Kilmurry Ibrickane 0-12 St Senan’s Kilkee 2-3
Come this weekend, few people outside of Quilty, Mullagh and Coore will recall the 2009 county final with any hint of elation. How could they? The 5,381 people who paid their admittance didn’t leave Cusack Park enthused with positive feelings towards Clare football.
At least the second half was significantly more entertaining than the first, which was dire.
Neither team played anywhere near their capabilities and both appeared frozen by the occasion.
Spurred on by substitute Noel Downes, who added movement and spark to the Kilmurry attack, the two-in-a-row champions, outscored Kilkee by 0-9 to 0-3 in the second period.
Having never won back-to-back titles before, Kilmurry won’t dwell too much on the fact
that the game was not filled with high quality football.
Bizarrely, Kilkee led 2-0 to 0-3 at half time. Three minutes after Mark McCarthy’s fifth minute point for the champions, with Darren Hickey having defended well, Noel O’Shea netted an opportunistic eighth minute goal. Chris Williamson directed a monstrously high ball towards the Kilmurry goalmouth, which was caught and then spilled loose by Dermot O’Brien.
O’Shea was sharp enough to finish the loose ball to the net, putting Kilkee 1-0 to 0-1 up.
Michael O’Shea, Barry Harte twice and Kevin Larkin kicked first half wides for The Blues, while Steven Moloney, Enda Coughlan, Johnny Daly and Ian McInerney twice, were soon to do likewise for Kilmurry in a turgid opening half.
Two minutes before half-time, Gearóid Lynch pounced, with the help of a judicious nudge on Martin McMahon after Noel O’Shea had landed a bomb into the Kilmurry goalmouth.
McMahon spilled the break off Chris Williamson, after Lynch’s shove. Dermot O’Brien made an excellent save from Lynch’s first attempt but the Kilkee forward then used his soccer skills to beat the keeper at the second attempt.
2-0 to 0-2 behind, Kilmurry were on the ropes, but Enda Coughlan’s excellent late point helped to calm the champions, who were three points down at the interval.
With Kilkee defending very well and expertly closing down the champions’ attacking space, Kilmurry had no option but to introduce Noel Downes. No other Clare club would have kept Downes in reserve for half a county final and it was surprising that even Kilmurry could afford to.
Although it took him a few minutes to settle, the Kilmurry forward was soon the main man in Cusack Park. His movement had Kilkee reeling, while it also afforded Kilmurry a chance to find their inside line with early ball. Mark McCarthy was furious to have been substituted at half time, as were Steven Moloney and Johnny Daly later but with Kilmurry winning, it kept the lid on overflowing emotions.
A minute after shooting a wide, Michael O’Shea kicked Kilkee into a 2-1 to 0-3 lead after he secured a break off a Kilmurry kick out.
Johnny Daly, placed by Peter O’Dwyer and Downes, replied for Kilmurry before Barry Harte picked up a break from Kevin Harte’s kick out to fire over his sides second and indeed second last point.
When Kilkee reflect on why they lost, they will look to the fact that they only kicked a single point in the last 27 minutes as Kilmurry completely took over at midfield, with Peter O’Dwyer storming into the game.
Downes’ fist and a free from Ian McInerney dragged Kilmurry to within two points of Kilkee, 2-2 to 0-6. Kevin Harte saved well from Declan Callinan as Kilkee introduced Ger Keane for a tiring Derek Deloughrey.
McInerney and Peter O’Dwyer kicked wides, while Kevin Larkin hit the post for Kilkee during this barren spell, which ended when McInerney pointed a free won by Odran O’Dwyer. Downes equalised with a superb point, 2-2 to 0-8, nine minutes from full time.
Michael Hogan gathered yet another break before laying off to Downes, who fed Peter O’Dwyer. His effort established a Kilmurry lead for the first time. Kilkee didn’t lie down, however, and Brendan Smyth soon made it 2-3 to 0-9 as the tension levels increased.
Kilmurry showed the mark of champions, however, with three unanswered points in the closing six minutes of normal and injury time.
First Paul O’Connor, with his left foot, scored an inspirational point. Downes then shot wide, while Enda Coughlan made a timely interception at the opposite end, after a Jack Fitzgerald blocked effort had spilled free.
Peter O’Dwyer kicked the score of the game, two minutes into injury time following almost a minute of Kilmurry possession football.
Downes secured the title a minute later from a free, which he had won himself.
Kilmurry were definitely the better team, with Martin McMahon, Darren Hickey and Enda Coughlan all contributing effectively, while Michael O’Dwyer kept tabs on David Russell, who Kilkee might have moved to midfield, where he might have come more into the game. Noel Downes as indicated was a key component in Kilmurry’s second half display.
Peter O’Dwyer, however, was Kilmurry’s most impressive performer. He ruled midfield, along with Paul O’Connor in the second half and kicked two points, although he did sell himself with a couple of attempted tackles, when he might have been better advised to stand up in the tackle.
Jimmy Larkin did his best at full back, as did Brian Clancy on the wing, although he allowed Steven Moloney a bit too much space early on. Elsewhere Noel O’Shea, Chris Williamson and Gearóid Lynch gave their last drop for Kilkee.
Kilmurry Ibrickane: Dermot O’Brien, Darren Hickey, Mark Killeen, Martin McMahon; Shane Hickey, Enda Coughlan (captain), Declan Callinan; Paul O’Connor and Peter O’Dwyer; Ian McInerney, Michael O’Dwyer, Steven Moloney; Michael Hogan, Johnny Daly, Mark McCarthy.
Subs: Noel Downes for McCarthy (31), Odran O’Dwyer for Johnny Daly (39), Paul O’Dwyer for Steven Moloney (44), Steven Moloney for Ian McInerney (26) and Evan Talty for Michael Hogan (60).
Scorers: Noel Downes 0-3, (0-1f), Ian McInerney 0-3f, Peter O’Dwyer 0-2, Mark McCarthy, Enda Coughlan, Johnny Daly and Paul O’Connor 0-1 each.
Wides: 9 Frees: 24 ‘45s: 2
Yellow cards: Enda Coughlan, Steven Moloney and Peter O’Dwyer.
St Senan’s Kilkee: Kevin Harte, Brendan Smyth, Jimmy Larkin, Thomas Galvin; Brian Clancy, David Russell, Micheál Keane; Kevin Larkin and Derek Deloughrey; Noel O’Shea, Michael O’Shea, Chris Williamson, Gearóid Lynch, Barry Harte (captain), Conor King.
Subs: Ger Keane for Derek Deloughrey (42) and Jack Fitzgerald for Conor King (50).
Scorers: Noel O’Shea and Gearóid Lynch 1-0 each, Michael O’Shea, Barry Harte and Brendan Smyth 0-1 each.
Wides: 6 Frees: 25
Yellow cards: Conor King and Jack Fitzgerald.
Referee: Michael Rock (Ennistymon).