Clare SHC: Ballyea drop two crowns

Clare and Munster champions Ballyea lost their crowns with a 1-16 to 1-12 defeat to Newmarket-on-Fergus at Cusack Park, Ennis on Saturday evening.

In a game that failed to produce a score for the opening 12 minutes, the 2016 All-Ireland club finalists then hit 1-1 without reply thanks to two strikes by half-forward Niall Deasy.

Newmarket trailed until the 28th minute but a fine individual goal from Ronan Good tipped the balance in his side’s favour as they led 1-8 to 1-5 at the break.

In the second period, Ballyea were overly reliant on Deasy for scores as they struggled to overturn a resolute Newmarket.

With two minutes of normal time remaining and trailing by 1-16 to 1-11, the champions were thrown a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty. Tony Kelly blasted a powerful effort but keeper Ronan McCormack dived to his left and shunted the ball out for a ’65, which Deasy converted.

Sixmilebridge are also through to the last four.

They impressively defeated neighbours and rivals Cratloe by 3-18 to 1-14 at Cusack Park. The “Bridge” took an early grip and led 1-5 to 0-1 midway through the opening half with Brian Corry poaching the opening goal. The 2015 champions remained in control and took a 1-9 to 0-5 lead to the dressing-rooms.

Cratloe reduced the deficit to four, early in the second-half but when Alan Mulready struck for a second goal, their title aspirations began to evaporate.

A third Sixmilebridge goal was scored by sub Gavin Whyte with eight minutes remaining. Cathal McInerney did find the “Bridge” net in injury time but it was of little or no consequence.

Clooney-Quin made it through to the semi-finals following a 3-14 to 2-12 triumph over a fancied Éire Óg, in the opening game at Cusack Park on Saturday.

The winners, seeking a first title since 1942, led 1-9 to 1-6 at half-time.

A Ryan Taylor strike from about 40 metres close to the right sideline deceived Éire Óg goalie Kevin Brennan in the 29th minute for the game’s opening goal. But the “Townies” replied moments later with a Niall McMahon goal.

Clooney-Quin struck for a second goal ten minutes after the break through Ronan O’Donnell, following a good hand-pass from veteran Fergal Lynch.

Eimhin Courtney kept the Ennis club in the hunt with a 52nd minute three-pointer, leaving them 2-11 to 2-10 in arrears. But a strong finish by Clooney-Quin, saw them record three Peter Duggan points and another O’Donnell goal, to clinch the tie.

Last year’s beaten finalists Clonlara are through to the penultimate stage of the title-race after they beat Tulla by 1-18 to 1-9 at Cusack Park last evening.

The South-East Clare side held a 1-9 to 1-4 advantage at the interval when a Cormac O’Donovan goal gave them the impetus to secure a five point lead. Mark Lynch fired the opening goal for Tulla, levelling the score at 1-3 to 0-6.

Feakle drop down to Intermediate ranks next year following a 1-21 to 0-11 loss to Clarecastle, in a relegation play-off game at Tulla yesterday.

The “Magpies”, attempting to avoid the drop for the first time in over 80 years, aided by a strong breeze, led by 1-14 to 0-4 at the interval, with Jonathan Clancy rattling the Feakle net.

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