CLOONEY-QUIN 2-12 ST JOSEPH’S DOORA-BAREFIELD 2-10
Two of the current superpowers of underage hurling and football collided with serious intent to represent Clare in Dublin and Meath as Clare Féile A champions on Bank Holiday Monday.
Act one was played out in Clareabbey two weeks previous as St Joseph’s aided by four goals edged Clooney/Quin for the Féile Peil title.
For many in both clubs this was the blue riband to win however with James O’Connor and Francis Browne on the sideline co-ordinating their charges.
The talented speedster Jerry O’Connor was up against Darragh Ball who has strong Clooney/Quin heritage in a midfield battle to savour with O’Connor sending over the opening two scores with less than three minutes played.
Not to be outdone Ball hit back with a score of his own before Clooney/Quin team captain Patrick Finneran made no mistake with his sides third score.
After this early surge of confident play by Clooney/Quin the impetus and control of the game swayed the way of St Josephs with Darragh Ball, the powerfully built Leon Talty and Graham Ball all on the scoresheet in a five-minute spell to edge a short-lived lead. Finneran led by example to level matters before Donnchadh Mahon just on the field sent Clooney/Quin ahead.
The remainder of the half was excellent to view as both sides went for the jugular with hard tackling, near misses and controlled use of the ball.
The double act of Ball and O’Connor continued with the duo sharing four points as Shane Mescall for St Josephs had the final score of the half as 14 points was shared at the interval.
The aggressive front of house play by Clooney/Quin full back Sean McNamara must also be noted as others on both sides were showing up why both sides are destined to meet at knockout stages of championships for the intervening half decade.
Clooney/Quin full forward Darragh McNamara, a twin of the full back will along with his club savour his display in the second half.
He struck over the first score of the second which was matched soon after by Leon Talty and bettered as he billowed the net for the game’s first goal as St Josephs now went two clear.
Jerry O’Connor with a standout solo point and Talty once again exchanged scores to leave Clooney/Quin two clear. This was not reality for long however as Darragh McNamara with the first of two second half goals sent his side back into the lead.
TJ Moore levelled matters before O’Connor once more and a score from Donnacha Cantwell that drew huge cheers from the Clooney/Quin support had the eventual champions two clear and looking more control of the game than St Josephs.
Another score from O’Connor left Clooney/Quin three clear entering the final minutes but more drama was still in the offing for both sides.
St Joseph’s centre back Patrick Duggan raced up and narrowed the deficit to two as a grandstand finish was now looming with Barefield hunting for a title winning goal.
Sometimes what you wish for can happen but not a lot of good when the other side also wish for the same. A breakout attack in the 48th minute saw Clooney/Quin get ball into Darragh McNamara and he gave Micheal O’Coileain no chance as Clooney/Quin were now five clear entering the final minute of normal time.
As the red and green ribbons were being prepared for the cup, one last attack from St Josephs stalled the process with no other than Darragh Ball who had to defend most of the second half raced up and goaled, but it was not enough as the champions were announced a minute later.
Clooney/Quin were deserving champions over the duration of the game with stellar performances from Sean McNamara, Matthew Corbett, David Cahill, Jerry O’Connor, Patrick Finneran, Darragh McNamara and Sean Cassidy. Little separates the two sides perhaps mainly what the support cast of both sides can do each day.
Darragh Ball, Leon Talty, Patrick Duggan, Dara Bohannon, Joseph Kelly, Joe Mannion and Shane Mescall were to the fore for St Josephs.
Following the game Chairperson of Bord na nOg Iomaint Neil O’Brien presented the Brendan Keane memorial Feile Cup to Clooney/Quin captain Patrick Finneran.
Clooney/Quin: Ben O’Halloran, Matthew Murphy, Sean McNamara, Sean Cassidy, Michael Hassett, Matthew Corbett, Cathal Leamy, David Cahill, Jerry O’Connor (0-7), Conor Clancy, Patrick Finneran (0-2), Lochlann Carey, Harry Hennessy, Darragh McNamara (2-1), Conan Fennell. Subs: Damien Guilfoyle, Tadgh O’Keeffe, Donnacha Cantwell (0-1), James Brooks, Dermot O’Halloran, Mark McGrath, Kevin McCarthy, Donnchadh Mahon (0-1).
St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield: Micheal O’Coileain, Dara Bohannon, Liam Clune, Cathal McMahon, Cian Breslin, Patrick Duggan (0-1), Sean McMahon, Darragh Ball (1-4), Joe Mannion, TJ Moore (0-1), Darragh Monaghan, Joseph Kelly, Graham Ball (0-1), Shane Mescall (0-1), Leon Talty (1-2). Subs: Conor Byrne, Gearoid Barry, Thomas O’Connor, Jack McAllister, Charlie Lenihan, Matthew Corey, Sean Fitzpatrick, Rhys Murphy.
Referee: Paul Howard (Ruan)