Clare Cup Final
Kilmaley 0-25 Clonlara 0-15
ideal pre-championship boost for Kilmaley who deservedly garnered their second Clare Cup crown in three attempts in Cusack Park on Sunday evening.
Leading from the eighth minute to the finish and never behind at any stage of the contest, Kilmaley seamlessly moved through the gears to record a comfortable victory and more significantly a 25 point turnaround from their group stage clash only three weeks earlier.
Contrasting fortunes were stark as despite losing talisman Mikey O’Malley to injury in the opening period, Kilmaley will be not only be thrilled with securing timely silverware ahead of their championship opener against Éire Óg in three weeks time but did so thanks to nine different scorers.
On the flip side, Clonlara saved their most lacklustre Clare Cup display of 2022 for last but more worryingly saw early retirements through injury for captain Cathal O’Connell, former All-Star Colm Galvin, Gareth Kennedy and chief marksman Micheál O’Loughlin to add to a mounting treatment table that also includes John Conlon, Oisin O’Brien and Cillian Fennessy.
While always in pace-setting mode, Kilmaley, led initially by O’Malley, only led by three by the break at 0-11 to 0-8 while only two points separated the sides by the two-thirds mark.
Micheál O’Loughlin and Kieran Galvin in particular were the ones to keep Clonlara in touch. However, Kilmaley, headed by captain Mikey O’Neill, the excellent Conor Cleary, Tommy Barry, Colin McGuane, Gearoid O’Grady and Aidan McGuane, put on the afterburners in the final quarter, outscoring their flagging opponents by 0-11 to 0-3 for the remainder, four from Joe Carmody, to run out convincing victors.
Kilmaley: Bryan O’Loughlin; Marty O’Connor, Colin McGuane, Noel Casey; Aidan McGuane, Conor Cleary, Bradley Higgins; Mikey O’Neill (Captain), Tommy Barry; Mikey O’Malley, Brian Cahill, Sean O’Loughlin; Cian Moloney, Gearoid O’Grady, Eanna McMahon
Subs: Joe Carmody for O’Malley (17, inj), Daire Keane for McMahon (50), Sean Kennedy for Casey (50), Brian McNamara for Barry (54), Sean Ronan for Moloney (54)
Scorers: Joe Carmody (0-6, 5f); Mikey O’Neill (0-5); Mikey O’Malley (0-4, 1f, 1’65); Eanna McMahon, Tommy Barry, Gearoid O’Grady, Sean O’Loughlin (0-2 each); Conor Cleary (f), Sean Ronan (0-1 each)
Clonlara: Ger O’Connell; Paul McNamara, Gareth Kennedy, Jathan McMahon; Michael Clancy, Dylan McMahon, Colm O’Meara; Cathal O’Connell, Aidan Moriarty; Micheál O’Loughlin, Kieran Galvin, Colm Galvin; Micheál Stritch, Paraic O’Loughlin, Cormac O’Donovan
Subs: Ian Galvin for C. O’Connell (21, inj), Sean Begley for O’Meara (35), Conor Bourke for C. Galvin (42, inj), Mike White for Kennedy (50, inj), Tommy Lynch for M. O’Loughlin (52, inj)
Scorers: Micheál O’Loughlin (0-6, 3f); Kieran Galvin (0-4, 1f); Cathal O’Connell (0-2, 1f); Colm Galvin, Conor Bourke, Tommy Lynch (0-1 each)
Referee: Niall Malone (Éire Óg)