Champions St Joseph’s are 60 minutes away from retaining their title after a semi-final victory over Doonbeg at Cusack Park on Saturday.
The Miltown Malbay club enjoyed an eight-point lead (0-13 to 0-5) at the break but had to withstand a spirited challenge in the second period from the ‘Magpies’, before eventually getting over the line by four.
Eoin Cleary, Darragh McDonagh and the impressive Cormac Murray were in scintillating form in attack for the winners, kicking points at will. But Doonbeg regrouped at the interval and returned to kick the first four points of the second half.
Miltown didn’t register a second-half score until the 43rd minute, when Murray pointed from a free. St. Joseph’s Micháel Murray and Doonbeg’s Paraic Ahearne were both dismissed for second yellow card offences and the game hung in the balance until the 57th minute when Cormac Murray’s low shot off his left foot hit the Doonbeg net.
Doonbeg did manage a goal in injury-time through Eoghan Tubridy but it wasn’t enough to dethrone the champions.
Manager David O’Brien saidafter the game: “We played some lovely football in the first half and probably left a few scores — definitely goal chances — out there.
“We are in the county final now and that what we hoped for at the start of the year.”
Scorers for St. Joseph’s: E Cleary (0-6, 4 frees, 1 45); C Murray (1-4, 1 f); D McDonagh (0-3); K Malone (0-2); C Cleary (0-1).
Scorers for Doonbeg: D Tubridy (0-7, 5 frees); E Tubridy (1-1), S Ryan (0-2), P Dillon and E Doyle (0-1 each).
ST. JOSEPH’S: S O’Brien, E O’Gorman, S Malone, E O’Brien, G Curtin, Gordon Kelly (Capt.), A McGuane, O Looney, C Cleary, E Cleary, B Curtin, K Malone, M Murray, D McDonagh, C Murray.
Subs: Graham Kelly for Looney (42), C Hehir for G Curtin (58), J O’Connor for B Curtin (58), E Curtin for C Murray (58), G Malone for K Malone (70).
DOONBEG: E Tubridy, J Blake, K Pender, S Conway, P Ahearne (Capt.), E Conway, C O’Mahoney, K McInerney, D Tubridy, B Egan, P Dillon, M Tubridy, E Tubridy, C Dillon, E Doyle.
Subs: R Goode for McInerney (h/t), S Ryan for P Dillon (39), E Barrett for Doyle (53), N Capon for Egan (56).
Referee: Wayne King (St. Joseph’s Doora Barefield)
Kilmurry Ibrickane will have the opportunity to add to their 12 Clare SFC titles after a two-point win over Cratloe at Cusack Park.
The losers will have to regroup quickly from this disappointment, with most of the starting line-up in action at the same venue next Sunday in the senior hurling final against Sixmilebridge.
Cratloe began impressively, taking an early lead with two pointed frees by Cathal McInerne.
But once Michael Hogan got Kilmurry off the mark in the fourth minute, his side began to wrestle the upper hand.
Inside forward Keelan Sexton became a handful for the Cratloe defence and but for outstanding defensive work by Michael Hawes in the 23rd minute, Sexton was in for a certain goal.
In that opening half, Cratloe relied heavily on frees by McInerney. But a pair of points from play, late in the half, by inter-county hurlers Podge Collins and Diarmuid Ryan, allowed them to go in level on six points apiece.
Kilmurry resumed in bullish form and recorded two points within a minute of the restart.
They opened up a three-point lead through substitute Eamon Bracken before Cratloe were awarded a penalty on 38 with McInerney making no mistake from the spot.
Rian Considine quickly added a point but it was to be their last score. Kilmurry dug deep with four on the trot from Sexton.
Cratloe finished with 13, Conor Cooney seeing red in the 52nd minute and Sean Collins following him to the line in additional-time.
Scorers for Kilmurry Ibrickane: K Sexton (0-7, 0-2 f); D Walsh (0-2), M Hogan, I McInerney (0-1 f), C Morrissey, E Bracken (0-1 each).
Scorers for Cratloe: C McInerney (1-4, 0-4 f, 1-0 pen); R Considine, P Collins, D Ryan, C McGrath (0-1 each).
KILMURRY IBRICKANE: I McInerney, M Killeen, D Hickey, D Walsh, C Morrissey, M McMahon, D Sexton, E Coughlan, K King (Capt.), A McCarthy, M Hogan, S Hickey, D Coughlan, S Moloney, K Sexton.
Subs: E Bracken for Moloney (35), N Hickey for E Coughlan (40), D Callinan for Hogan (56).
CRATLOE: P DeLoughrey, S O’Gorman, L Markham (Capt.), S Chaplin, O Murphy, S Collins, D Collins, C O’Hanlon, D Ryan, S Gleeson, P Collins, M Hawes, R Considine, C McInerney, C McGrath.
Subs: C Cooney for O’Gorman (43), K Phair for Considine (56).
Referee: P Cosgrove (Corofin).