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Winning start for the champions

Cooraclare’s Hugh Donnelly pushes past the tackle of Kilkee’s David Russell.  Photographs by Declan MonaghanCooraclare 2-13   St Senan’s 2-7

Cusack Cup champions Cooraclare got off to a winning start in defence of the county senior football league  title when they proved too strong for St Senan’s Kilkee at Cooraclare on Saturday.

In a game that marked the return to senior competitive football of Denis Russell, the winners were always in control and at one stage in the game they were 14 points clear.
The seasiders put in a strong finish to give the scoreboard a much more respectable look come the final whistle.
Full-forward Michael Kelly scored his side’s first-half goal although some Kilkee people will argue that the ball did not cross the line. The seasiders goalie Kevin Harte appeared to have turned the ball behind for a 45, only for the umpire to raise the green flag signalling that the ball has crossed the line before Harte got it away. The goal helped the winners to a 1-7 to 0-3 half-time lead.
On the turnover, the home side continued where they had left off and their second goal came from Michael McMahon and helped to put them into a commanding position and well on their way to victory.
Many teams might have given up when 14 points down but Kilkee had other ideas and goals from Denis Russell and Kevin Harte in quick succession sparked off a great rally by the seasiders. However, time was not on their side.
Cooraclare: Joe Killeen; Michael Chambers, Conor Marrinan, Gearóid Meade; Thomas Downes, Mark Tubridy, Thomas Donnellan; Joe Considine, Hugh Donnelly; John Francis Killeen, Andrew O’Neill, John Looney; Cathal Lillis, Michael Kelly, Michael McMahon.
Subs: Colin Kelly, Padraic Looney, Kieran Hassett, Declan McMahon, Declan Keane.
St Senan’s: Kevin Harte; Thomas Galvin, Brendan Smith, Alan Russell; Jonathon Hayes, Brian Clancy, Micheál Keane; Kevin Larkin, David Russell; Darren Owens, Michael O’Shea, Barry Harte; Gearóid Lynch, Chris Williamson, Denis Russell.
Subs: Ronan Browne, Colm Roche, Trevor Clancy.

Doonbeg 2-9   Liscannor 0-6
Doonbeg were deserving and convincing winners over Liscannor in this Cusack Cup first-round game played under lights at Cooraclare on Saturday night.
The game marked a return to Clare action for Doonbeg’s Paul Hehir, who has re-joined the club after a couple of seasons away in London, where he is still domiciled.
Both sides finished with 14 men after referee Michael Talty dismissed Shane Canavan (Liscannor) and Doonbeg’s Colm Dillon.
The Magpies got off to a great start with a goal from Shane Ryan after just a couple of minutes and they went on to lead at the break on a score of 1-6 to 0-3.
Liscannor, who were without the experienced Ronan Slattery and Alan Flaherty, hit their best spell and closed the gap with points from Ciaran Considine and Paul Guerin but Doonbeg hit back with their second goal, which came from the boot of David Tubridy, and this sealed the points in their favour.
Doonbeg: Nigel Dillon; Enda Doyle, Pádraig Gallagher, Conor Whelan; Ritchie Vaughan, David Downes, Padraic Aherne; Colm Dillon, Shane O’Brien; David Tubridy, Frank O’Dea, Brian Egan; Jamie Whelan, Kevin Nugent, Shane Ryan.
Subs: Paul Hehir, Brian Dillon, Eamonn Tubridy, Joe Blake, Conor Downes.
Liscannor: Noel Kilmartin; Gerry Considine, Davy McDonagh, Shane Canavan; Denis Murphy, Niall Considine, Robert Lucas; Brian Considine, Joe Considine; Alan Clohessy, Thomas McDonagh, Ciaran Considine; Paul Guerin, Johnnie Considine, Davy Commane.
Subs: Michael Foley, Pa Nagle, Pádraig Haugh.

Éire Óg 0-7   Miltown Malbay  0-6
Four points from full-forward Seán O’Meara, allied to impressive displays from midfielder Darren O’Neill and wing-forward Brian Shannon, helped Éire Óg to win their opening Cusack Cup game in Quilty last Friday night. While it was a home fixture for Miltown, they opted to play under lights in Quilty.
Two late first-half frees from Seán O’Meara and Niall Daly helped the winners lead 0-4 to 0-2 at half-time. Micheál Malone and Seán Meade had found the target for Miltown, while Brian Fitzpatrick and Brian Shannon had also pointed for Éire Óg.
Joe Curtin pointed for Miltown a minute into the second half before O’Meara stretched the winners’ lead to three points, 0-6 to 0-3.
Conor O’Loughlin, from a 45, and O’Meara exchanged points, leaving the winners 0-7 to 0-4 up.
The impressive Micheál Malone hit two excellent points inside the last 10 minutes but Miltown, who had 22 subs togged out, couldn’t manufacture an equaliser.
Éire Óg are at home to Cooraclare this weekend, while Miltown host Shannon Gaels.
Éire Óg: Shane O’Connell; Conor Healy, Donie Lyne, Saran Butler; Michael O’Regan, Dean Ryan, David Russell; Darren O’Neill, Brian Frawley; Brian Shannon, Paul Madden, Kevin Moynihan; Brian Fitzpatrick, Seán O’Meara, Niall Daly.
Subs: Mark Fitzgerald for Paul Madden.
Miltown: Conor O’Loughlin; Ian Sexton, Enda Malone, David Cleary; Mike Hehir, Graham Kelly, Enda O’Gorman; Seán Meade, Cathal Lafferty; Micheál Malone, Niall Quinn, Gearóid Curtin; Gary Egan, Kevin Keavey, Joe Curtin.
Subs: Seán O’Connell for Gary Egan; Seánie Malone for Kevin Keavey.

Clondegad 1-13   Shannon Gaels  0-8
Clondegad made a very impressive start to their first Cusack Cup campaign when they scored a comprehensive win over Shannon Gaels in Ballynacally last Saturday.
Fitter and hungrier, the intermediate championship team were in control for all but the opening 10 minutes.
At that stage, the visiting team led 0-3 to 0-1 but gradually Clondegad took over in midfield, where Gary Brennan dominated along with Cormac Murphy.
Podge McMahon also played excellent football at centre-forward for the winners, who led 1-5 to 0-4 at half time. Frances Neylon scored the goal just before the break. The winners scored the opening four points of the second half to close out the game and they were never in any danger after that.
Shannon Gaels were reduced to 14 men when Cathal O’Neill was sent off half-way through the second half.
Clondegad: Declan O’Loughlin; Cormac Ryan, Paddy O’Connell, Brian Murphy; Kieran Browne, Brian Carrigg, Jacko Griffin; Gary Brennan, Cormac Murphy; Shane Brennan, Podge McMahon, Eoin Griffin; Kenneth Kelly, Pat Coffey, Francis Neylon.
Subs: Flan Enright, Rory Clohessy.
Shannon Gaels: Keith Ryan; Brian Bermingham, Tomás Madigan, John Neylon; Tomás Cleary, Eugene Flanagan, Stephen O’Shea; Noel Kennedy, Francis Cleary; Brian Cunningham, Michael O’Donoghue, Barry Toner; David Neylon, Declan Power, John Paul O’Neill.
Subs: John Bermingham for Tomás Cleary; Cathal O’Neill for Stephen O’Shea.

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