Cratloe 2-11 Inagh-Kilnamona 1-10
The experience gained when winning their first Clare Senior Hurling Championship title last year was evident at Cusack Park on Saturday when Cratloe made a winning start to this year’s campaign.
Struggling in the early stages as Inagh-Kilnamona raced into a five-point lead, the holders showed no signs of panic. It was a similar situation in the second half when Inagh-Kilnamona wiped out a four-point Cratloe lead to level with eight minutes remaining.
Inagh-Kilnamona can, rightly, point to a couple of gilt-edged goal opportunities that they failed to capitalise on but Cratloe were the better-balanced side and deserved their victory.
Inagh-Kilnamona played with the aid of the breeze in the first half and after the teams had exchanged points, the challengers scored five without reply to lead 0-6 to 0-1 after 20 minutes. The margin should have been bigger at this point in the game, as Inagh-Kilnamona had a golden opportunity at the mid-point in the half, when they split the champions’ defence wide open but Eoin Vaughan saw his shot go wide of the uprights and it was a relief for Cratloe.
When a similar opportunity came at the other end, Cratloe pounced and Seán Collins made no mistake after taking a delivery from Barry Gleeson with six minutes remaining in the half. This cut the margin to one and Cratloe were fortunate to be so close at this stage of the game.
The goal clearly boosted the southeast Clare outfit. As the half drew to a close, they drew level only to see Inagh-Kilnamona snatch a one-point lead when Niall Arthur pointed in injury time to leave the half-time score at 0-9 to 1-5 in Inagh-Kilnamona’s favour.
With wind advantage to come, Cratloe were in a good position at this stage and when they returned, they quickly set about taking control. Conor Ryan sent over an excellent point in the first minute to level before Conor McGrath punished some hesitancy in the losers’ defence when he scored his side’s second goal.
Twelve scoreless minutes followed during which both sides battled hard for the upper hand. At the three-quarter stage, Inagh-Kilnamona moved Tony Carmody from centre-back to full-forward and within a couple of minutes of his arrival, he struck. With only Seán Hawes to beat, Carmody looked set to find the net in the seventeenth minute of this half but somehow the Cratloe net minder deflected the ball away for a 65. Less than a minute later, the play was at the other end, where Patrick Kelly saved from Conor McGrath. Inagh-Kilnamona launched a counter-attack and this time, Carmody scored following a Niall Arthur delivery. County minor Arthur followed with a point and the sides were level, 2-6 to 1-9, with eight minutes remaining.
Cratloe stamped their authority on proceedings and points from Damian Browne, Pádraig Chaplin and Paudge Collins saw them take a three-point lead with four minutes to play. The game was in injury time when Collins scored the final point of the game.
Liam Markham, Michael Hawes and David Ryan stood out in the winners’ defence while Seán Collins, Cathal McInerney and substitute Paudge Collins impressed.
Ronan O’Looney and Milo Keane did well in the Inagh-Kilnamona defence while Eoin Vaughan worked hard up front on a day when their decision to play Tony Carmody as a defender and Jamie Davin in attack did not produce the results expected.
Cratloe: Seán Hawes; Philip Gleeson, David Ryan, Enda Boyce; Liam Markham, Michael Hawes, Martin ‘Ogie’ Murphy; Cathal McInerney, Seán Chaplin; Seán Collins, Conor Ryan, Damian Browne; Gearóid Ryan, Barry Gleeson, Conor McGrath.
Subs: Paudge Collins for Murphy (inj 43 minutes); Pádraig Chaplin for B Gleeson (50 minutes); James Enright for C Ryan (58 minutes).
Scorers: Seán Collins (1-2); Damian Browne (0-5); Conor McGrath (1-0); Paudge Collins (0-2); Conor Ryan, Pádraig Chaplin (0-1) each.
Frees: 12; Wides: 12
Bookings: Ogie Murphy (37 minutes).
“We are pleased with the result. There was a bit of apprehension going into the game but the boys played well. The experience gained last year stood to us and this was evident again in the second half when they got back level.” Mike Deegan, Cratloe management team.
Inagh-Kilnamona: Patrick Kelly; Milo Keane, Ronan O’Looney, Brian Glynn; Eamonn Glynn, Tony Carmody, David Hegarty; Ger Arthur, Colm Pilkington; Martin Barry, Cathal Lafferty, Eoin Vaughan; Niall Arthur, Jamie David, Conor Tierney.
Subs: Brian Hehir for David (45 minutes); Dermot Gannon for Barry (45 minutes);
Scorers: Niall Arthur (0-5, 4f); Tony Carmody (1-0); Conor Tierney (0-2); Ger Arthur (0-1f) Martin Barry, Jamie David (0-1) each.
Frees: 11; Wides: 7; 65s: 1
Bookings: Conor Tierney (37 minutes); Eamonn Glynn (54 minutes).
“We missed a couple of great goal chances and these proved very costly. Apart from the missed chances, I was happy with the display and if we keep the work rate up over the coming weeks we can look forward to the remaining group games.” Eugene Foudy, manager.
