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*Gearoid O’Grady tears away from Keith Crowley. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Kilmihil’s recent dominance over Kilrush in adult football was taken a step further at Cooraclare this Saturday afternoon when the teams clashed in the opening round of the 2021 Clare senior football championship.

Kilmihil 1-13
Kilrush Shamrocks 0-10
Venue: Cooraclare

Despite being guilty of some poor shooting in the opening quarter the winners took control after the first water break and they had opened a four point lead by half time. They continued to hold the upperhand in the second half and when the final whistle sounded they were deserving six point winners.

Kilrush weren’t helped by the fact that they played the last twenty minutes with fourteen men after centre forward Liam Madigan was shown a straight red card following an altercation with David Coughlan who picked up a yellow card.

That said, Kilmihil were deserving winners on a day when they were an all round better balanced outfit which showed the greater hunger for victory.

In addition they had some outstanding individual performances from such as team captain Dan Keating, full back Stan Lineen, Martin O’Leary who kicked five points before being replaced in the closing stages and Ciaran Downes who excelled and finished the game with a personal tally of 1-7, the goal coming from the penalty spot following a foul on Martin O’Leary shortly before half time. The foul led to a black card from Gearoid O’Brien.

Kilrush raced into a three point lead through Ross Phelan, Jamie Griffin and Stephen Ryan in a tie that was sixteen minutes old before Ciaran Downes opened the winners account when he converted from a 30m free. Kilmihil had kicked four wides before that score.

The sides were level at 0-4 each ten minutes from the half time whistle before \O’Leary gave Kilmihil a lead they would hold to the finish when he landed his second point.

Midway through the first half the winners made some positional switches which proved crucial and which included the move of Ciaran Downes to the full forward line and David Ryan out to midfield.

Five players were involved in the move which ended with the foul on O’Leary and Downes expertly put away the spot kick helping Kilmihil to a 1-7 to 0-6 half time lead.

Kilrush had the opening point of the second half but Kilmihil hit back with six in a row ans they led 1-13 to 0-7 at the three quarter stage.

They will be concerned at the fact that they failed to score in the final quarter on a day when the pace of Gearoid O’Grady, in particular and Sean Crowley caused huge problems for Kilrush.

Ross Phelan, Stephen Ryan and Matthew Moloney worked hard throughout for a disappointing Kilrush.

Scorers; Kilmihil; Ciaran Downes (1-7, 1-0 penalty, 0-3 frees); Martin O’Leary (0-5, 1 free); Sean Crowley (0-1)

Scorers Kilrush; Stephen Ryan (0-3, 1 free) Gearoid O’Brien(2 frees) Liam Madigan(1 free) 0-2 each. Ross Phelan, Mark Shannon, Jamie Griffin (0-1) each;;

1: Damian Lineen

2: Shane Downes
3: Stan Lineen
4: Gary McMahon

5: Gavin Downes
6: Dan Keating
7: John Finnucane

8: Ciaran Downes
9: Conor Finnucane

10: Cathal Murray
11: Sean Crowley,
12: Gearoid O’Grady

13: Martin O’Leary
14: David Ryan
15: David Coughlan

24: Niall Reidy for O’Leary (50)
32: Brian Egan for Murray (51)
10: Cathal Murray for J. Finnucane (55)

Kilrush Shamrocks:
1: Tomás Moloney

2: Sean Purtill
3: Calum Bond
4: Dean Neary

5: Billy Clancy
6: Gearoid O’Brien
7: Ross Phelan

8: Ray Glynn
9: Mark Shannon

10: Cathal Carigg
11: Liam Madigan
12: Niall Brennan

13: Stephen Ryan
14: Matthew Moloney
15: Jamie Griffin;

17: Keith Crowley for Bond (20) (inj)
26: Conor Bolton for Carigg (42)

Referee: Wayne King (St Josephs Doora/Barefield)

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