Kilmurry Ibrickane 0-14
Wolfe Tones 0-6
NOBODY in Lissycasey realised it at the time but referee Michael Fitzgerald set a trend of sorts eight minutes before half-time, when he went down holding his calf. Later that afternoon, All-Ireland hurling final referee, Brian Gavin’s afternoon was interrupted when a hurley interfered with his nose, holding up the game for four minutes.
Fitzgerald’s injury wasn’t quite as eye-catching but it did add a talking point to what was a fairly pedestrian final-round group game. The speed of the referee’s movement wasn’t in the Usain Bolt category after his injury but he displayed plenty of resolve by not limping to the sideline and handing over his whistle.
With both teams having already qualified for the quarter-final, neither side was going to put everything on the line.
That said, it’s not every day that a corner-back scores three points from play. Kilmurry’s Shane Hickey pulled off that feat, outscoring his direct opponent Gary Leahy from play; Leahy scored three points, two from play.
Leahy scored the game’s opening points for Wolfe Tones with the Shannon men playing into the breeze on what was a wintry Sunday in early September.
Come the interval, Kilmurry had established control and led 0-7 to 0-3. Mark McCarthy, Enda Coughlan, Michael Hogan, Michael O’Dwyer and Shane Hickey scored from play, while Johnny Daly tapped over frees won by Noel Downes and Niall Hickey, who made intelligent runs throughout the hour.
With Peter O’Dwyer out with a finger injury, Kilmurry didn’t dominate primary possession at midfield, although they did pick up the majority of breaks in that area.
Early in the second half Martin McMahon blocked superbly as Stephen Monaghan lined up a shot on goal. Although Wolfe Tones upped it a bit for a few minutes after half-time, Kilmurry were never unduly threatened. Shane Hickey added two more points from play, while Ian McInerney (frees), Niall Hickey, Mark McCarthy and Stephen Moloney, on as a sub having been out injured, completed their tally.
Stephen Monaghan and Chris Dunning pointed Wolfe Tones’ three second-half scores.
Both teams were minus a few key players, with Peter O’Dwyer and Declan Callinan not featuring for Kilmurry, although Stephen Moloney looked very sharp on his return from injury.
Kilmurry will play Cooraclare in the quarter-final, while Wolfe Tones, who were without Seán Brennan, Daniel Gallery and Colm McCall, should have a stronger starting 15 in two weeks’ time when they face Kilkee.
Kilmurry Ibrickane: Peter O’Dwyer; Shane Hickey, Darren Hickey, Martin McMahon; Evan Talty, Enda Coughlan, Ian McInerney; Paul O’Connor, Seamus Murrihy; Michael Hogan, Michael O’Dwyer, Mark McCarthy; Niall Hickey, Noel Downes, Johnny Daly.
Subs: Seamus Lynch for Michael Hogan, Stephen Moloney for Johnny Daly and Johnny Daly for Michael O’Dwyer (injured).
Scorers: Shane Hickey (0-3), Mark McCarthy (0-2), Johnny Daly and Ian McInerney (0-2f) each, Enda Coughlan, Michael O’Dwyer, Michael Hogan, Niall Hickey and Stephen Moloney (0-1) each.
Wides: 9; frees won: 21; 45s: 0
“It was important to win it even if the only thing it decided was who finished top. The thing was to get the job done. It wasn’t a case of being hard to motivate ourselves. That didn’t come into it. When you go out in championship you go out to win all your games.” Patrick Murrihy, Kilmurry Ibrickane selector
Wolfe Tones: Jason Casey; Stephen Carroll, Craig O’Brien, William Flynn; Alan Downes, Brendan Hughes, Stephen McInerney; Patsy Keyes, Joe McCauley; Kevin Corbett, Gary Whelan, Chris Dunning; Gary Leahy, Darren Ryan, Stephen Monaghan.
Subs: Niall Murphy for Patsy Keyes and Seán Reidy for Joe McGauley.
Scorers: Gary Leahy (0-3, 1f), Stephen Monaghan (0-2) and Chris Dunning (0-1).
Wides: 9; frees won: 17; 45s: 1
Yellow cards: Kevin Corbett, Chris Dunning, Stephen Monaghan, Gary Whelan, Patsy Keyes, Stephen Carroll and Stephen McInerney.
“We came out of the game with no additional injuries and now we have two weeks to prepare for Kilkee in the quarter-final. We’ll give that our best shot.” Brendan Reidy, Wolfe Tones manager
Referee: Michael Fitzgerald, Clondegad.