Under 21A Hurling Championship Final
Scariff-Ogonnelloe 2-17 Corofin/Ruan 1-12
Christmas came early to Scariff-Ogonnelloe as they fired the last ten points to cement their first ever Under 21A crown in Clarecastle on Friday afternoon.
35 years after Scariff’s sole Under 21A success, their blossoming underage partnership with Ogonnelloe ensured that the current crop finally fulfilled their destiny after rising meteorically through the ranks before exacting full revenge on Corofin/Ruan who had edged them out in a five goals thriller at the penultimate stage twelve months previously.
Despite soaring seven clear against the strong conditions in the opening period following quickfire goals through inside assassins Mark Rodgers and Patrick Ryan, Scariff-Ogonnelloe were still forced to demonstrate their title-winning character by the two-thirds mark as they trailed the defending champions by two points.
The turning point was undoubtedly a double save from a miserly Scariff-Ogonnelloe defence at the turn of the final quarter that prevented Diarmuid Cahill as well as Jack McDonagh’s pulled rebound from providing the holders with a sizeable lead.
Instead, it seemed to inspire Scariff-Ogonnelloe to get back on track as only seconds later Mark Rodgers converted an equalising free and from that juncture, the East Clare side would never again look back over their shoulders.
Eight further unanswered points, five from the stick of talisman Rodgers, put the result beyond any doubt as Scariff-Ogonnelloe eased up to a historic first Under 21 victory as an amalgamation.
Spare a thought for a heartbroken Corofin/Ruan, who amidst their third knock-out match in five days, eventually demonstrated their war-weariness when failing to score for the last 25 minutes of the final.
The same spark that had lit up their 2021 breakthrough as well as this year’s campaign wasn’t as evident in the final itself albeit that Shane Punch, in what was his fourth match in five days after also playing for Mary I in Monday’s Third Level Division 1 League Final, stood out in terms of leadership abilities.
Cillian McGroary, Robin Mounsey and substitutes Darragh McInerney and Conor Leen (until suffering injury) also played their part for the holders who now have to regroup fast if they are to make amends and finish the year with some Under 21A silverware for Wednesday’s football equivalent against Ennistymon in Cusack Park (1pm).
Only able to manufacture five points from play through four different scorers was a poor return for Corofin/Ruan when compared to Scariff-Ogonnelloe who saw six different scorers combined for 2-11 from open play over the hour.
The main protagonists were undoubtedly county seniors Mark Rodgers and Patrick Crotty along with Patrick Ryan, with that triumvirate doing the bulk of their damage against the conditions.
Aided by a powerful half-back unit of Scott Cairns, Gearoid Sheedy and Shane Kavanagh and the tireless work-rate of Keelan Hartigan, Scariff-Ogonnelloe settled into their stride by the end of the opening quarter when a brace of goals in as many minutes through Rodgers and Ryan surged their side seven clear.
Benefitting from the direct route, first Patrick Ryan’s delivery from the left wing was excellently caught and finished to the net by Rodgers before an almost identical move this time saw Crotty tee up Ryan to power through and find the net at 2-4 to 0-3.
To their credit, Corofin/Ruan responded with the next four points including a brace of Shane Punch frees, a Diarmuid Cahill point and a second superb Robin Mounsey lineal from 45 metres to lower the areas to three by the 21st minute.
Patrick Crotty was unlucky to see a shot just clear the crossbar soon afterwards following a strong Rodgers run but there would be a last twist to come from the holders.
Not provided with advantage as Shane Punch found the net just as Joe Mullins’ whistle had gone for an earlier foul, Punch took his frustration out on the resulting 20 mete free to find the bottom right corner of the net to give Corofin/Ruan a timely half-time lifeline at 2-7 to 1-8.
Despite now facing into the wind, the champions’ maintained that momentum on the restart when adding the first four points through Punch 92), Mounsey and Cahill to snatch back the whip hand for the first time in over 30 minutes at 1-12 to 2-7.
Patrick Ryan did finally open Scariff-Ogonnelloe’s second half account by the two-thirds mark but then came that crucial double stop from goalkeeper Sean Treacy and an obstinate rearguard that proved the first step on the road to glory.
Nine consecutive final quarter points only rubber-stamped that eventuality. So while it was tough on a war-ravaged Corofin/Ruan, it certainly affirmed a Happy Christmas for Scariff-Ogonnelloe.
