By Seamus Hayes
Cratloe move a step closer another title when they defeated Thurles Sarsfields from Tipperary at Cusack Park on Sunday but down the road in Sixmilebridge there was disappointment for the county intermediate hurling champions Feakle who suffered a one point loss to their Waterford opponents Cappaquin
Cratloe 1-18 Thurles Sarsfields 0-14
While the sending off of Denis Maher from Thurles Sarsfields in the opening minute of the game will lead to much discussion, it cannot detract from the fact that Cratloe delivered another impressive performance when defeating their Tipperary counterparts in the semi-final of the Munster senior club hurling championship at Cusack Park in Ennis
Conor Ryan, Enda Boyce, Podge Collins and Conor McGrath, with a haul of 0-11, delivered outstanding displays as Cratloe qualified for yet another final, this time in the Munster championship where they will meet the Limerick champions, Kilmallock on November 23.
Of course Maher’s dismissal in the very first play, will be debated for some time and patrons will wonder if the outcome might have been different had referee Cathal McAllister not produced a red card. That said, however, Thurles will acknowledge that they were unable to curb the influence the aforementioned Cratloe quartet had on this tie and, at the end of the play, the Clare champions were deserving winners and through to their first Munster hurling decider.
Three times the teams exchanged points in the opening quarter before the winners hit four unanswered scores through McGrath, Cathal McInerney, Sean and Podge Collins. As the game entered the one minute of ‘injury time’ which was signalled, the Clare champions struck a major blow when Podge Collins won a Conor McGrath delivery to score the game’s only goal. It gave the winners a seven point lead at the break when the score was 1-8 to 0-4 with wind advantage to come.
Two points in as many minutes on the resumption stretched their lead but the visitors hit back with three scores making it clear that they were not going to go down easily. The margin was six at the three quarter stage (1-13 to 0-10. Cratloe hit the next two but three from the visitors left five between the sides with ten minutes remaining.
Try as they did, however, Thurles just could not break down a strong Cratloe defence in which Conor Ryan and Enda Boyce were superb. In addition to those mentioned, Michael Hawes, Liam Markham and Sean Collins got through a lot of work.
Michael Cahill, Padraic Maher, Billy McCarthy and Tommy Doyle worked hard for the Tipperary champions.
Cratloe;–Gearoid Ryan; Shane O’Leary, Michael Hawes, David Ryan; Sean Chaplin, Conor Ryan, Enda Boyce; David Collins, Liam Markham (0-3); Shane Gleeson, Podge Collins (1-2), Sean Collins (0-1); Cathal McInerney (0-1), Gearoid Considine, Conor McGrath (0-11);
Subs—Damian Browne for Considine; Barry Duggan for David Collins
Thurles Sarsfields;–Patrick McCormack; Stephen Maher, Michael Cahill (0-1), David Maher; Ronan Maher, Padraic Maher, Michael Gleeson; Stephen Cahill (0-1) Billy McCarthy (0-1); Denis Maher, Aidan McCormack, Conor Lanigan (0-1); Tommy Doyle (0-2), Pa Bourke (0-8), 6 frees, Lar Corbett;
Subs—Ritchie Ruth for A. McCormack; Michael O’Brien for Doyle
Cappoquin 1-14 Feakle 0-16
A late surge helped resurgent Cappoquin pip shell shocked Feakle by the bare minimum in Sixmilebridge on Sunday afternoon
Feakle’s dreams of qualifying for their first Munster Club Intermediate hurling final were cruelly dashed by the Waterford champions, who outscored them by five points to one in the closing ten minutes.
The East Clare side looked the more likely winners when they led by 0-10 to 0-5 at the interval, having played against a stiff breeze.
In fact, apart from the opening minute they led right up to the 54th minute when two superb long range points from Paul Murray regained the lead for the Waterford champions.
Cappoquin captain, Shane O’Rourke, who finished with an impressive tally of 0-11 increased their lead to two points before Colin Nelson cut the gap to a single point on the stroke of full time.
Despite almost four minutes of injury-time, Feakle couldn’t salvage a last gasp equaliser and were left devastated when referee, Nathan Wall brought this absorbing tussle to an end.
Cappoquin: Donal O’Rourke; Patrick Morrissey, Colm Looby, Timmy Looby; Shane Murray, Conor Murray, David Cahalane; Paul Murray, Finan Murray; Colin Landers, Andy Molumby, Shane O’Rourke (captain); P J Curran, Shane Coughlan, Killian O’Sullivan.
Sub: Damian McCarthy for Colin Landers.
Feakle: Eibhear Quilligan; Justin Nelson, James Noonan, Evan McMahon; Killian Bane, Eoin Tuohy, Con Smyth; Shane McGrath, Henry Hayes; Oisin Donnellan, Raymond Bane, Martin Daly; Enda Noonan, Colin Nelson, Gary Guilfoyle.
Subs: Sean O’Grady for Martin Daly, Colm Naughton for Killian Bane.
Referee: Nathan Wall (Cork).