O’Callaghan’s Mills earned East Clare bragging rights as they edged a tight tussle with neighbours Broadford in the opening round of the Clare SHC.
A dominant third quarter proved the ultimate difference as the Mills outscored their opponents 1-5 to 0-3 in that period, with Sean Cotter’s goal after 38 minutes eventually turning the tide of the contest in favour of the winners.
There was drama even before Niall Malone’s opening whistle, as Broadford were forced into wearing their jerseys inside out due to a colour clash between the two kits.
The Broadford wides tally went well into double figures which is an area Jimmy Browne and his backroom team will mark for improvement before their next outing, but there were encouraging signs in defeat for the new boys to senior level.
By the time the first half water break was called, it was welcomed by all as a hectic opening quarter had Broadford 0-8 to 1-4 in front, with last years intermediate champions rattling off the first four scores of the contest inside the opening three minutes.
All-Ireland champion handballer Colin Crehan bundled home from close range for the Mills but the score came at a price as he was forced off with an injury picked up in the process. The sides traded scores at will throughout the first 30 minutes, but the last two of the half came the way of Broadford to leave them 0-10 to 1-5 ahead at the break.
That third quarter belonged to the Mills as Paddy Donnellan began to get on top in the half back line while Jacob Loughnane’s presence up front was telling. Cotter’s goal arrived followed a brilliant run from Aidan Fawl, and it edged the Mills in front for the first time in the contest by 2-7 to 0-12. Three of the next four scores also came their way and they held a 2-10 to 0-13 lead entering the last quarter.
Broadford were dogged throughout and cut the gap back to the minimum with the next two scores, but crucially they never regained parity in the closing stages. Aidan O’Gorman, Loughnane and Cormac Murphy kept the scoreboard ticking over, but the result still hinged on the final action of the contest.
A 21m free for Cathal Chaplin presented the chance for Broadford to steal the victory, but his shot was saved and cleared by the Mills defence to clinch the win.
Broadford: Cian O’Brien; Cian Mulqueen, Eoin Donnellan, Darragh Whelan; Sean Phelan, Darren Chaplin, Cathal Chaplin; Paddy Donnellan, Danny Reddan; Padraig Taylor, Diarmuid O’Brien, Diarmuid Moloney; Paul Moloney, Shane Taylor, Donie Whelan.
Subs: Stiofan McMahon for Whelan, Davy Boland for Reddan, Cian Cremmins for Mulqueen, Craig Chaplin for Moloney, Mark Moloney for Whelan.
Scorers: Diarmuid O’Brien (0-5), Diarmuid Moloney (0-3, 2f), Cathal Chaplin (0-2,2f),Paul Moloney (0-2) , Padraig Taylor , Paddy Donnellan, Danny Reddan, Stiofan McMahon and Shane Taylor (0-1 each).
O’Callaghan’s Mills: Killian Nugent; Michael Cotter, Conor Cooney, Gerry Cooney; Patrick Donnellan, Aidan O’Gorman, Niall Donovan; Ciaran Cooney, Conor Henry; Aidan Fawl, Bryan Donnellan, Jacob Loughnane; Gary Cooney, Sean Cotter, Colin Crehan.
Subs: Cormac Murphy for Crehan (inj), Mike McGrath for Ciaran Cooney, Sean Murphy for Bryan Donnellan.
Scorers: Jacob Loughnane (0-7, 6f), Colin Crehan and Sean Cotter (1-1 each), Cormac Murphy (0-2), Aidan O’Gorman and Conor Henry (0-1 each).
Ref: Niall Malone (Eire Óg).