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Clonlara's Christopher McAlea in action against Corofin/Ruan's Shane O'Donoghue

GALLERY: Howard frees seal Clare Feile B final for Clonlara

Clonlara 1-16 Corofin/Ruan 2-5

AN eye catching performance from freetaking duties by Ciaran Howard was one of the central reasons for Clonlara’s annexation of the Feile B hurling title in perfect conditions at Clare GAA headquarters on Bank Holiday Monday.

A sizable attendance gathered at Cusack Park for this eagerly awaited contest as expectations were that the game would be closely fought in all sectors of the field.

The intensity of exchanges throughout would have stood their ground in the A final as both sides strived to put their best foot forward.

Ben Power kickstarted the scoring as Darragh Dillon added a second Clonlara score after four minutes. Jamie Ryan who impressed throughout for Corofin/Ruan and Clonlara full forward Mark Hogan swopped scores before Daniel McGroary set up Cillian Carroll for Corofin/Ruan’s first goal.

One of the highlights of the three feile finals emerged as Corofin/Ruan Captain Jamie Ryan floated over a sideline cut from 50 metres out as Mark Hogan responded from play for the South Clare side.

The end-to-end play of both sides was a credit to the efforts of both clubs in their attempts to win the title. With Ciaran Howard leading the way Clonlara were edging it on the scoreboard but in terms of possession there was little to separate two evenly matched sides in the first half.

Howard sent over two more scores, as Corofin/Ruan were handed a brilliant boost for the second half when Darragh McGroary hit the net for their sides second goal to leave them in ahead by the minimum, (2-2) to (0-7).

Whatever was said in the Clonlara half time huddle transformed Shane Hogan’s side for the second half. They ripped Corofin/Ruan apart early on with scores from Ben Power and Dan Hogan after being set up by Howard.

Ciaran Marren and Mark Hogan were denied goals in the same play by last gasp Corofin/Ruan defending as Clonlara went ahead by two thanks to a super score from Sam Barrett.

With eight minutes gone in the second half Corofin/Ruan raced back into contention thanks to scores from James Cullinan and Jamie Ryan.

Clonlara steadied the ship with Ciaran Howard ensuring no let up with consistency from frees. A moment in the game that diluted the efforts of Corofin/Ruan emerged as joint captain Jamie Ryan had to retired injured.

It may not have denied Clonlara the title, but it most certainly weakened the potential for scores of the mid Clare outfit.

Howard sent over three scores in five minutes as Clonlara distanced themselves from their opponents by a goal, (0-13) to 2-4) entering the final ten minutes.

Corofin/Ruan now were in dire need of a goal to revitalise their ailing challenge. They managed to break free from the Clonlara strangehold but to their dismay hit three wides in as many minutes before Senan Kirby with an outstanding point narrowed the Clonlara lead to two points.

Howard hit over another free as Corofin/Ruan suffered for any indiscretion even at midfield. The title winning score came from a Howard free that found Dan Hogan whose first effort was rebuffed by the Corofin/Ruan defence only for Callum McGrath to blast past Oisin Tierney to open up a six point lead.

Fittingly, the final score of the game fell to another Ciaran Howard free as Clonlara held out for the title.
The champions were served well by Jack Begley, Cillian McGrath, Sam Barrett, Ben Power, Ciaran Howard, Dan Hogan, Mark Hogan and Darragh Dillon, Corofin/Ruan were a lot closer than the scoreline suggests thanks to the performances of Diarmuid Hastings, Jamie Ryan, James Cullinan, Darragh McGroary, Daniel McInerney and Jake White.

Following the game Chairperson of Bord na nOg Iomaint presented the trophy to Clonlara captain Jack Begley.

Clonlara: Mark Fitzgerald, Christopher McAlea, Jack Begley, TJ Slattery, Cillian McGrath, Harry Hodgins, Sam Barrett (0-1), Ben Power (0-2), Ciaran Howard (0-8), Dan Hogan (0-1), Ciaran Marren, Fionn Reid, Callum McGrath (1-0), Mark Hogan (0-2), Darragh Dillon (0-1). Subs: Sean Fennessy, Cian Monahan, Cian Hannan, Mahon McCarthy, Scott Devane.

Corofin/Ruan: Oisin Tierney, Daniel Guinnane, Diarmuid Hastings, Ethan Lucas, Charlie McCarthy, Daniel McInerney, Jake White, Joe Slattery, Sean Healy, Jamie Ryan (C) (0-1), James Cullinan (0-3), Senan Kirby (0-1), Daniel McGroary (c) (1-0), Cillian Carroll, Liam Heffernan. Subs: Daniel Clancy, Daniel Toone, Shane O Donoghue, Teige Moloney, Rory Meaney, Jack Browne.

Referee: Ger Hoey (Killanena)

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