Scariff-Ogonnelloe: Sean Treacy; Seamus McCaul, Tadhg Kavanagh, Eoghan Keehan; Scott Cairns, Gearoid Sheedy, Shane Kavanagh; Conor Downes, Sean Collins; Liam Crotty, Keelan Hartigan, Patrick Crotty; Eanna O’Brien, Mark Rodgers, Patrick Ryan
Subs: Liam Harte for O’Brien (47), Adam Cunnane for Collins (51), Donnacha McNulty for Downes (63), Aaron Collins for Hartigan (65), Eoghan Heffernan for L. Crotty (65)
Scorers: Mark Rodgers (1-8, 6f); Patrick Ryan (1-3); Patrick Crotty (0-3); Eanna O’Brien, Keelan Hartigan, Conor Downes (0-1 each)
Corofin/Ruan: Kealan Mounsey; Jason Power, Ashley Brohan, Gearoid Hanrahan; Tom O’Halloran, Cillian McGroary, Eoin Fitzgerald; Patrick O’Halloran, Ryan Power; Kevin Keane, Diarmuid Cahill, Shane Punch; Robin Mounsey, Killian O’Connor, Jack McDonagh
Subs: Conor Leen for Hanrahan (16), Darragh McInerney for T. O’Halloran (16), James Organ for R. Power (45), Frankie Lyons for Leen (55, inj)
Scorers: Shane Punch (1-6, 1-5f); Robin Mounsey (0-3, 2s/l); Diarmuid Cahill (0-2); Jack McDonagh (0-1)
Referee: Joe Mullins (Clonlara)
Broadford survive false finish to secure Under 21B honours
Under 21B Hurling Championship Final
Broadford 1-14 Kilmaley 1-13
It proved a double celebration for Broadford after the final whistle had to be blown twice before finally ensuring a first Under 21B crown since 2019 in Clarecastle on Saturday afternoon.
Crucially Broadford were ahead on both occasions after a storming second half performance that saw them finally produce a four point turnaround.
Level on four occasions in an inch-tight opening period at 0-8 to 0-8, Kilmaley had hit the ground sprinting on the resumption with a bullet Colm Killeen goal almost accentuated by a second for Dylan Keane Hayes at 1-9 to 0-9.
However, an opportunist goal against the run of play through joint-captain James Vaughan up the other end would kickstart Broadford’s challenge once more as despite nine second half wides, the East Clare side managed to incrementally get on top thanks to Oisin Kavanagh’s five point second half haul.
Niall O’Farrell had initially been Broadford’s chief marksman with a handsome six point tally ensuring that his side kept pace with a Cian Neylon inspired Kilmaley who were without talisman Gearoid O’Grady.
Kilmaley held the whip hand early on, predominantly through Neylon (4) and Sean Ronan (2) to lead by two by the end of the opening quarter. Centre-back Brian McNamara was a powerhouse throughout for Kevin and Stephen McNamara’s side while James McGuire was also hugely influential.
O’Farrell’s heroics from play and placed balls dictated that the Ardscoil Rís Croke Cup winner would level the tie on three occasions including an injury-time equalising free from 45 metres that ensured a half-time stalemate at 0-8 to 0-8.
The new half was barely a minute old when Thomas McGuire’s delivery would be excellently caught and dispatched to the bottom far corner of the net by Colm Killeen to blaze a trail for Kilmaley.
That advantage would only last three minutes however as James Vaughan latched onto a break to find the net at the other end followed quickly by a leading point for the hardworking Conor O’Donnell to edge Broadford in front for the first time in 30 minutes at 1-10 to 1-9.
They did find it difficult to turn their newfound superiority into scores though as several point chances went abegging as did a glorious goal chance at the two-thirds mark for O’Donnell.
Along with strong displays through Paddy Donnellan and Alan O’Brien, it had to take brace of Oisin Kavanagh points to eventually provide Broadford with a three point advantage entering the final ten minutes, a necessary cushion as Colm Killeen and Cian Neylon lowered the arrears to just the minimum with five minutes remaining.
The next score was critical and inevitably it went Oisin Kavanagh’s way in injury-time to ensure that Broadford were able to withstand another Neylon free at the death.
A last gasp Broadford attack looked to have yielded a tenth wide of the half just as the final whistle sounded but following consultation with his linesman, referee Kieran Liddane halted the on-field euphoria and ushered off all supporters from the field as the ball had gone out for a lineball before striking wide.
The match resumed with a lineball but only seconds later the final, final whistle was sounded much to the relief of a Broadford side who finished the year on the ultimate high.
