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*Joseph McGann. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

St Breckans have marked their return to the top tier of the Clare SFC overcoming Cooraclare in a very entertaining contest on Sunday evening.

St Breckans 2-08
Cooraclare 2-06
Venue: Hennessy Memorial Park, Miltown Malbay

Scores were hard earned in the first quarter with St Breckans notching three, Cooraclare meanwhile returned one score from two shots on goal. Nice link up play from Joseph McGann and Dale Masteron saw St Breckans take the lead with six minutes played, a Killian Roche had the sides level three minutes later but Colm O’Brien and debutant Jamie Stack put the North Clare side 0-03 0-01 in front at the water break.

As the half wore on, the tension between the sides increased. This comes as little surprise given the rivalry between the clubs at underage level plus the fact that it represented their third first round meeting in four years,

Ciaran O’Donoghue scored Cooraclare’s first point from play on twenty five minutes and it coincided as being the final score of the half. Prior to this Aiden Davidson and Killian Roche traded efforts to leave just one point between the teams at the interval.

When it comes to starting off a half, there’s little better a team can do than to put the ball in the back of the net. It’s exactly how Cooraclare began their second half with Ciarán O’Donoghue getting his hand to the ball to push it past Tristan O’Callaghan following a Shane Lillis pass.

St Breckans raided for a goal of their own on forty one minutes. Pearse Lillis was turned over on the attack with Alan Sweeney, Padraig Kelly and Colm O’Brien all combining to find Joseph McGann in plenty space, the danger man showed exactly why he shouldn’t be given such room as his powerfully accelerated before unleashing an equally as strong shot past Killian Roche to put Donie Garrihy’s men back in front.

Two Colm O’Brien frees had them leading with a three point advantage but that all changed. A Killian Roche free hit the post and as the ball was dropped in the danger area and in the subsequent entangle, referee Barry Keating awarded a penalty. Up stepped Jack Morrissey to take the spot kick and he fired it past Tristan O’Callaghan to level matters once again. O’Brien and Pearse Lillis both added frees with Lillis scoring straight from a kickout.

However a 1-01 brace in two minutes saw St Breckans take control at a vital period as Cooraclare found themselves down to 14 men with Micheál Garry picking up a second yellow card.

Jack Sheedy struck for goal but his green flag was disallowed due to Keating pulling Joseph McGann for an improper hand pass. Bizarrely as a quick free was taken, Sheedy on his way back to defence was hit with the ball in the head and it rebounded back into his direction, Cooraclare goalkeeper Killian Roche had made a run as an option for a free leaving Sheedy with a free goal as he tapped the ball home to see St Breckans record an impressive three point win.

For the winners, Colm O’Brien, Joseph McGann, Alan Sweeney and Padraig Kelly. Their attacking style mixed with ferocious pace will make them a match for any team in the knockout stages of the Clare SFC.

Understandably, Cooraclare will be disappointed with the outcome but they can take some positives. David Russell’s side blooded a very promising player in the guise of Micheál Garry, although he will have been disappointed to have been dismissed, he was one of their top performers alongside Declan McMahon, Killian Roche and Jack Morrissey.

Scorers St Breckans: Colm O’Brien (0-4, 4f), Joe McGann and Jack Sheedy (1-0 each), Aidan Davidson (0-2), Dale Masterson, Jamie Stack (0-1 each).

Scorers Cooraclare: Ciaran O’Donoghue (1-1), Jack Morrissey (1-0, 1-0 pen), Pearse Lillis (0-3, 2f), Killian Roche (0-2, 2f).

St Breckans:
1: Tristan O’Callaghan

17: Raphael Considine
4: Cian Burke
2: Conor Burke

7: Rowan Danaher
5: Alan Sweeney
6: Jack Sheedy

8: Liam Tierney
10: Dale Masterson

9: Maccon Byrne
11: Padraig Kelly
12: Colm O’Brien

13: Jamie Stack
14: Joseph McGann
15: Aiden Davidson

3: Evan Barrett for Conor Burke (57)

1: Killian Roche

4: Declan McMahon
3: Niall Kelly
2: Fergal Donnellan

8: Micheál Garry
9: Colin McNamara
5: Ronan Donnellan

18: Tadhg Lillis
6: Pearse Lillis

12: Padraic O’Donoghue
11: Ciaran O’Donoghue
13: Tom Downes

23: Shane Lillis
14: Jack Morrissey
19: Joe Downes

22: Jason Lillis for J Downes (55)
10: Cillian Burke for P O’Donoghue (57)

Referee: Barry Keating (Lissycasey)

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