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Powerful Crusheen reach Clare Champion Cup final

Crusheen 3-9  Broadford 1-4

CRUSHEEN qualified for their second senior final of the season when they defeated Broadford at Clarecastle on Saturday to set up a meeting with title-holders, Clonlara in the Clare Champion Cup final (senior hurling league).

Crusheen's Cathal Dillon rises above Broadford's Aonghus O' Brien. Photograph  by Declan MonaghanA powerful first-half performance, which saw them go 2-7 to 0-0 ahead, laid the foundations for this latest victory for Crusheen and the win means that their season will continue for at least another two weeks.
On Saturday, they return to Clarecastle to replay the senior B final with O’Callaghan’s Mills and a week later, they will face Clonlara in the league decider.
Last Saturday’s game was played in atrocious weather conditions but the pitch was in remarkably good condition despite the rain. The game was switched to Clarecastle after the pitch at Shannon was ruled to be unavailable, due to the heavy rainfall of Saturday night.
The fact that Crusheen had a competitive game a week earlier, when they drew with O’Callaghan’s Mills in the B decider, helped them against a Broadford side that had its first competitive outing in three weeks, since they were knocked out of the championship race in a replay against the recently-crowned champions, Cratloe.
Match referee Ger Hoey had to make a couple of visits to the Crusheen dressing room before they emerged for the contest some 10 minutes after the appointed time. Broadford had been out on the pitch for 15 minutes at this stage when they had to contend with driving rain.
Early points from Fergus Kennedy and Joe Meaney got the winners on the way to this win before Paddy Meaney struck for the game’s opening goal, which came in the eighth minute. He got to the ball ahead of the advancing Broadford goalkeeper, Kevin Ryan.
Further points from Paddy Meaney, Dara O’Doherty and Joe Meaney (3) stretched the winners’ lead to 1-7 with eight minutes still to play in the half.
Broadford’s task was made all the greater two minutes later, when Fergus Kennedy finished off a good move with his team’s second goal.
Just before the half-time whistle, Broadford full-back Ciaran Corcoran burst up field and got his side’s opening point, which left the half-time score at 2-7 to 0-1.
Joe Meaney scored the opening point of the second half to stretch his side’s lead but Broadford were given hope two minutes later when Niall Moloney found the net after a good break by Stephen Gunning.
The East Clare men had made a number of changes to their line-up for this half, including the switch of Ciaran Corcoran outfield from full-back, a move which helped to bring his side much more into the game. Corcoran added a point from a free but despite their best efforts, they were unable to break down a solid Crusheen defence, in which the Dillon brothers and Alan Brigdale were dominant.
At the turn of the final quarter, Paddy Meaney scored the winners’ third goal, which came following a good break by full-forward Patrick O’Grady and this score killed off Broadford’s hopes of a rally.
Broadford had two points from Craig Chaplin but the final say went to the winners when Patrick O’Grady pointed in the final minute to seal a merited win.

Crusheen: Donal Tuohy; John Brigdale, Cian Dillon, Alan Brigdale; Cathal Dillon, Ciarán O’Doherty, Dara O’Doherty; Tony Meaney, Jason Greene; Fergus Kennedy, Joe Meaney, Seán Dillon; Paddy Meaney, Patrick O’Grady, Gearóid O’Donnell.
Subs: Cronan Dillon for J Brigdale, Brendan McMahon for Greene and Niall Fitzgibbons for O’Donnell.
Scorers: Paddy Meaney (2-1), Joe Meaney (0-5), Fergus Kennedy (1-1), Dara O’Doherty and Patrick O’Grady (0-1 each).

Broadford: Kevin Ryan; John Corcoran, Ciaran Corcoran, Kieran O’Connell; Stephen Gunning, Aidan O’Brien, James Gunning; Peter O’Brien, Cathal Chaplin; Dara Corcoran, Aonghus O’Brien, Craig Chaplin; Padraig Hickey, Niall Moloney, Padraic Taylor.
Sub: Declan Teefy for D Corcoran.
Scorers: Niall Moloney (1-0), Ciaran Corcoran and Craig Chaplin (0-2 each).

Referee: Ger Hoey, Killanena.

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