*Ennistymon players celebrate. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

ENNISTYMON are Minor A football champions for the third time in four seasons after powering past the challenge of Cooraclare.

Ennistymon 5-7
Cooraclare 0-8
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis

In the curtain raiser to the senior decider, Ennistymon turned on the heat in the second half outscoring their West Clare opponents 5-2 0-3.

Joint captains Conor Rynne and Sean McMahon accepted the Michael Liddane Memorial Cup with the U17 competition sponsored by Tubridy’s of Doonbeg.

Though they will be disappointed with the outcome, Cooraclare will take solace with the progress made in recent seasons. They were in Division 3 up to three years ago and competed in Division 2 last year while in the top tier, they eliminated a highly fancied Lissycasey outfit.

Matters were even for the opening quarter, two scores off the right boot of Kevin Marrinan nudged Cooraclare in front but Ennistymon stuck their noses in front with Fred Hegarty and Seanie McMahon registering two points each.

Hegarty made it 0-5 0-2 in their favour on seventeen minutes before his goalkeeper Jack Gallagher was called on to save a shot from Rory Lillis with his legs.

Cooraclare’s relenting pressure saw them kick the final three scores of the half, two frees from Simon Culligan and an effort from play via Lillis to see the sides enter the dressing rooms tied at 0-5 apiece.

Seanie McMahon and Conor Rynne lift the Michael Liddane Memorial Cup. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Gallagher made another important save before the interval, Shane O’Connell carried the ball in along the end line before it fell to Darragh Townsend but the county’s minor shot was stopped by the Ennistymon netminder.

Saves were few and far between on the restart as Ennistymon laced up their goal-scoring boots, raiding home for five green flags in the second half.

Michael Cotter was first, his effort from distance managing to cause some deception before bouncing over Harry O’Gorman and into the back of the net.

Shane O’Connell responded with a free at the other end before Seanie McMahon fired a bullet to the roof of the net and this was followed by a major from Fred Hegarty, his set up after Joe Concannon won back possession in their middle third.

Hegarty and O’Connell swapped scores before Cotter collected his second goal which was followed by their fifth goal which was well taken by full forward Gearoid Barry. Defender Joe Casey made a successful venture forward to pick off their final score and help them record an eleven point victory.

Possessing that extra bit of footballing ability, Ennistymon worked the ball with more ease than their opponents and were clinical in possession and in front of the posts. The side managed by John Rouine, James Brody, Joe Joe Rouine and John Conneally took their chances and although were level at the break, were the better side which they demonstrated clearly in the second half.

Ennistymon’s Minor A winning championship panel and management. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Midfield pairing Michael Cotter and Neil Hegarty made their mark on proceedings with Joe Casey, Jeffrey Lin, Conor Rynne, Fred Hegarty and Seanie McMahon impressing. It caps off a successful sporting year for Rynne and Hegarty who also won the Minor A hurling title with Inagh/Kilnamona off the back of their roles with the Clare side crowned Munster and All-Ireland champions this year. The Ennistymon team also included All-Ireland winning boxer Louis Griffin who was effective from corner back.

At underage, progression must be the main priority and it is here that Cooraclare have done well. Cooraclare were Division 3 three years ago and Division 2 last year at this grade so to have reached the A final and eliminated a highly fancied Lissycasey en route gives reason to be optimistic for the Milesians.

Scorers Ennistymon: M Cotter (2-0), F Hegarty (1-4 1f), S McMahon (1-2), G Barry (1-0), J Casey (0-1).

Scorers Cooraclare: S O’Connell (0-3 2f), K Marrinan (0-2), S Culligan (0-2 2f), R Lillis (0-1).

Ennistymon:
1: Jack Gallagher

28: Louis Griffin
6: Conor Rynne
4: Cian McMahon

7: Jeffrey Lin
3: Joe Casey
5: Alex Leyden

8: Michael Cotter
9: Neil Hegarty

10: Joe Concannon
11: Fred Hegarty
12: Jack Cullinan

13: Daniel Brody
14: Gearoid Barry
15: Seanie McMahon

Subs:
21: Jody McMahon for C McMahon (53)
17: Keelan Hogan for Leyden (53)
18: Michael Conneally for Griffin (57)
19: Ultan McDonagh for Brody (58)

Cooraclare:
1: Harry O’Gorman

5: Aidan Considine
6: Aaron Townsend
4: Steven Fennell

2: Cian Corry
28: Gabriel Fennell
7: Enda Mullins

3: Sean O’Dea
12: Kevin Marrinan

25: Eoin Murphy
11: Rory Lillis
19: Sean Morrissey

13: Simon Culligan
14: Shane O’Connell
10: Darragh Townsend

Subs:
26: Joe McMahon for Morrissey (HT)
17: Evan Maher for Lillis (55)
18: Colin Gavin for Corry (60)
15: Caimin Woods for Culligan (60)

Referee: Barry Kelly (St Joseph’s Miltown)

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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