Cusack Park, Ennis.
Cusack Park, Ennis.

Clare SFC Final: Eiré Óg impress

Clare SFC Final


By Eoin Brennan at Cusack Park

Éire Óg are the Clare Senior Football champions for the first time in 15 years after dethroning holders Kilmurry Ibrickane in Cusack Park this afternoon.

Mark McInerney’s flicked goal just after the first water break proved the pivotal score of a low-scoring wrestle for supremacy as it helped the Ennis side build up a six point cushion by the 21st minute.

To their credit, the defending champions, who had prevailed in seven of their previous eight deciders since 2008, produced a rousing backlash led by talisman Keelan Sexton whose four unanswered frees lessened the damage to two entering the final ten minutes.

However, despite being their first final in seven seasons, a youthful Éire Óg side refused to panic and got back on track with the last three points, two from county senior hurler David Reidy, to settle matters.

Indeed, the Seanie Bukcley-trained side led from start to finish, with captain Gavin Cooney’s early brace ensuring a 0-3 to 0-2 advantage by the water break. Einne O’Connor’s incisive run on the resumption picked out Mark McInerney to palm to the net in the 17th minute, a score that would inspire Clare duo Conall Ó hAiniféin and Gavin Cooney to extend the gap to six at 1-5 to 0-2.

Having not conceded a goal throughout the championship, Éire Óg’s miserly defence came to the rescue once more before half-time when first goalkeeper Nathan Murray saved from Keelan Sexton while in injury-time, full-back Aaron Fitzgerald acrobatically tipped over a Daniel Walsh goal bound effort at 1-6 to 0-4.

That five point margin still remained by the turn of the final quarter before Keelan Sexton chipped away at the deficit with three successive frees in four minutes to tee up a grandstand finish at 1-8 to 0-9 by the 50th minute.

Éire Óg managed to weather the storm however and amidst a red card for Kilmurry Ibrickane substitute Joe Campbell, the Townies would finally seal victory with three injury-time points to garner the Jack Daly Cup for the 19th time.

Scorers for Éire Óg: Gavin Cooney (0-5, 3f); Mark McInerney (1-0); David Reidy (0-2); Philip Talty, Conall Ó hAiniféin, Aidan McGrath, Eimhin Courtney (0-1 each)

Scorers for Kilmurry Ibrickane: Keelan Sexton (0-5, 4f); Daryn Callinan (f), Michael O’Dwyer, Daniel Walsh, Ciaran Morrissey (0-1 each)

Éire Óg: Nathan Murray; Manus Doherty, Aaron Fitzgerald, Ronan Lanigan; Ciaran Russell, Conall Ó hAiniféin, Einne O’Connor; Darren O’Neill, David McNamara; Niall McMahon, David Reidy, Aidan McGrath; Mark McInerney, Gavin Cooney, Philip Talty.

Subs: Ikem Ugwueru for McMahon (39), Dara Walsh for Talty (48), Tadhg Connellan for McGrath (53), Eimhin Courtney for McInerney (59), Conor O'Halloran for Reidy (64)

Kilmurry Ibrickane: David Sexton; Jason McCarthy, Mark Killeen, Darren Hickey; Enda Coughlan, Ciaran Morrissey, Darragh Sexton; Daniel Walsh, Aidan McCarthy; Keelan Sexton, Michael O’Dwyer, Andrew Shannon; Martin McMahon, Daryn Callinan, Eamonn Bracken.

Subs: Mark McCarthy for Callinan (39), Colin Brigdale for Coughlan (48), Coughlan for Morrissey (51, inj), Joe Campbell for Bracken (57)

Referee: Jim Hickey (Cratloe)