Holder Crusheen held by Kilmaley

CHAMPIONS Crusheen had to settle for a draw in their opening game of the 2011 Clare senior hurling championship against Kilmaley at Cusack Park, Ennis on Saturday.

Crusheen led by four points (0-9 to 0-5) at the interval but required a last minute free from Paddy Vaughan to claim a share of the spoils, the game finishing 1-13 apiece.

One of the favourites for the title, Sixmilebridge, got their campaign off to a winning start when they had one point to spare over Clarecastle in a close fought battle at Cusack Park on Friday evening.

A Derek Quinn goal before half-time for Clarecastle had the sides level (1-3 to 0-6) at the change of ends.

However, after a tight second-half, with the sides drawing level a couple of times, Niall Gilligan converted a 65 to edge his side to victory (0-15 to 1-11).

Last year’s intermediate championship winners Killanena, in their first senior championship outing, drew with Smith O’Brien’s at Scariff yesterday.

The game ended with the Killaloe based club on 1-7 while Killanena finished up with 0-10.

Another East Clare derby pitted neighbours Tulla against O’Callaghan’s Mills at Ennis yesterday.

Tulla, the 2007 champions claimed the bragging rights with a seven point win.

They led 1-7 to 0-3 at half time with Conor O’Halloran’s speculative shot fumbled by Mills keeper John Cooney and into his own net.

A second-half goal by Alan Duggan with five minutes remaining reduced the deficit somewhat but a strong finish by Tulla ensured the comfortable win on a scoreline of 1-14 to 1-7.

In the opening game at Cusack Park yesterday, Clare’s newest club Inagh/Kilnamona recorded a merited victory over Whitegate.

The combination came out on top by 0-16 to 0-9.

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