Broadford: Peter O’Farrell; Cathal O’Sullivan, Davy Boland, TJ Dillon; Cormac O’Brien, Paddy Donnellan ((Joint-Captain), Cian Mulqueen; Gearoid Vaughan, Conor O’Donnell; James Vaughan (Joint-Captain), Niall O’Farrell, Denis Fahy; Oisin Kavanagh, Alan O’Brien, Conor Phelan
Sub: Jack Ward Murphy for Fahy (47)
Scorers: Niall O’Farrell (0-6, 2f, 1’65); Oisin Kavanagh (0-5); James Vaughan (1-1); Cian Mulqueen, Conor O’Donnell (0-1 each)
Kilmaley: Ryan Murphy; Luke McMahon, Kenneth Higgins, Jack Warren; Enda Haren, Brian McNamara, James McGuire; Thomas McGuire, Diarmuid Cahill; Dylan Keane Hayes, Conor O’Rourke, Sean Ronan; Cian Neylon, Colm Killeen, Tomás Clancy
Sub: James Fitzpatrick for O’Rourke (HT)
Scorers: Cian Neylon (0-7, 4f, 1’65); Colm Killeen (1-2); Sean Ronan (0-2); Thomas McGuire, Dylan Keane Hayes (0-1 each)
Referee: Kieran Liddane (Sixmilebridge)
Mills emerge out of the fog with honours as Parteen-Meelick rue mist chances
Under 21C1 Hurling Championship Final
O’Callaghan’s Mills 2-8 Parteen-Meelick 0-11
‘A difficult match to play in and just as difficult to watch’ was how new Clare GAA Coaching and Games Officer Neil O’Brien described this Under 21C1 decider in his presentation speech as his native O’Callaghan’s Mills relievedly hung on to secure late honours in foggy Gurteen on Thursday evening.
It was an apt summary of a match that saw both sides play in fits and starts but in the end, the Mills will be thrilled to have edged matters for their first Under 21 crown in five years as a sole entity after only scoring a single point in the final twenty minutes.
Parteen-Meelick not only couldn’t capitalise but rather repeatedly shot themselves in the foot with twelve second half wides that saw them agonisingly run out of toes by the final whistle. Add in a saved first half penalty and it would prove a thoroughly frustrating night for this new permanent amalgamation who sorely missed the influence and scoring prowess of Jack Kirwan.
Captain Cormac Murphy, goalkeeper Canny, Mikey McMahon, and twin attacking threats Darragh Moroney and Colm Cleary impressed most for a Mills side that despite conceded the physical edge to their opponents, did have a sharper eye for scores in the nebulous conditions.
Centre-back Daragh McDermott, Sean Connolly, and Dara Nolan were Parteen-Meelick’s chief protagonists but to pass up two glorious goal chances in the opening half and hit twelve wides in the latter told its own story.
It was Mills goalkeeper Mikey Canny’s superb saves at either end of the first half that would prove decisive in the result as they were contrastingly surpassed by Mills goals within two minutes of those stops. A last ditch save to deny Darragh McGleenan from point blank range in the sixth minute would be magnified when Colm Cleary turned his marker and bore down on goal to fire the opening goal at the other end and regain full parity at 1-0 to 0-3.
After the sides have been deadlocked on three more occasions, Darragh Moroney, now placed at full-forward, raided for a second major on the half hour mark to catapult the Mills three clear. However, a subsequent foul on Darragh McGleenan eared Parteen-Meelick what seemed a late reprieve but Peter Small’s penalty was excellently tipped over the bar by Canny at 2-3 to 0-7 by the break.
The first seven minutes of the new half would be best watched by Parteen-Meelick supporters between their fingers as they bizarrely missed six scoring chances. Instead, a more clinical Mills appeared to have put themselves firmly on the road to victory when punishing with four of the next five points through Colm Cleary (2), Darragh Moroney and Henry McGrath to move five clear by the turn of the final quarter.
However, they failed to keep the scoreboard ticking over and it left the door ajar for a relentless Parteen-Meelick to have a real shot at redemption. The next three points followed from Daniel Cooney, Peter Small and Rory McDermott to lower the arrears to just two by the 52nd minute but any further inroads were heartbreakingly passed up including a last gasp Daragh McDermott 20 metre free that would be saved.
17 minutes after their last score, a Colm Cleary free did prove the insurance point for the Mills to secure their first Under 21C success in 17 years.
O’Callaghan’s Mills: Mikey Canny; Stephen Marsh, Mikey McMahon, Liam Boyce; Ronan O’Dea, Cormac Murphy (Captain), Noel McGrath; Cathal McNamara, Fionn Hickey; Oisin Cleary, Darragh Moroney, Henry McGrath; Rory O’Neill, Colm Cleary, Mark Crehan
Sub: Dan Burke for O. Cleary (35)
Scorers: Colm Cleary (1-5, 5f); Darragh Moroney (1-2); Henry McGrath (0-1)
Parteen-Meelick: Jack Cosgrove; Joe Sherlock, Tom Collins, Sean Nestor; Denis Hickey, Daragh McDermott, Danny Williamson; Daniel Cooney, Jason O’Reilly (Captain); Rory McDermott, Dara Nolan, Mike McEvoy; Peter Small, Sean Connolly, Darragh McGleenan
Scorers: Peter Small (0-5, 1 Pen, 4f); Dara Nolan (0-2); Sean Connolly, Daragh McDermott (f), Daniel Cooney, Rory McDermott (0-1 each)
Referee: Gus Callaghan (Feakle)