*Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Reigning Under 14A champions Sixmilebridge sent out a warning sign to any potential usurpers of the newly revamped Under 15A Hurling Championship following an opening 8-17 to 0-11 victory over Clarecastle on away soil.
Full-forward Eamonn Breen proved in unstoppable form with a remarkable five goal tally while Finn Murphy (2-3), Cillian Murphy (0-6) Callum Phelan 0-4), Niall Liddane (1-0), Ben O’Connell (0-2) and Michael Morey (0-2) were others to star in the scoring stakes on Monday.
Clarecastle, who were crowned Under 14B winners last September, couldn’t have asked for a tougher start to life back in the top flight but did have Paul O’Connell to thank for firing eight of their 11 points.
Beaten 2020 Under 14A finalists [after extra-time] Inagh-Kilnamona also demonstrated their progression with a 4-13 to 1-15 win over Clonlara in Inagh. In a contest that was firmly in the balance throughout, it had to take four timely goals to finally overcome a resilient Clonlara. James Hegarty, who top-scored with 1-7, raided for the only first half goal to edge the hosts 1-6 to 0-8 in front by the recess before second half majors through Gearoid Barry (1-1), Jack Mescall (1-1) and Fred Hegarty (1-3) eventually sealed the opening points.
A much-anticipated derby clash between last year’s Under 14A Semi-Finalists St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield and Éire Óg surprisingly turned out to be a one-sided affair as the Parish romped to a 6-17 to 1-09 triumph. A first half goal blitz through Mark O’Connor (2), Niall Talty and Shane Mescall ensured that the result was beyond doubt by the interval at 4-10 to 1-04. The Townies were best served by key forward Conor Perrill (1-3) and Roan Hickey (0-4) but simply couldn’t match a persistence Parish side that would flesh out the final margin with late goals through substitutes Micheal Ó Coileáin and Robbie Finn.
In a combined Under 15B and C Championship group stage that houses a whopping 18 teams in two groups, there were significant wins for last year’s Under 14B finalists Kilmaley (4-19 to 3-13 over Tulla), an Eoin Kennedy inspired Ballyea (2-28 to 1-11 v Broadford) and Clooney-Quin (1-34 to 0-06 against Corofin/Ruan) in Group 1.
Michael Power’s impressive 2-7 aided Newmarket-on-Fergus’ opening 2-12 to 1-11 success over O’Calaghan’s Mills/Bodyke while Daire Neville was to the fore for Cratloe in an equally tight 1-18 to 3-08 win over Under 14C winners Feakle/Killanena.
In Group 2, Ben Sweeney’s scoring heroics (1-8) were integral to Scariff-Ogonnelloe’s revenge mission against Ennistymon to shade matters by the minimum at 2-13 to 3-09. A four goal thriller in Shannon eventually went the home side’s way as Wolfe Tones held off Crusheen/Tubber by 2-14 to 2-11.
An early Callum Henchy goal guided the Banner on the path to a 1-16 to 1-08 win over Parteen while a late major proved decisive to Whitegate to see off East Clare neighbours Smith O’Brien’s by 1-13 to 0-07.