St Flannan’s strolled through a static Mounthawk defence to score goals in the seventh, ninth and 10th minutes from Gearóid Cahill, Sean Kennedy and Eoghan Thynne as they raced 3-3 to 0-3 in front. From then onwards Mounthawk outscored the winners 2-9 to 1-6 - a fact not lost on St Flannan’s manager and former Clare senior footballer, Darragh Kelly.
“We enjoyed an excellent first-half but really Mercy Mounthawk did not start well at all. We really walked in for four goals in the opening spell and I am sure when they look back on it, they will be very disappointed in the goals they conceded.
“But, the other side of that, is we were eight points up at half-time, and once we missed the goal chance at the start of the second-half we sat back, when we really should have been pushing on. “
To their credit Mounthawk hit back with 1-2 without reply after suffering that early goal blitz, with Bobby Regan getting the goal. Then another soft goal conceded by the Tralee side when they allowed Cahill to run straight through the middle and St Flannan’s looked home and hosed at half time leading 4-7 to 1-8.
Kelly was disappointed with St Flannan’s second-half display that could have cost them victory. “We only scored two points from frees and it will not be good enough to progress in the competition.”
Kelly added St Flannan’s have not been scoring goals so far in the Corn UI Mhuiri “We are not normally noted for scoring goals we had only scored two before today but I think Mounthawk will be very disappointed when they look back at the four goals they conceded. While it gave us a great cushion and it was the reason we won, you have to give them credit for the way they fought back in the second-half and made a real battle out of it. We will have improve massively to beat St Brendan’s, but we were there last year and we be going into that game with no fear.”
Mercy Mounthawk showed tremendous battling qualities in the second-half as they penned St Flannan’s back in their own half with Shane Walsh, Donagh McMahon, Fergal Barry and Ciaran O’Reilly driving them on, and some excellent free taking by Dara Devine and a goal from a penalty by Bobby Regan saw Mounthawk close the gap to just two points with as many minutes left.
It would have been much closer only for a couple of missed goal chances by the Tralee side, one in particular in the 33rd minute when a Clare defender took a Michael Walsh shot that had beaten the keeper off the line and four very costly wides in the final 10 minutes, when the game was in the melting pot.
St Flannan’s will now face Corn Ui Mhuiri and Hogan Cup holders St Brendan’s, Killarney in the semi-final on Saturday February 4 and for Mercy Mounthawk, it is very much a case of what have been.
G Cahill (2-1), D Duggan (0-6, 5 frees), E Thynne (1-1), S Kennedy (1-0), G Cooney (0-1).
B Regan (2-3, 1-0 pen, 2 frees), D Devine (0-6 frees), R O’Connor (0-2), E McElligott (0-1).
T O’Brien; M Collins, P Casey, D O’Shea; I Ugwueru, R Hayes, T Hannan; C Donnelly, C Mc Neilis; S Kennedy, G Cahill, E Thynne; G Cooney, D Duggan, C Brannock.
D Mescall for M Collins (20), I Molloy for S Kennedy (h/t), P Talty for C Brannock (40)
B O’Regan; P O’Mahoney, S Walsh, D McMahon; F Barry, S Collins, C Carmody; C O’Reilly, M Linnane; R O’Connor, B O’Regan, S Griffin; M Walsh, D Devine, E McElligott.
R Murphy for S Griffin (47), M O’Gara for E McElligott (47), F Ennis for M Walsh (55).
R Moloney (Limerick).