THE sprint for this year’s Cusack Cup is still wide open following the weekend’s action as half of the contenders are locked together at the summit of the table, reports Eoin Brennan.
Without their county contingents, there have been some erratic results thus far but fundamentally no perfect record remains in the top flight after two rounds.
An eagerly-anticipated derby clash of opening round victors St Josephs Miltown and Ennistymon perhaps failed to live up to its heightened billing but still possessed a compelling finale. Following a toothless first half in which the sides struggled to trouble the umpires too often, Ennistymon appeared to snatch the whip hand on the restart and turned a 0-3 to 0-2 half-time deficit into a two point lead entering the final quarter.
However, as the clock ticked inexorably down, a Darragh McDonagh solo goal dramatically nudged the home side in front only to see it wiped out in the next passage of play when consternation over an off-the-ball incident allowed Liam Devitt to raid for a goal.
In the end, it had to take a Cormac Murray injury-time point to cement a share of the spoils at 1-5 apiece as a last gasp ’45 drifted wide of the target.
It wasn’t the only top-of-the-table derby either as a rare meeting of Clondegad and Kildysart brought a decided air of intrigue to Kildysart on Friday evening. However, while intermediate hopefuls Kildysart would have fancied their chances of an upset, Clondegad’s experience eventually told as they held out for a 2-6 to 1-7 victory.
First quarter goals through young guns Daniel Kelly and Eoghan Gavin halted a motivated Kildysart in their tracks on Clondegad’s way to a 2-4 to 0-5 interval lead.
Kildysart had to endure a disallowed goal and a sin bin before eventually being rewarded with a Neilie O’Connor major that slashed the arrears to just the minimum heading down the final straight.
A Brandon O’Connell point settled Clondegad once more and they would cling determinedly to their task to ensure they joined Miltown, Ennistymon and St Breckans’s at the top of Division 1.
The Lisdoonvarna side couldn’t be separated from Clondegad in the opening round but finally hit their stride on home soil on Friday evening to see off Doonbeg by 2-11 to 1-05.
A scorching first half display including goals through Aiden Davidson and Cathal Guerin powered the hosts unassailably 2-8 to 0-2 clear by the break, a double figure margin that remained throughout the second period until a late Magpie penalty lessened the final damage.
Great rivals Éire Óg and Kilmurry Ibrickane met in strange circumstances in Ennis on Friday evening as both understrength sides were in search of their first points. The result was never in any doubt as the home side eased to a 1-8 to 0-2 victory with Nially McMahon’s second quarter goal proving crucial to sparking the Townies into life.
In Division 2, Lissycasey maintained their perfect start with a commanding 2-15 to 0-08 triumph over neighbours Kilmihil while a strong second period led by Gearoid Cahill ensured that Corofin also remain unbeaten as they reeled in fellow intermediate side Shannon Gaels to dig out a 0-13 to 0-13 draw.
Cooraclare unearthed a rousing fightback too to overtake St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield in injury-time by 0-12 to 1-08 after Jack Hannan’s early strike had settled the Parish while their neighbours Kilrush Shamrocks got off the mark as well in this year’s Garry Cup, with a 2-08 to 0-10 derby win over O’Curry’s in Doonaha.
It’s moving day this Saturday as the adult football leagues cross the halfway mark of the five match blitz format before all eyes turn to Fitzgerald Stadium as Clare’s championship fate is on the line against Kerry.
Cusack Cup Division 1 Round 2
St Joseph’s Miltown 1-5 Ennistymon 1-5
Clondegad 2-6 Kildysart 1-7
St Breckans’s 2-11 Doonbeg 1-05
Éire Óg 1-8 Kilmurry Ibrickane 0-2
Garry Cup Division 2 Round 2
Lissycasey 2-15 Kilmihil 0-08
Corofin 0-13 Shannon Gaels 0-13
Cooraclare 0-12 St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield 1-08
Kilrush Shamrocks 2-08 O’Curry’s 0-10
Division 3 League Round 2
Wolfe Tones 1-17 Kilfenora 0-07
Ennistymon 2-08 Cratloe 1-10
Coolmeen 2-13 St Senan’s Kilkee 1-12
Naomh Eoin v Killimer
Division 4 League Round 1
Michael Cusack’s 1-10 Liscannor 0-10
Banner 3-15 Kilmurry Ibrickane (2) 0-10
Éire Óg (2) 1-10 Clondegad (2) 1-07
Ballyvaughan W/O from Clooney-Quin
St Joseph’s Miltown (2) a bye
Division 5 League Round 1
Cratloe (2) 6-5 Meelick 1-5
Kilrush Shamrocks (2) 8-06 Moy 2-10
Lissycasey (3) 0-9 Cooraclare (2) 0-7
Kildysart (2) W/O from Doonbeg (2)
Division 6 League Round 1
Wolfe Tones 0-10 Banner 0-07
Parteen 5-9 Éire Óg (3) 0-7
Kilmihil (2) 1-10 Shannon Gaels (2) 2-06
Michael Cusack’s (2) 1-10 St Breckan’s (2) 0-13
St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield (2) W/O from Corofin
Division 7 League Round 2
Ennistymon (3) 3-13 Clondegad (3) 0-07
St Breckans’s (3) 0-16 Cooraclare (3) 2-08
Lissycasey (3) 7-11 St Senan’s Kilkee (2) 1-04