Intermediate Football Championship Quarter-Final
Shannon Gaels 0-7
WHENEVER Kildysart are in championship action, Clare GAA bean counters are far from distraught such is the following of one of the perennial favourites to go up to the top table. Once again, in this clash neighbours, family and colleagues housed in Doonbeg they held the sway with ease in terms of support, reports Michael O’Connor.
With Coorclare now down a rung in the order of merit for 2022 and another to join this is the year for Corofin, Kilfenora, O’Curry’s and Kildysart to reach Everest.
Could one say Shannon Gaels made Kildysart work hard for the win or were Jacko Cleary’s starlets playing within themselves? A concoction of both perhaps? Shannon Gaels rose to the challenge despite missing the services of Kilmaley hurler Michael O’Malley due to injury.
The wide tally in this encounter was modest as the action viewed rarely rose above entertaining at best suggesting either a modest attacking effort of both sides or superb defensive displays. Diarmuid O’Donnell and Luke McGrath were off the mark within the first five minutes for Kildysart as Michael O’Donoghue had to be alert to deny Emmet McMahon a speculative goal effort. Conor Hassett also saw a better goal chance cleared off the line by Jack Reidy in the 11th minute. Had these chances been converted the game would have been over as an event by the first water break.
Robert Eyres converted the 45’s for Kildysart as a lifeless period of the game was endured by the large crowd as Thomas Kelly opened up the Shannon Gaels account. He added a second with five minutes, but this was the end of the scoring for the Gaels who were guilty of two unwanted wides when the points were there for the taking. Kildysart kicked into gear as Emmet McMahon who was really fired up for the occasion as seen by sheer delight whenever he scored. Diarmuid O Donnell, Emmet McMahon, Ian Flanagan and Seamus Casey received cheers for their scores to leave the favourites 0-7 to 0-2 ahead at the interval.
Darragh Bohannon who ended the game at full forward announced a Gaels fightback with the first score of the new half and his sides first in nearly 20 minutes, Thomas Kelly (2) frees left just two points, but this was as close as Shannon Gaels got to a shock.
Diarmuid O’Donnell and two more hard earned scores from Emmet McMahon left Kildysart with the scoring feats completed for the day as they appeared to into their shell. It was a dangerous tactic and against a stronger side with a pacy forward line Kildysart would not have been in the semi-final draw. Niall Ellis forced the best out of Robert Eyres as he conceded a 45 scored by Aaron Malone-Smyth. Barry Crehan sent an eminently scoreable effort wide before the final score of the hour was reserved for Shannon Gaels top scorer Thomas Kelly as Shannon Gaels became frustrated in the final minutes when ironically, they were only a score away from extra time.
It is often better to keep performances low in a quarter final to use as a lecturing tool to prepare for the semi-final as ultimately it is all about winning and Kildysart have learnt this over the last half decade. On the day their best included Robert Eyres, Mike Donnellan, Diarmuid O’Donnell, Brian Eyres, Keith O’Connor, Luke McGrath and my man of the hour Emmet McMahon. Shannon Gaels was served well by Thomas Kelly, Michael O’Donoghue, Darragh Bohannon, Jack Reidy, Fergal Kenny and Tomas Cleary.
Kildysart: Robert Eyres (0-1), Fergal Ginnane, Kieran Leahy, Stephen Sheehan, Brian Eyres, Rory McMahon, Mike Donnellan, Keith O’Connor Emmet McMahon (0-3), Seamus Casey (0-1), Conor Hassett, Luke McGrath (0-1), Diarmuid O’Donnell (0-3), Keith Murphy, Ian Flanagan (0-1). Subs: Michael Eustace for Hassett, Shane McNeilis for Flanagan, Kieran O’Brien for Murphy
Shannon Gaels: Michael O’Donoghue, Tadgh Kelly, Jack Reidy, Michael Lorigan, Fergal Kenny, Thomas Cleary, Michael McMahon, Aaron Malone-Smyth (0-1), Darragh Bohannon (0-1), Darren Crehan, Gearoid Kenny, Eoin Keane, Barry Crehan, Niall Ellis, Tomas Kelly (0-5). Sub: Aaron Lee McMahon for Kenny.
Referee: Michael Talty (Kilmurry Ibrickane).