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The Éire Óg team celebrating their success in Cusack Park. Photograph by Eugene McCafferty

FOOTBALL: Jack’s back in Ennis

Senior Football Championship Final
Éire Óg 1-11 Kilmurry Ibrickane 0-09

ÉIRE Óg deservedly bridged a 15-year gap to wrestle back the Jack Daly Cup after usurping Kilmurry Ibrickane’s throne in Cusack Park this afternoon, reports Eoin Brennan.

Facing a ‘Bricks side that were bidding for a fourth title in six seasons, the Ennis side belied their final inexperience by taking the game to their opponents from the outset to lead from start to finish.

In such a low-scoring yet compelling encounter, a goal was always going to be a huge score and it was the Townies who grabbed it just after the first water break when Einne O’Connor cut in from the left corner before centring for Mark McInerney to flick home at 1-3 to 0-2.

Buoyed by that score, Clare duo Conall Ó hAiniféin and Gavin Cooney tacked on further points to open up a six point cushion while up the other end, the Townies managed to keep a scorned Kilmurry Ibrickane at bay with a superb brace of saves.

In the 27th minute, Darragh Sexton’s delivery was caught by Daryn Callinan who offloaded to Keelan Sexton to race through on goal, only for goalkeeper Nathan Murray to repel the powerful effort. Outstanding full-back Aaron Fitzgerald would actually surpass that feat in injury-time when acrobatically tipping over Daniel Walsh’s goalbound shot on their way to protecting a 1-6 to 0-4 half-time lead.

Indeed, Éire Óg would preserve that five point margin by the turn of the final quarter after Gavin Cooney and Aidan McGrath cancelled out points from Ciaran Morrissey and Keelan Sexton at 1-8 to 0-6.

However, the holders finally bounced back off the ropes on the resumption when talisman Keelan Sexton converted three unanswered frees to lessen the damage to just two by the 50th minute at 1-8 to 0-9.

By this stage, Éire Óg had subconsciously retreated in an effort to defend their lead but thanks to the relentless work-rate of Ciaran Russell, Aaron Fitzgerald and Einne O’Connor, the Townies managed to weather the storm before countering in injury-time with the last three points through David Reidy (2) and substitute Eimhin Courtney to clinch a 19th crown.

Éire Óg: Nathan Murray; Manus Doherty, Aaron Fitzgerald, Ronan Lanigan; Ciaran Russell, Conall Ó hAiniféin, Einne O’Connor; Darren O’Neill, David McNamara; Niall McMahon, David Reidy, Aidan McGrath; Mark McInerney, Gavin Cooney, Philip Talty. Subs: Ikem Ugwueru for McMahon (39), Dara Walsh for Talty (48), Tadhg Connellan for McGrath (53), Eimhin Courtney for McInerney (59), Conor O’Halloran for Reidy (64)

Scorers: Gavin Cooney (0-5, 3f); Mark McInerney (1-0); David Reidy (0-2); Philip Talty, Conall Ó hAiniféin, Aidan McGrath, Eimhin Courtney (0-1 each)

Kilmurry Ibrickane:
David Sexton; Jason McCarthy, Mark Killeen, Darren Hickey; Enda Coughlan, Ciaran Morrissey, Darragh Sexton; Daniel Walsh, Aidan McCarthy; Keelan Sexton, Michael O’Dwyer, Andrew Shannon; Martin McMahon, Daryn Callinan, Eamonn Bracken. Subs: Mark McCarthy for Callinan (39), Colin Brigdale for Coughlan (48), Coughlan for Morrissey (51, inj), Joe Campbell for Bracken (57)

Scorers: Keelan Sexton (0-5, 4f); Daryn Callinan (f), Michael O’Dwyer, Daniel Walsh, Ciaran Morrissey (0-1 each)

Referee: Jim Hickey (Cratloe)

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