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Last-gasp draw a fair result

Cooraclare 2-6  Doonbeg 1-9

THERE was never any doubt that the meeting of these neighbouring rivals would provide plenty of excitement and so it proved at Quilty on Saturday evening. They produced a grandstand finish with first Cooraclare and then Doonbeg looking to have secured a place in the semi-final of the Clare Senior Championship.

That Cooraclare snatched a draw with the last kick of the game deep in injury time was a fair outcome, as they had looked the better side for a lot of the game. However, credit must go to Doonbeg, who never dropped their heads and dominated the final quarter.
Cooraclare's Conor Marrinan gives chase to Doonbeg's Brian Egan during their senior championship game at Quilty. Photograph by John KellyMost of the excitement was reserved for the final minutes. Five points down 10 minutes into the second half, Doonbeg’s championship dream looked to be coming to an end. However, the Magpies rarely go down without a fight and they clawed their way back level with a minute of normal time remaining.
With just seconds to go they looked to have snatched victory as Kevin Nugent’s effort went through the hands of Cooraclare goalie Joe Killeen for the game’s first goal. Three points ahead as the game headed into injury time, few would have bet against the Magpies but Cooraclare weren’t going to give up now and they came storming forward. Doonbeg looked to have weathered the storm as they broke up a Cooraclare attack in the fourth minute of injury time but referee Rory Hickey saw his umpire calling and following a consultation, the Éire Óg man pointed to the penalty spot. Up stepped Mark Tubridy and he cooly dispatched the ball to tie up the scores and set up a replay for this Saturday.
A Seán  Maguire goal in the 12th minute of the opening half put Cooraclare into the driving seat and they went on to lead at the break when the score was 1-3 to 0-4. In fairness to Doonbeg, it must be pointed out that they were guilty of some poor finishing in the first half as their tally of five wides indicates.
The Magpies returned with Frank O’Dea in their line up at midfield and this led to Shane O’Brien switching to defence to the exclusion of Joe Blake. Cooraclare had the better of the early exchanges in this half and stretched their lead to five points thanks to scores from Seán  Maguire (2) and Mark Tubridy.
Doonbeg knew that changes were required and they introduced both Brian Dillon and Shane Killeen to their attack in place of Brian Egan and Shane Ryan. However, arguably the most important change they made was to switch Conor Whelan from midfield to the full-back line and this led to Enda Doyle moving outfield. The switch benefitted both men as Whelan was masterful in defence and Doyle found time to go forward and contribute a point.
Cooraclare's Andrew O'Neill is tackled by Doonbeg's David Downes during their senior championship game at Quilty. Photograph by John KellyDavid Tubridy converted two frees to cut the margin to a goal at the three-quarter stage. Enda Doyle cut the margin to two before substitute Brian Dillon took a pass from Tubridy to score and cut the deficit to the minimum with six minutes to play. Doonbeg were growing in confidence all the time and a minute from time Frank O’Dea broke through the middle to shoot the equaliser.
Few would have bet against a draw at this stage and while that is how it ended, nobody would have predicted what happened in the remaining minutes. Doonbeg will admit that their goal was fortunate and maybe the strong sun played a part in it but credit must go to Cooraclare, who just would not give in.
The awarding of the penalty was a big call but there were no complaints and Mark Tubridy held his nerve to keep his side in the title race.
Cooraclare will be concerned that they didn’t score from the 10th minute of the second half until Tubridy’s penalty and this is something they must improve on. They will also be hoping to have Joe Considine back in action, as his presence was missed around midfield. He was togged last Saturday and is understood to be near making a return after suffering a broken jaw against Liscannor a few weeks back.
Cooraclare’s failure to line out in accordance with the numbers on the match programme led criticism from supporters atending the game.

Cooraclare: Joe Killeen; Michael Chambers, Fergal Lillis, Gearóid Meade; Conor Marrinan, Thomas Downes, Thomas Donnellan; Andrew O’Neill, Hugh Donnelly; David Marrinan, Seán Maguire, Declan McMahon; Cathal Lillis, Don Garry, Mark Tubridy.
Subs: Michael Kelly for McMahon (inj) 15 minutes); Pádraig Looney for D Marrinan (half time); Declan Keane for Garry (50 minutes); John Looney for P Looney (55 minutes).
Scorers: Seán Maguire (1-2); Mark Tubridy (1-1), 1-0 penalty 0-1 free; Don Garry, Hugh Donnelly, Cathal Lillis (0-1) each.
Frees: 15; Wides: 3
Bookings: Cathal Lillis (21 minutes); Michael Kelly (28 minutes); Conor Marrinan (61 minutes).
“We will all learn a lot from today. If we can get Joe Considine back into the middle we will be a force to reckoned with.” Aidan Moloney, Cooraclare

Doonbeg: Nigel Dillon; Enda Doyle, Pádraig Gallagher, Joe Blake; Ritchie Vaughan, David Downes, Paraic Aherne; Shane O’Brien, Conor Whelan; Shane Ryan, Colm Dillon, Brian Egan; Jamie Whelan, Kevin Nugent, David Tubridy.
Subs: Frank O’Dea for Blake (half time); Brian Dillon for Egan (37 minutes); Shane Killeen for Ryan (37 minutes).
Scorers: Kevin Nugent (1-0); David Tubridy (0-3); Enda Doyle, Brian Egan, Colm Dillon, Jamie Whelan, Frank O’Dea, Brian Dillon (0-1) each.
Frees: 16; Wides: 11; 45s: 1
Bookings: Enda Doyle (21 minutes)
“We were dead and buried with seven or eight minutes to go but we fought back and went ahead.” Tommy Tubridy, Doonbeg
Referee: Rory Hickey, Éire Óg.


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