Eoin Brennan watched Éire Óg grind out victory over Ennistymon on a score of 0-9 to 0-6 to retain Jack Daly title
ÉIRE Óg are unquestionably the Clare Senior Football kingpins after grinding out a determined victory over Ennistymon to retain their crown in Cusack Park on Sunday afternoon.
Bouncing back from a heartbreaking late reverse to Ballyea in the hurling equivalent seven days previously, eight dual finalists maintained their unflinching focus to get over the line this time around as the Ennis side led from start to finish.
It took patience and discipline to unlock an Ennistymon defensive door that had confounded four previous opponents as their swift counter-attacking style and unerring freetaking that included three marks, steered their side to victory.
Central to that masterclass was captain Gavin Cooney who converted six placed balls to keep the scoreboard ticking over in what was far from a classic final.
Two of those bookended a forgettable first half that saw Éire Óg take a 0-3 to 0-1 advantage into the dressing room, with Ennistymon only opening their account in the 20th minute through a Brendy Rouine free.
Ennistymon’s cautious tactics almost paid off when new Clare hurling All-Star David Fitzgerald played in Cillian Rouine for a glorious 37th minute goal chance, only for goalkeeper Shane Daniels to produce an excellent point blank save to deny what would have been an equalising score.
It would be the challengers’ only real chance at causing an upset as instead Paul Madden’s side slammed the door shut with three of the next four points through scorers-in-chief Cooney (2) and Mark McInerney at 0-8 to 0-3 entering the final ten minutes.
That five point gap would remain into injury-time when not even late consolations from cousins Sean and Brendy Rouine could derail the Townies from finishing the year on the ultimate high on their way to bridging a 74-year gap to the club’s last back-to-back success.
Éire Óg: Shane Daniels; Ronan Lanigan, Aaron Fitzgerald, Manus Doherty; Ciaran Russell, Aidan McGrath, Einne O’Connor; Darren O’Neill, David McNamara; Niall McMahon, Ikem Ugwueru, Oran Cahill; Mark McInerney, Gavin Cooney, Philip Talty. Subs: Jarlath Collins for Talty (44), Conor O’Halloran for McMahon (56), Danny Griffin for Cahill (63, inj)
Scorers: Gavin Cooney (0-6, 4f, 2m); Ikem Uqwueru, Mark McInerney (m), Aidan McGrath (0-1 each)
Ennistymon: Noel Sexton; Ciaran McMahon, Adam Ralph, Joey Rouine; Liam Cotter, Cathal Reilly, Josh Guyler; David McNamara, Brendy Rouine; Cillian Rouine, Eoin Rouine, Tiernan Hogan; Sean Rynne, David Fitzgerald, Sean Rouine. Subs: Brian McNamara for Hogan (HT), Diarmuid Fahy for Cotter (41), Laurence Healy for Guyler (48), Ryan Barry for E. Rouine (53). Scorers: Sean Rouine (1m), Brendy Rouine (2f) (0-2 each); Cillian Rouine, Sean Rynne (0-1 each)
Referee: Chris Maguire (Wolfe Tones)