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*Ballyea’s Cathal Doohan. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

BALLYEA’s bid to become back to back Clare SHC champions for the first time in their history took another step in the right direction when overcoming neighbours Clarecastle.

Ballyea 0-21
Clarecastle 1-14
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis

While they were never behind, the winners were hard pressed by their neighbours who will be disappointed with a number of missed opportunities over the course of the game.

Ballyea held a five point advantage at half time when the score was 0-11 to 0-6 after Niall Deasy and Aaron Griffin each had contributed 0-4.

It was a lead the champions just bout deserved although Clarecastle followers felt that they would not have been flattered to have been a little closer to their fellow parishioners at this stage.

Surprisingly Tony Kelly had not got on the scoresheet in the opening half but he came closest to getting a goal when his piledriver was saved by Cian Broderick after eight minutes.

The county star was doubtful all week due to illness which ruled out their captain James Murphy who was replaced by Cathal Doohan who had recovered from the injury which he picked up in the first round

Clarecastle had Cian Galvin in their starting line up in place of Gearoid Ryan. Their followers weren’t happy with some frees awarded by referee Jarlath Donnellan to the winners in the opening half but team manager Brian Russell didn’t offer any complaints about this when he spoke after the game

The Magpies closed the gap to two points inside five minutes of the resumption thanks to points from Patrick Kelly and team captain Bobby Duggan but Ballyea responded with like scores from Niall Deasy and Aaron Griffin.

Cian Galvin returned for Clarecastle.

The champions were still four clear at the three quarter stage and they pushed this out to six with ten minutes remaining.

Clarecastle were given a great boost two minutes later when Bobby Duggan won a delivery from Darragh Healy and promptly dispatched the sliotar to the roof of the net.
Ballyea refused to buckle and points from Thomas Kelly and Aaron Griffin with his sixth of the afternoon left them six clear with five minutes to go.

The Magpies battled to the end and they had the final two scores of the game, both from Bobby Duggan but when the final whistle sounded Ballyea were deserving winners.

Scorers Ballyea: Niall Deasy (0-06 3f), Aaron Griffin (0-6); Tony Kelly (0-3) Thomas Kelly (0-2), Cathal O’Connor, Mossy Gavin, Pearse Lillis, Martin O’Leary (0-1) each

Scorers Clarecastle: Bobby Duggan (1-7, 0-5 frees); Jack Murphy (0-2); Stephen O’Halloran, Darragh Healy (free), Killian McDermott, Patrick Kelly, James Doherty (0-1) each

1: Barry Coote

2: Gearoid O’Connell
3: Peter Casey
4: Paul Flanagan

18: Cathal Doohan
6: Jack Browne
7: Brandon O’Connell

8: Tony Kelly
9: Thomas Kelly

10: Cathal O’Connor
11: Pearse Lillis
12: Morgan Garry

13: Mossy Gavin
14: Niall Deasy
15: Aaron Griffin

19: Martin O’Leary for Garry (48)

1: Cian Broderick

2: Marc McAuliffe
24: Cian Galvin
3: David Tuohy

5: Stephen O’Halloran
6: Darragh Healy
7: Colin Brigdale

8: Killian McDermott
9: Eoghan Wallace

10: Jack Murphy
11: Bobby Duggan
12: Rory O’Connell

13: Conor Halpin
14: Patrick Kelly
15: James Doherty

23: Kevin Hartigan for Halpin (48)
4: Gearoid Ryan for O’Connell (50)
22: Aaron Hayes for Doherty (60)

Referee: Jarlath Donnellan (Wolfe Tones)

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