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St Joseph's Doora Barefield's U15 players celebrate their Division 1 Football Championship victory. Photographs by Natasha Barton

SLIDESHOW: Brothers have a Ball as Parish take U15 football title

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A late flurry of green flags sealed the deal as St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield beat Clooney-Quin 4-9 to 1-8 in the U15 Division 1 final

Three goals in the last 20 minutes finally cemented St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield’s Under 15 Division 1 title retention over neighbours Clooney-Quin in Cusack Park, Ennis on Tuesday evening.

Despite only possessing three survivors (Liam Clune, Darragh Ball, Diarmuid Boyle) from the side that contested last year’s final victory over Lissycasey, the Parish led from start to finish in a fully merited win.

Soaring as much as nine clear against the conditions in the opening period, Doora/Barefield were anticipated to canter to victory on the restart but instead saw their comfortable cushion whittled down to just two by a determined Clooney-Quin by the two-thirds mark.

However, that scare only seemed to motivate St Joseph’s into life once more as three goals in the space of just 17 minutes through substitute Graham Ball (2) and captain Liam Clune alleviated any grandstand finish.

The Ball brothers Darragh and Graham were the lynchpins of this final triumph as the former pulled the strings throughout, initially as the Parish’s lethal targetman with five first half points before operating in a more defensive role in the final quarter.

Younger brother Graham made an immediate impact when sprung from the bench in the 39th minute, scoring a goal with his first touch after a great Liam Clune defence-splitting run before doubling his tally within six minutes and subsequently returning the favour for his captain for the clinching goal in the 55th minute.

Clune, Leon Talty, Josie Kelly, Diarmuid Boyle and Micheál Ó Cuileann were others to shine for Doora/Barefield.

Neighbours Clooney-Quin were best served in their second half backlash by relentless midfield duo Patrick Finneran and David Cahill along with excellent centre-back Matthew Corbett.

Jerry O’Connor, Darragh McNamara and Sean McNamara were also to the fore for a Clooney-Quin side that were bidding for a historic Under 15A hurling and football double.

It was still an admirable achievement to get this close but in truth, Doora/Barefield just had the edge on balance, team-work and quality in the final third when needed most.

Darragh Ball (3) led the commanding performance as St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield defied the conditions to kick the first four points of the contest inside the opening ten minutes.

Patrick Finneran finally kickstarted Clooney-Quin’s challenge in the 13th minute but they would be fortunate to survive goal opportunities for Leon Talty and Liam Clune that were both thwarted by full-back Sean McNamara before Jerry O’Connor passed up one at the other end following a driving run.

Darragh Ball (2) and Leon Talty (1-1) brought Doora-Barefield to new heights with a 1-3 unanswered blitz in just six minutes, with the former teeing up Talty for the 22nd minute goal which he took at the second attempt on their way to a 1-7 to 0-3 interval cushion.

Darragh McNamara saw an injury-time goal chance drift agonisingly outside the right post but far from being a deterrent, Clooney-Quin displayed much more urgency on the resumption as early points from Patrick Finneran and Matthew Corbett were bolstered by a 39th minute goal for Jerry O’Connor at 1-7 to 1-5.

It stemmed from a wayward Finneran point attempt that was kept in by Dermot O’Halloran who centred for O’Connor to billow the net and ensure a two point game.

Within two minutes, Clooney-Quin were rocked back on their heels as Under 13 Graham Ball emphatically found the net. From there, there would be no further let-up from St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield as they would outscore their neighbours by 3-2 to 0-1 in a pivotal 17 minute period to seal back-to-back Under 15 Division 1 crowns.

St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield: Cillian Foley; Sean McMahon, Gearoid Barry, Micheál Ó Cuileann; Cathal McMahon, TJ Moore, Diarmuid Boyle; Darragh Monaghan, Shane Mescall; Joe Mannion, Liam Clune, Josie Kelly; Leon Talty, Darragh Ball, James Rafferty Subs: Graham Ball for Rafferty (39), Dara Bohannon for C. McMahon (40), Jack McAllister for Mannion (46), Matthew Corey for Kelly (57), Robbie Whelan for Mescall (57). Scorers: Graham Ball (2-0); Darragh Ball (0-5, 1f); Leon Talty, Liam Clune (1-1 each); Josie Kelly, Jack McAllister (0-1 each)

Clooney-Quin: Harry Hennessy; Donnacha Cantwell, Sean McNamara, Sean Cassidy; Michael Hassett, Matthew Corbett, Conor McFadden; David Cahill, Patrick Finneran; Cathal Leamy, Conan Fennell, Donncha Mahon; Darragh McNamara, Jerry O’Connor, Dermot O’Halloran. Subs: Lochlann Carey for O’Halloran (49), Matthew Murphy for Cantwell (49), Damien Guilfoyle for Leahy (58). Scorers: Patrick Finneran (0-4, 2f); Jerry O’Connor (1-0); David Cahill (0-2); Darragh McNamara, Matthew Corbett (0-1 each)

Referee: Chris Maguire (Wolfe Tones)

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