*Rowan Danaher impressed. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

St Breckan’s have sealed their place in the last eight of the Clare SFC.

St Breckan’s 3-07
St Joseph’s Miltown 0-09
Venue: Ennistymon

Having failed to score a goal in their opening outings of this year’s championship, St Breckan’s struck for three in the second half and demonstrated the value of green flags.

Jamie Stack, Rowan Danaher and Alan Sweeney all raided for goals as the men from the Spa ensured they would qualify for the knockout stages for the third year in a row.

With their backs to the wall knowing a loss would result in a relegation battle, Miltown kept out fighting and deservedly led at half-time.

Alan Sweeney celebrates scoring a goal for St Breckan’s. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

Crucially they would struggle to encroach on their opponents goal in the second half with a return of 0-04 and the concession of three goals in this period detrimental.

Although they weren’t at their best, the men from the Spa will be buoyant with the result and will have to hope an improvement follows the subsequent lift it will bring.

Danaher and Sweeney worked tirelessly over the hour so the fact they both scored the insurance goals was fitting. Danaher had a high turnover rate while Sweeney was their main man when it came to breaking the lines.

Jamie Stack is fouled by Eoin O’Brien. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

Dale Masterson operating in a defensive role plus Jack Sheedy in patches were prominent for the winners who were fortunate that Aiden Davidson provided a spark of electricity on his introduction.

Miltown coughed up frees (21 over the hour) which Jamie Stack punished more often than not. It’s the second game in succession that they finished with fourteen men, Eoin O’Brien retiring early and like Seanie Malone the last day he received his marching orders in the dying moments.

Points from Eoin Cleary and Darragh McDonagh gave Miltown a steady start. In a twenty second spell, Breckan’s were level as Jamie Stack converted a free, the resulting kickout ended up with Joe McGann sending the umpires for a white flag.

Conor Cleary and another mark, this time from Micheál Murray followed by a Cian Mahony score had Miltown ahead by three points before Padraig Kelly closed out the scoring in the half to leave it 0-05 0-03 at half-time.

Jamie Stack swapped scores with both Kieran Malone before Stack turned the tie in his side’s favour when dispatching a penalty past Sean O’Brien, Seanie Malone’s late challenge on Aiden Davidson prompted John O’Connell to award the spot kick on forty minutes.

Eoin Cleary and another fine Kieran Malone point formed the response of Martin Flynn’s side but St Breckan’s bit back with 1-03 without reply to sew up the result. They secured the insurance score with the last kick of the game when Alan Sweeney struck for goal after exploiting a gap in the opposing defence.

Joe McGann with Miltown’s Cian Mahony. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

A relegation battle awaits St Joseph’s Miltown. Of concern will be their discipline and how they’ve picked up red cards when the result has been decided but in need of bigger attention is how they’ve conceded three second half goals in their last two encounters. Prior to the green flags against Éire Óg and St Breckan’s, they were putting up a strong challenge but the absence of experienced players like Gordon Kelly, Enda O’Gorman and Cormac Murray is something they seem unable to adapt to.

At the start of the campaign the objective for Donie Garrihy’s men was to qualify for the knockout stages, they’ve ticked that box but must display an improvement if they’re to back up their credentials as championship contenders. They struggled in the opening half to create scoring opportunities and while they can have a big say in where Jack Daly resides for the winter, without a sufficient improvement the quarter-finals could likely be their last game of the year.

Scorers St Breckan’s: J Stack (1-04 4f 1’Pen), R Danaher (1-00), A Sweeney (1-00), J McGann (0-01), P Kelly (0-01 1f), A Davidson (0-01).

Scores St Joseph’s Miltown: C Cleary (0-02), K Malone (0-02), E Cleary (0-01 1f), D McDonagh (0-01 1M), M Murray (0-01 1M), C Mahony (0-01).

St Breckans’s:
1: Tristan O’Callaghan

21: Conor Burke
11: Dale Masterson
4: Cian Burke

2: Patrick Doherty
6: Alan Sweeney
12: Jack Sheedy

8: Michael Flanagan
7: Maccon Byrne

5: Colm O’Brien
9: Padraig Kelly
17: Rowan Danaher

10: Denis O’Callaghan
14: Joe McGann
13: Jamie Stack

15: Aiden Davidson for D O’Callaghan (36)
19: Eoin Guerin for Conor Burke (52)
22: Ciaran Flanagan for Guerin (58) (inj)

St Joseph’s Miltown:
1: Sean O’Brien

5: Euan Reidy
3: Seanie Malone
4: Eoin O’Brien

13: Brian Curtin

2: Aidan McGuane
21: Oisin Looney
7: Gearoid Curtin

6: Micheál Murray
8: Conor Cleary

10: Sean Neylon
14: Kieran Malone
12: Cian Mahony

11: Eoin Cleary
17: Darragh McDonagh

24: Euan Lineen for Neylon (56)
27: Sean McMahon for Mahony (60)

Referee: John O’Connell (Cooraclare)

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