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Battle-hardened Bridge claim final spot at Inamona’s expense

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*Caimin Morey under pressure from Clarecastle’s Jonathan Clancy. Photograph: Chris Copley

Sixmilebridge outscored Inagh/Kilnamona nine points to two in the final quarter to secure their place in the final of the Clare SHC.

Sixmilebridge 0-18
Inagh/Kilnamona 0-15
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis

It wasn’t until the fifty second minute that Sixmilebridge took the lead for the first time but once they got their noses in front, they were never going to relent.

With a county final appearance to come in two weeks time, it means The Bridge will have contested every senior decider this decade in a year ending in an odd number. Inagh/Kilnamona who have yet to appear in a championship final will be ruing their return of fifteen points.

Although their eight wides was less than Sixmilebridge’s nine, it was Inagh/Kilnamona’s first half showing in which they were in control but only led by one point at the interval that played a significant part in their undoing.

During the opening half, the Combo did have a Niall Arthur goal disallowed. His green flag on the twenty fourth minute was deemed to be a square ball by referee Jarlath Donnellan, it would have put them four points in front and been an invaluable platform at half-time.

Inagh/Kilnamona supporters were disgruntled with the decision and the fact they received just one free in the second half in comparison to Sixmilebridge’s ten but can thank Donnellan for not giving Arthur a red card following on from the ‘square ball’.

Three points in succession from the beaten Clare Cup finalists via Aidan McCarthy and an Evan McNamara double seemed to suggest it may in fact be their day, an excellent long range effort from David Fitzgerald at the beginning of the half would have strengthened such a hypothesis.

However McNamara’s second score would be the one to get Sixmilebridge going. Straight from Derek Fahy’s puckout, Jamie Shanahan raised a white flag with scores from Alex Morey, Shane Golden and Caimin Morey following. The final quarter saw The Combo outscored nine points to two.

Sixty minutes separate the Tim Crowe managed and Davy Fitzgerald coached Sixmilebridge from a fourteenth Clare SHC title. This game, like the quarter-final saw them play nowhere near their potential but crucially they got over the line. In what was a strong team performance, Jamie Shanahan and Caimin Morey were most influential for the winners.

Not alone were Inagh/Kilnamona guilty of not showing their first-half dominance on the scoreboard but they failed to make the most of the supply of ball into their forward line. They definitely could have tested Sixmilebridge’s defence more and bar a Derek Fahy save from David Mescall on fourteen minutes, they didn’t have a meaningful goal chance. It will take time for Fergal Hegarty’s charges to get over this defeat but on inspection they will realise one of the big differences between the winners and losers in this tie was the grit and self-belief. Keith White, Kevin Hehir, David Fitzgerald were to the fore for Inamona with Aidan McCarthy causing problems until Seadna Morey was assigned to the county panellist.

Scorers Sixmilebridge: A Morey (0-09 7f 1’65), J Shanahan (0-04), J Loughnane (0-01), B Corry (0-01), E McInerney (0-01), C Morey (0-01), S Golden (0-01).

Scorers Inagh/Kilnamona: N Arthur (0-04 2f), D Fitzgerald (0-03), A McCarthy (0-03), G Arthur (0-02), E McNamara (0-02), K Hehir (0-01 1f).

Sixmilebridge: Derek Fahy; Brian Carey, Barry Fitzpatrick, Noel Purcell; Pa Mulready, Caimin Morey, Seadna Morey; Shane Golden, Evan McInerney; Jason Loughnane, Jamie Shanahan, Conor Deasy; Cathal Malone, Alex Morey, Brian Corry

Subs: Alan Mulready for Deasy (41), Paidí Fitzpatrick for McInerney (48), Niall Gilligan for Loughnane (52)

Inagh/Kilnamona: Pa Kelly; Damien Lafferty, Sean Mahony, Keith White; Cian McInerney, Kevin Hehir, David Fitzgerald; Jason McCarthy, Conor Tierney; Evan McNamara, Gerry Arthur, Aidan McCarthy; Niall Arthur, David Mescall, James O’Halloran

Subs:Tomás Kelly for Tierney (33), Gerry Coote for Mescall (53), Keelan Guyler for O’Halloran (58), Darren Cullinan for G Arthur (61), Brian Foudy for White (62) (Inj).

Referee: Jarlath Donnellan (Wolfe Tones na Sionnna)

Newmarket-on-Fergus native, Páraic McMahon is a freelance journalist and broadcaster currently working for numerous national and local publications including The Clare Echo, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RTÉ, TheJournal.ie, The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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