Referee: Seánie McMahon, Newmarket.
Wolfe Tones 3-7 Tubber 0-13
There was a disappointingly small attendance at Cusack Park on Sunday for what proved to be a very poor senior hurling championship first-round tie in which three first-half goals proved crucial in steering Wolfe Tones to victory over Tubber.
There was little to enthuse about in a tie which saw temperatures raised a little with five minutes remaining when referee Johnnie Healy ordered Wolfe Tones mentors Brian Lohan and Paul Carr to the stand after they disagreed with a line ball call by linesman Fergie McDonagh on the stand side of the pitch.
The sides had met in the league a few weeks ago when Tubber emerged as narrow winners on a day when the Tones were short a number of players who were in their line-up for this outing.
The first-half goals gave the Shannon side the upper hand and the Tubber defence will be disappointed at the manner in which these scores came about.
The first goal came after six minutes and was scored by full-forward Daniel Gallery, who refused to give up despite having his first two attempts blocked down by Conor Earley.
The second came at the midpoint in the half and was scored by senior championship debutant Aaron Cunningham, who hit the ball first time into the corner of the net after the Tubber defence had failed to clear their lines.
Six minutes from half-time, Daithí O’Connell rose highest to flick a delivery from Bobby McPhillips for his side’s third goal, which left the Shannon men 3-4 to 0-5 in front at the break, having played with the aid of the wind.
Tubber made some positional switches and brought Darragh O’Connor into their line-up for the second half. They enjoyed the better of the exchanges in the second half but failed to translate that superiority onto the scoreboard.
By the end of the third quarter, they had cut the deficit to five points after they had outscored the winners 0-4 to 0-1. Clive Earley missed a great opportunity to narrow the gap further when he failed to convert from a free in front of the posts but he bounced back with a good score from play, followed by one from Eamonn Taaffe, to cut the margin to four with six minutes to go.
Wolfe Tones were clearly concerned as Tubber continued to pile on the pressure. Following the removal of Lohan and Carr from the enclosure, Bobby McPhillips eased the pressure with a score from a free near the sideline.
The North Clare men continued to attack and points from David Donoghue and Mark Earley cut the margin to three but time ran out on them and Wolfe Tones went away with the points.
John Coen and Gary O’Connell got through some good work in defence while Brian O’Connell was the better of the midfielders on view. Up front, Aaron Cunningham did well on his debut.
For Tubber, Patrick and John O’Connor did well in defence while up front Clive Earley caused a number of problems for the winners’ defence.
The loss of dual player David Reidy with a leg injury was clearly a concern for the Shannon club. Reidy has missed much of the past two seasons due to a cruciate knee injury and all involved in the club will be keeping their fingers crossed that he will be back in action quickly.
Wolfe Tones: Ray Carley; John Coen, Jamie Roughan, Frank Lohan; Gary O’Connell, Bobby McPhillips, Seán Cahill; Brian O’Connell, Barry Loughnane; David Reidy, Declan O’Rourke, Brendan Hughes; Aaron Cunningham, Daniel Gallery, Daithí O’Connell.
Subs: Stephen McInerney for Reidy (inj 30 minutes); Gary Leahy for Roughan (inj 53 minutes).
Scorers: Aaron Cunningham (1-1); Daniel Gallery, Daithí O’Connell (1-0) each; David Reidy (0-2), David Reidy (0-2), frees; Declan O’Rourke, Brian O’Connell (0-1) each.
Frees: 12; Wides: 18
Bookings: Daithí O’Connell (37 minutes); Jamie Roughan (42 minutes); Stephen McInerney (45 minutes); Declan O’Rourke (58 minutes); Frank Lohan (63 minutes);
“I am pleased with the result but not with the performance. Our shooting was poor and we will certainly have to improve in this area. Tubber came back strong at us in the second half.” John Markham, Wolfe Tones manager.
Tubber: Ronan Taaffe; Eoin Ruane, Conor Earley, John O’Connor; Mark Earley, Patrick O’Connor, Justin McMahon; Fergal O’Grady, Tommy Lee; Barry O’Connor, Gerard O’Connor, Shane O’Connor; David O’Donoghue, Clive Earley, Eamonn Taaffe.
Subs: Darragh O’Connor for O’Grady (31 minutes).
Scorers: Clive Earley (0-4, 3f); Patrick O’Connor (2f), Shane O’Connor, David O’Donoghue (0-2) each; Justin McMahon, Eamonn Taaffe, Mark Earley (0-1) each.
Frees: 13; wides: 7
Bookings: Eamonn Taaffe (31 minutes).
“Coming into this game, we were concerned that Wolfe Tones would have an edge in experience and this proved to be the case. Their experience was vital and helped them to get important scores. I am happy with our second-half display, which gives us something to work on.” Pat O’Connor,
Referee: Johnnie Healy, Smith O’Brien’s.