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Aidan Quilligan of Sixmilebridge in action against Tadgh Shanahan of Clooney Quin during their senior county final replay at Cusack park. Photograph by John Kelly.

Title number 13 for Sixmilebridge

Sixmilebridge 1-20 Clooney-Quin 1-14

Sixmilebridge are tonight celebrating a third Clare senior title in five years when they proved too strong for Clooney-Quin in the Clare senior hurling final replay.

Before an attendance of 5,892, up by just over three hundred from the previous week’a drawn decider, they showed improved form and deservingly captured the Canon Hamilton trophy for the thirteenth occasion in this the anniversary of their first win which was achieved back in 1977.

A sharper and hungrier Sixmilebridge made no mistake on this occasion and emerged as deserving winners on a day when veteran Niall Gilligan captured his sixth success. The All-Ireland medal winner with Clare in 1997 was in the starting line up this afternoon from the start and he made a valuable contribution to the team’s victory.

According to Clooney-Quin mentor Dave Barry “They were just stronger than us. They won an awful lot of ruck ball and that was pure power. Once you are not winning that you are chasing the game and we were chasing the game all the time. They got their match ups very well this time and fair play to them”.

We definitely had a way better start this week”, said Sixmilebridge manager John O’Meara. “We wouldn’t have been happy last week with our overall performance. Over the last week we rested up. It was just a matter of getting the performance we knew was in us. Today is a huge achievement for the group of players. It’s their third title in five years in a championship in which there has been eleven different winners in the last sixteen years and that’s not an easy thing to do. From the off today we were that bit fresher. The goal after half time was a big score”.

Sixmilebridge made a lively start and had three points on the board inside the opening three minutes. Clooney-Quin responded and they had drawn level at 0-4 each by the thirteenth minute before taking the lead with their only score from play in the first half, a Ryan Taylor point in the twentieth minute.

It was hard fought from here to half time when the score was 0-9 to 0-7 in the winner’s favour. The winners started the second half as they had done the first and after an early Jamie Shanahan point they struck for the game’s only goal, Brian Corry finding the net in the third minute to put his side six points clear. They stretched this to seven when Jamie Shanahan pointed and this left the challengers with a big task.

Clooney-Quin battled to the finish but Sixmilebridge held the edge in vital areas and when the final whistle sounded they were deserving winners.

After the game team captain Paidi Fitzpatrick was presented with the Canon Hamilton trophy by Clare GAA chairman who presented the man of the match award to Seadna Morey

There was some consolation for Clooney-Quin when Peter Duggan was presented with the championship top scorer award.

Sixmilebridge; Derek Fahy; Noel Purcell, Paidi Fitzpatrick (captain), Barry Fitzpatrick; Aidan Quilligan (0-1), Seadna Morey, Caimin Morey; Jamie Shanahan(0-5), Conor Deasy (0-1); Cathal Malone (0-1), Niall Gilligan (0-2), Shane Golden (0-5); Brian Corry (1-1), Alex Morey, Alan Mulready (0-3);

Subs; Cathal Lynch (0-1) for Gilligan; Gavin Whyte for A. Morey; Brian Carey for Deasy; Kevin Lynch for C. Morey.

Clooney-Quin; Keith Hogan; Bryan McInerney, Shane McNamara, Ruaidhri McNamara; Conor Harrisson, Cillian Duggan, Padraig Ward; Donnacda Murphy, Ryan Taylor (0-1); Peter Duggan (0-10), Michael Corry (1-1) Tadhg Shanahan; Ronan O’Donnell, Fergal Lynch (0-1) James Corry (0-1).

Subs; Daire Hannon for Shanahan; David Kennedy for Murphy

Referee R. Hickey, Eire Og, Ennis

By Seamus Hayes

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