearts out for Cratloe who were forced to line out without Cathal McInerney due to injury. He did enter the action in the final ten minutes but, by then, Clondegad were well in control.
In the semi-final Clondegad will take on Cooraclare who were the first to qualify for the semi-final when they had a one point win, 1-11 to 1-10, over O’Currys at Doonbeg on Saturday. An early goal from Tom Downes gave Cooraclare an edge in this one but the men from Carrigaholt and Doonaha fought back and extra time looked likely when the sides were level with time ticking away. Cooraclare, however, got through to take the honours and reach the semi-final for the second year in a row.
For the second time in this campaign, Miltown St. Josephs have overcome Ennistymon. At Doonbeg on Saturday evening they repeated their second round win over their neighbours to reach the semi-finals.
Helped by an early Eoin Cleary goal, they opened a six point lead by half time but Ennistymon came storming back and levelled the tie with time ticking away. Miltown weren’t to be denied and they finished strongly to seal their place in the last four.
In round two of this campaign Kilrush proved too strong for St. Breckans (Lisdoonvarna) and were fancied by many to repeat that success when the sides met at Hennessy park in Miltown on Sunday. The North Clare outfit had other ideas and put down a marker inside the first thirty seconds when they had the opening goal of the game from Sean Cormican. Indeed they could have had a couple of goals in the opening quarter such was their dominance.
Gradually Kilrush fought their way back and with ten minutes remaining they had drawn level. St Breckans, however, weren’t to be denied and Alan Sweeney struck for their second goal which killed the Kilrush challenge and sent the North Claremen marching on to a semi-final date with Miltown.
Elsewhere, Wolfe Tones have secured their senior status for 2016. Their 5-2 to 0-5 win over Shannon Gaels has sent the Gaels crashing to intermediate level for next season. A hat trick of goals from Darragh Leahy was key to the Shannon outfit’s victory.
The senior B championship final will be between Kilmurry-Ibrickane and St. Senans Kilkee. At Kilmihil on Saturday afternoon Kilmurry scored a 2-15 to 1-13 win over Lissycasey while Kilkee received a walkover from St Josephs, the second year in a row that the Doora-Barefield club has conceded a walkover at this stage of this championship.
In hurling this weekend Eire Og progressed to the senior B final where they will play Inagh-Kilnamona next Saturday thanks to a comfortable 3-13 to 0-10 win over O’Callaghans Mills. Danny Russell contributed 2-6 of the Ennis side’s total in this one
Meanwhile Ogonnelloe will continue at intermediate level next season, thanks to a 1-12 to 0-8 win over Crusheen on Sunday in Tulla.
By Seamus Hayes