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Corofin/Ruan players celebrate their U-21A hurling championship victory over Newmarket-on-Fergus. Photograph by Eugene McCafferty

Hurling: Corofin/Ruan pack a lethal Punch

U-21A Hurling Championship Final
Corofin/Ruan 1-18 Newmarket-on-Fergus 0-14

HAVING dominated the minor ranks in recent seasons, Corofin/Ruan took their development to the next level with a first ever U-21A crown in Gurteen this evening, reports Eoin Brennan.
Leading from the start to finish, the North Clare amalgamation justified their favourite’s tag with a strong performance. And while Newmarket never really looked like causing an upset, they still provided an obstinate challenge right to the final whistle.
Overall however, Corofin/Ruan’s superior firepower and edge on balance won the day, with a powerful finish to the opening half that saw them outscore the Blues by 1-8 to 0-2 in the final ten minutes, essential to providing an unassailable ten point cushion by half-time.
Shane Punch excelled with 1-10, with all but two points coming in a dominant first half with the aid of the conditions as his metronomic freetaking was perfectly accentuated by an injury-time goal.
The Blues, led by captain Jack Enright, best player Eoin Guilfoyle and Eanna Crimmins did inevitably mount a second half resurgence but crucially were denied a goal either side of the water break that they craved to realistically make the leaders nervous.
Marc O’Loughlin superbly blocked an Eoin Guilfoyle effort in the 38th minute while goalkeeper Cian O’Donoghue made a double save to prevent Eanna Crimmins from grabbing a late lifeline for Newmarket.
Overall, with only one forward scoring from play, Eoin Guilfoyle’s three point haul was never going to be enough to trouble a Corofin/Ruan side that boasted an attacking triumvirate of Punch, Robin Mounsey and Diarmuid Cahill.
0-5 to 0-2 clear by the first water break, four from the unerring Punch, wind-assisted Corofin/Ruan only seemed to ignite once Newmarket resumed with back-to-back scores from Stephen Casey and Eoin Guilfoyle to leave only the minimum between the sides by the 21st minute.
Flexing their muscles, the amalgamation stepped on the gas with a seven point unanswered rally in as many minutes as Punch (4), Cahill jnr, Mounsey and Dara McInerney turned a slight fissure into a chasm at 0-12 to 0-4 by the 29th minute.
Newmarket appeared to stop the rot with a Peter Power free for their first score in 11 minutes, only to be floored by a brilliant goal in the 33rd minute when Dara McInerney jinked his way past halfway before delivering to Punch to beat his man and fire an unstoppable effort to the net at 1-13 to 0-6.
With the wind now at their backs, Newmarket were quick out of the blocks to raid for four of the first five points of the new half thanks to Power and Guilfoyle at 1-14 to 0-10. However, the goal they yearned for was repelled by the brevity of corner-back O’Loughlin.
Seven second half wides didn’t aid the Blues comeback cause that simply couldn’t make any further inroads as Diarmuid Cahill (2), Punch and Mounsey matched anything that Newmarket could throw at them for the remainder despite growing tensions.
With Corofin also qualifying for a Munster Intermediate Football Final last Sunday, it was the perfect finish to 2021 for the North Clare combo who worryingly for the chasing pack, only lose joint-captain Gearoid Cahill for the 2022 Under 21A version.

Corofin/Ruan’s Robin Mounsey loses control of the sliotar under pressure from Stephen Casey of Newmarket-on-Fergus. Photograph by Eugene McCafferty

Corofin/Ruan: Cian O’Donoghue (Joint-Captain); Marc O’Loughlin, Ashley Brohan, Jason Power; Gearoid Hanrahan, Gearoid Cahill (Joint-Captain), Cillian McGroary; Shane Punch, Dara McInerney; Kevin Keane, Robin Mounsey, Diarmuid Cahill; Patrick O’Halloran, Killian O’Connor, Jack McDonagh Subs: Conor Leen for McDonagh (41), Shane O’Brien for O’Halloran (58), Patrick O’Gorman for O’Connor (63), Oisin Madigan for McInerney (66)

Scorers: Shane Punch (1-10, 9f); Robin Mounsey (0-4), Diarmuid Cahill (0-3); Dara McInerney (0-1)

Newmarket-on-Fergus: Padraic Guilfoyle; Mark Delaney, Jack Enright (Captain), Ger O’Connor; David Frost, Stephen Casey, Darragh Burke; Shane Lynch, Eanna Crimmins; Owen McCoy, Seadhna Liddy, Jason O’Brien; Cian Foley, Eoin Guilfoyle, Peter Power Subs: David Hall for O’Neill (20, inj), Jamie Power for McCoy (37), Kieran McMahon for Delaney (47, inj), Oisin McInerney for E. Guilfoyle (67, inj)

Scorers: Peter Power (0-9, 8f, 1’65); Eoin Guilfoyle (0-3); Stephen Casey, David Frost (0-1 each)

Wayne King (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield)

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