*Pa Mulready gets away from Michael Moloney. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Reigning Clare senior hurling champions Sixmilebridge eeked out a one point win over Eire Og in a hard fought contest where the result was in doubt throughout.
Éire Óg 1-13
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis
When Éire Óg reflect on this tie they will agree that they should have had a greater lead at the interval when the score was 1-9 to 0-8 after they had played with the aid of the wind.
They will also agree that they had a huge dependency on Danny Russell for scores and the skilful corner forward finished with all but a point of his side’s tally, 0-8 of which came from placed balls.
That said, credit must be given to the defending champions for the manner in which they refused to panic when they were under pressure. Alex Morey was their top scorer with 0-10 of their tally five in each half and all coming from frees
Éire Óg started impressively and led by three points after five minutes, all three coming from play, two from Danny Russell and the other from David McNamara.
By the time the first water break came Sixmilebridge were back to within a point of their opponents, 0-4 to 0-5 and when play resumed after the break they drew level with a Jamie Shanahan point..
Matt Shannon’s Éire Óg were a point in front when they struck for the game’s only goal which came four minutes from the end of the opening half hour.
A long range free from David Reidy was added to by Danny Russell and the net rattled. It pushed the town side four clear and this was the position at half time when the score was 1-9 to 0-8.
The champions made the better start to the second half and by the eleventh minute they had drawn level having added 0-5 to their half time tally while Éire Óg had managed just one.
The winners took the lead for the first time in the fifteenth minute when Jamie Shanahan hit the target but Russell quickly levelled for the townies and this was the position when the second water break came.
When play resumed Russell put the Ennis side back in front but three in a row followed for the Bridge through Alex Morey (2) and substitute Alan Mulready. Éire Óg piled on the pressure in the closing minutes but all they could manage was a Danny Russell point from a 20m free.
Overall the greater experience of the champions played a key part in the victory on a day when they finished with fourteen men as Shane Golden picked up a second yellow card deep in injury time.
Their defence worked hard throughout while elsewhere Alex Morey’s contribution from frees played a big part in the win. Brian Corry and Paudie Fitzpatrick got through a lot of work over the hour.
Liam Corry, Ciaran Russell, Aaron Fitzgerald, Darren O’Brien, David Reidy and Shane O’Donnell gave most support to Danny Russell.
Scorers Sixmilebridge: Alex Morey (0-10, all frees); Brian Corry, Jamie Shanahan (0-2) each; Jason Loughnane, Cathal Malone, Alan Mulready (0-1) each
Scorers Éire Óg: Danny Russell (1-12, 0-8 frees); Davy McNamara (0-1);
1: Derek Fahy
2: Brian Carey
3: Barry Fitzpatrick
4: Noel Purcell
5: Seadna Morey
6: Caimin Morey
7: Pa Mulready
8: Shane Golden
21: Páidí Fitzpatrick
10: Cathal Malone
11: Jamie Shanahan
12: Jason Loughnane
13: Brian Corry
14: Alex Morey
17: Conor Deasy
15: Alan Mulready for Deasy (44)
9: Evan McInerney for P. Mulready (62)
1: Philly Walsh
2: Aidan McGrath
3: Ciaran Russell,
10: Michael Moloney
5: Aaron Fitzgerald
6: Liam Corry
7: Niall McMahon
8: Tom Downes
9: David Reidy
17: Kevin Brennan
11: David McNamara
12: Darren O’Brien
13: Gavin Cooney
14: Shane O’Donnell
15: Danny Russell
18: Conor O’Halloran for Moloney (36)
19: Nathan Murray for Brennan (42)
4: Tadhg Connellan for N. McMahon (61)
21: Niall O’Connor for G. Cooney (63)
Referee: Joe Mullins (Clonlara)