*Gary Brennan. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Clondegad retained their place in the senior ranks while relegating roll of honour leaders Kilrush Shamrocks.
Kilrush Shamrocks 0-07
By Derek Dormer
In the end, Clondegad eased to victory but it was after a hard fought battle especially in the early stages. Clondegad who were mightily impressive in their win over Cooraclare failed to reach those heights early on as Kilrush playing into a strong wind started much brighter and in fact led 0-02 0-01 at the first water break.
The entire first half can best be described as a stop start affair. The game had no real flow to it and referee Chris Maguire was kept busy blowing for a huge free tally of 29 such was the constant pulling and dragging with neither side wanting to give an inch considering their survival was on the line.
Clondegad would lead at the interval0-06 0-03 but Kilrush can be thankful to Tomas Moloney for producing a tremendous save. Gary Brennan who was superb all day burst through the middle evading tackles before unleashing a pile driver destined to rattle the net only to see Moloney get a palm to it in heroic fashion.
Starting the third quarter Kilrush would have been feeling quietly confident, trailing only by three and with the elements at their back a shock was on the cards. However Gary Brennan led his troops with terrific game management, slowing the game down when necessary, winning vital frees and converting them. Heading into the water break, Clondegad were leading 0-08 0-04 but in a thirty second spell this game was ended as a contest in an emphatic manner.
Firstly Brennan released Barry Toner and the Kilrush defence seemed to just open up. Toner kept going with nobody coming to meet him and he duly buried the ball past Moloney giving him no chance. Maguire blew for the water break and a demoralised Kilrush were to be hit with another blow on the resumption.
Brennan fielding the kick out and five swift hand passes later substitute Eoin Glynn who had just came on tapped to the net soccer style with his very first touch. Game set and match Clondegad as they would say in tennis terms.
The game petered out from here to its inevitable conclusion as the more experienced battle hardened Clondegad saw the game out comfortably for a finish. Best for the winners were as usual powerhouse Gary Brennan, Barry Toner who kicked 1-2 from play and Shane Brennan while Liam Madigan and Stephen Ryan contributed best for Kilrush .
1: Darren Cleary
2: Brian Murphy
3: Brian Casey
4: Conor Gavin
5: Cormac Reidy
6: James Murphy
7: Cillian Brennan
8: Brandon O’Connell
9: Gary Brennan
10: Niall Lynch
11: Sean O Leary
12: Morgan Garry
13: Podge McMahon
14: Barry Toner
15: Shane Brennan
17: Eoin Glynn for Niall Lynch (45mins)
18: Daniel Kelly for Podge McMahon (57mins)
21: Mark Crowe for Morgan Garry (60mins)
1: Tomas Moloney
2: Niall Brennan
3: Billy Clancy
4: Sean Purtill
5: Dean Neary
6: Cathal McMahon
7: Ray Glynn
8: Cathal Carrig
9: Mark Shannon
10: Ross Phelan
11: Gearoid O’Brien
12: Jim Young
13: Liam Madigan
14: Stephen Ryan
15: Matthew Moloney
17: Keith Crowley for Dean Neary(24mins)
18: Ewan Kelly for Jim Young (46 mins)
21: Jamie Griffin for Niall Brennan (52mins)
Referee: Chris Maguire (Wolfe Tones)