Ballyea got the defence of their Clare and Munster titles off to a winning start at Cusack Park, Ennis yesterday. The All-Ireland club runners-up saw off the challenge of Wolfe Tones na Sionna and came out 1-16 to 0-12 winners in the end, having lead by 0-6 to 0-5 at the break.
The Shannon club put it up to the champions and were never more than a score adrift until the 51st minute, when Ballyea stalwart Tony Kelly struck the game’s only goal. His team-mate Niall Deasy hit the last four points to ensure the title-holders will be in the winners’ group for the next round. Wolfe Tones head to the losers group and will need to add to their scoring power as only Aaron Shanagher (0-8) and Aaron Cunningham (0-4) got on the scoresheet.
Inagh/Kilnamona will join Ballyea in the winners pot as a result of a 2-12 to 2-10 victory over Crusheen at Cusack Park on Saturday. They led 1-6 to 0-6 at the break thanks to an Evan McNamara goal from a line ball. Conor Tierney added a point after the restart and David Fitzgerald’s goal left Inagh/Kilnamona 2-7 to 0-6 ahead after 32 minutes. A goal from a penalty later in the half by Tuohy kept Crusheen in the hunt but even a second goal by Cian Dillon in injury-time couldn’t prevent an Inagh/Kilnamona triumph.
Sixmilebridge laid down a marker for this year’s campaign as they clinically carved out an impressive victory over Clarecastle, also at Ennis on Saturday. It ended 3-25 to 1-11.
The opening quarter was even and Bobby Duggan’s goal for the Magpies left the scores at 1-4 to 0-7. The Bridge upped the ante from then until half-time to lead by 2-13 to 1-6 at the break with goals by Shane Golden and sub Gavin Whyte. Whyte grabbed his second goal close to the final whistle.
Last year’s beaten finalists Clonlara notched up an opening day win as they beat Feakle 2-16 to 0-16 at Tulla on Saturday. Newmarket-on Fergus overcame Clooney/Quin by 1-16 to 1-13 in a tie that saw the Blues trail 1-6 to 0-8 at half-time. Cillian Duggan scored Clooney/Quin’s first-half goal. Colin Ryan goaled for Newmarket in the second half.
Whitegate caused an upset at Tulla on Saturday defeating a fancied Cratloe by a single point, 4-9 to 0-20.
Éire Óg are through to the winners group thanks to a 3-18 to 0-16 win over O’Callaghan’s Mills at Shannon yesterday. Goals by Eimhin Courtney, David Reidy, and Shane O’Donnell were vital. St Joseph’s Doora Barefield also picked up a Round 1 victory, overcoming Tulla 1-22 to 3-13 at Sixmilebridge last evening. Davy Conroy scored the last four points to secure victory.
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