Wolfe Tones 1-8 Ennistymon 0-7
THE line-up for the quarter-finals of the Clare senior football championship was completed at Cusack Park on Tuesday evening when Wolfe Tones overcame Ennistymon.
A superbly taken goal by Frank Lohan, three minutes from the break, proved vital in a tie which saw the Shannon side get the better of the midfield exchanges thanks to a powerful performance from Patsy Keyes.
The early exchanges were even and, after 20 minutes, Ennistymon were a point ahead, 0-3 to 0-2, and a little unlucky not to have had a greater lead. It was noticeable, however, that the Shannon side were getting more of a grip on matters thanks mainly to the play of Keyes and Johnnie Bridges at midfield and Chris Dunning in defence.
Keyes started the move which ended with Frank Lohan crashing an unstoppable shot to the corner of the net. The score rattled the North Clare side and Wolfe Tones added points from Kevin Cahill and Gary Leahy (free) to take a four-point advantage, 1-4 to 0-3, to the break.
Shortly before the half-time whistle, Ennistymon lost centre-back Willie Murphy through injury.
On the resumption, the winners extended their lead with a Gary Leahy effort from a 30m free but, for the next 15 minutes, they were under pressure from a North Clare outfit that piled on the pressure. Three points from Brian Conway (two frees) saw them cut the lead to two points by the end of the third quarter but they failed to maintain this scoring rate and the Shannon men hit back with points from a Leahy free and one from play from Brian O’Connell to go four clear with five minutes to go.
Ennistymon made a number of changes in the final quarter in an effort to get the goal they needed to get back into contention but the Shannon defence held firm and a superb point from Chris Dunning in the second minute of injury time sealed a quarter final date against Kilkee.
Wolfe Tones: Trevor O’Donnell; Alan Downes, Seán Brennan, Chris Dunning; Brendan Hughes, Brian O’Connell, Stephen McInerney; Johnnie Bridges Patsy Keyes; Barry Murphy, Frank Lohan, Declan Collins; Terry Duggan, Gary Leahy, Kevin Cahill.
Subs: Alan Hehir for Collins (45 minutes); Aaron Leahy for Hehir (56 minutes).
Scorers: Frank Lohan (1-1), Gary Leahy (0-4), all frees; Kevin Cahil, Brian O’Connell, Chris Dunning (0-1) each.
Frees for: 14; wides: 5; 45: 1.
Bookings: Barry Murphy (33 minutes), Kevin Cahill (58 minutes).
“We are delighted to be in the quarter-finals but we would have preferred to do it in three games rather than five. We have only four or five days to the quarter-final and I hope it won’t take its toll. We are playing with a bit more commitment now, fellas are improving and we are more confident on the ball. The goal made the difference as Ennistymon were on top at that time,” Brendan Reidy, Wolfe Tones manager
Ennistymon: Shane Keane; James Murphy, Michael O’Loughlin, Michael A Devitt; Brian McDonagh, Willie Murphy, Brian Sexton; David Murphy, Michael Nestor; Joe Dowling, Michael McDonagh, Danny Rouine; Brian Conway, Seán McConigley, Lawrence Healy.
Subs: Martin Barry for W Murphy (inj 29 minutes); Seán Cullinan for Dowling (50 minutes); Francie O’Loughlin for Nestor (50 minutes); Michael Houlihan for D Murphy (52 minutes), John McInerney for M O’Loughlin (inj 57 minutes).
Scorers: Brian Conway (0-4), 3 frees; Michael McDonagh (0-2), 1 free; Danny Rouine (0-1).
Frees for: 25; wides: 6.
Bookings: Brian Conway (33 minutes).
“The goal had a big bearing on the game. It was always going to on an evening like this evening given all the rain we have had. It gave them the upperhand for that spell but I felt we competed well and there was nothing between the teams We didn’t get the breaks this evening but I am proud of our team. They are a young squad and are working hard. They know that the year isn’t finished,” Brendan Rouine, Ennistymon manager
Referee: Michael Fitzgerald, Clondegad.