Ballyea caused a shock at Cusack Park on Saturday, defeating 2010 and 2011 champions Crusheen in the Clare SHC quarter-final.
All-Ireland winner Tony Kelly was Ballyea’s inspiration, scoring 0-10 in their 1-20 to 2-14 win over the 2011 Munster finalists.
The winners, who last reached a county final in 2003, led 1-12 to 2-8 at half-time.
Fergus Kennedy scored both Crusheen’s first half goals, while former county hurler Paddy Vaughan put over six frees. Francie O’Reilly goaled for Ballyea, who also had superb displays from centre-back and Clare All-Ireland U21 captain Paul Flanagan and Martin O’Leary, who scored 0-3 from play in the first half.
Ballyea introduced 2006 All Star Tony Griffin early in the second half.
It took extra-time to separate Clonlara and O’Callaghan’s Mills in yesterday’s quarter-final at Cusack Park. Taking his lead from clubmate Domhnall O’Donovan, who scored the equaliser in the drawn All-Ireland hurling final, corner-back Óisín O’Brien equalised for Clonara to force extra-time.
The 2009 champions won 0-26 to 3-14 following a thrilling 80 minutes hurling.
O’Callaghan’s Mills led 1-8 to 0-8 at half time, with Jamie Lynch finding the net. The teams were tied 2-12 to 0-18 after 60 minutes and were still level (0-23 to 3-14) at half-time in extra-time.
In the second game on yesterday’s double bill at Cusack Park, champions Newmarket-on-Fergus defeated Inagh-Kilnamona 3-15 to 0-11. The winners led 1-8 to 0-5 at half-time, with Colin Ryan contributing 1-6 of that total, in an impressive display. Second half goals from Shane O’Brien Senior and Mikey McInerney sealed Newmarket’s place in this evenings semi-final draw.
Meanwhile Sixmilbridge followed last weeks win over Clonara, in their final group game, with a 4- 9 to 0-12 win over Tubber, to complete the senior semi-final line up. The Bridge led 2-4 to 0-5 at half time, thanks to goals from Alan Mulready and Seadna Morey. Second half goals from Jamie Shanahan and Shane Golden helped Sixmilebridge to retain control.
In the IHC, Brendan Buglar’s Whitegate qualified for the final following a 0-17 to 1-13 win over Newmarket. Sixmilebridge will play Feakle in the second semi-final.
In football, Cratloe hammered Cooraclare 4-11 to 0-12 in round two of the SFC. Wing back Oige Murphy scored two goals, while Podge and Seán Collins also netted.
Cratloe, who play Kilrush in Sunday’s quarter-final, led 2-6 to 0-5 at half time.
Wolfe Tones (Shannon) lost their SFC status following an extra time 0-16 to 1-12 loss to St Breckan’s, Lisdoonvarna. The Shannon club will play IFC next year for the first time since 1996.
Elsewhere, Kilmihil captured the U21B football title, while St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield qualified for the U21A football final.