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Kilrush-Killimer players celebrate their success in the Clare U15 Football Div 3 Final against St Joseph’s Miltown Malbay. Photography by Eugene McCafferty

GALLERY: Kilrush-Killimer handle the elements and Miltown too

Ennis College Further Education

The weather was more mid-November than early September, but the west Clare amalgamation of Kilrush-Killimer will care little for that after beating St Joseph’s Miltown in the U15 Div 3 final by 4-5 to 0-4


Spectators in Doonbeg last Friday night were in shock. Leaving home in comfort and hitting Shanahan McNamara park at 6pm the darkness that one encounters in a mid-November game was now the overbearing feature.

By half time the constant downpour that commenced as soon as Martin Downes threw in the ball had the surrounds as dark at 7pm as it was at 8.45pm the previous evening.

That aside, the final – whilst dominated by an older Kilrush/Killimer outfit against a St Joseph’s Miltown squad that possessed a large number of players who are underage in 2023 – had a number of fine personal performances by players on both sides.

Kilrush/Killimer midfielder Josh O’Brien was on hand for the opening score in a low scoring encounter before the stylish St Joseph’s centre forward Conor Neylon who may be one to note for the future equalised after ten minutes.

The conditions were simply dire and to say not suitable for any sport would be a feasible comment, yet the two sides kept playing football to the level they are accustomed.

The lack of physical power in the Miltown forwards was a telling disadvantage when one compares the powerful attacking running of Kilrush/Killimer’s Sean Fennell, Jimmy Corry, Josh O’Brien to name but a few.

O’Brien was on hand with the West Clare amalgamation’s first goal when his lobbing shot hit the crossbar deceiving Colin Hayes in the Miltown goal.

Sean Fennell who was the game’s most influential figure kicked over a 40-metre effort before James Downes for Miltown saw his effort bounce in front of the Kilrush/Killimer goal and float over the bar.

The game’s second goal came to be in the 23rd minute as Sean Fennell made no mistake as torrential rain now was commonplace with Fennell wide from play soon after.

With three minutes remaining in the first half the ball was in the Miltown net for the third time as Fennell turned provider for Jimmy Corry whose low and perfectly placed ball went straight into the corner as the half time score read Kilrush/Killimer (3-2) St Joseph’s Miltown (0-2).

For the second half Rion Cotter and Josh McInerney entered the fray for Kilrush/Killimer and they added to an already strong outfit.

The fleet footed Conor Neylon who acted as a linkman in attack for Miltown sent over the opening score of the second half signalling hopes of a fightback in the 40th minute.

The honest defensive effort of Miltown kept out Kilrush/Killimer as they had to wait until the 46th minute for their next score. Josh McInerney worked well and set up Aidan Griffin and he finished well past Colin Hayes

The Miltown keeper had been busy in the third quarter before the concession of the fourth goal with three great saves including a reflex double save to deny Shane Whelan twice and Josh McInerney.

A number of players on each side retired injured due to mistimed tackles because of the poor underground conditions even though the rain subsided for the last twenty minutes.

Sean Fennell pointed for play in the 55th minute as Ben Frawley kicked over the final Miltown score from 30 metres. The final score of the game with both sets of players willing for the final whistle went to Kilrush/Killimer midfielder Josh O’Brien.

One of the happiest people in Doonbeg was club chairperson Brian Shanahan whose declared post game “green grass will be all over Doonbeg next week following the rain”.

The champions were the better side with James Blunnie, Josh O’Brien, Sean Fennell, Jimmy Corry, Michael O’Sullivan, Eoin Shannon, Jack Johnson and Josh McInerney to the fore.

St Joseph’s Miltown probably, long term, had players who may have greater potential skill wise but on this occasion, they played second fiddle. Their best included Colin Hayes, Conor Neylon, Eoin Devanney, Steven Murphy, Tony Carroll, James Downes, Evan O’Loughlin and Paudge Devereux.

Following the game county PRO and Bord na nÓg secretary Anne Hayes presented the Under 15 division three trophy to Kilrush Killimer joint captain’s Stephen Cooper and James Blunnie.

Kilrush/Killimer: Stephen Cooper, Liam Reidy, James Blunnie, Shane Mulqueen, Darragh Blunnie, Eoin Shannon, Michael O’Sullivan, Josh O’Brien, Sean Fennell, Aidan Griffin, Brian Wallace, Jack Johnson Oran McMahon, Keith McMahon, Jimmy Corry. Subs: Bobby Carey, Rion Cotter, Josh McInerney, Ciaran Lyons, Bobby O’Driscoll, James Meehan, Michael Kennedy, Ruairi Young. Scorers: Jimmy Corry (2-0), Sean Fennell, Josh O’Brien (1-2) each, Aidan Griffin (0-1)

St Joseph’s Miltown Malbay: Colin Hayes, Ronan Killeen, James Downes, Michael Twomey, Fergal Queally, Steven Murphy, Paddy Devereux, Tony Carroll, Sean McMahon, Oisin McCarthy, Conor Neylon, Eoghan Hogan, Evan O’Loughlin, Eoin Devanney, James Cogan. Subs: Josh Flynn for Devanney, Sean Twomey, Gearoid Keavey, Daniel Keenan, Alex O’Brien, Eamonn Devanney, Davon Green, Gareth Woulfe, Eli Downes, Tadgh Griffin. Scorers: Conor Neylon (0-2), Ben Frawley, James Downes (0-1) each

Referee: Martin Downes

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