*Clarecastle’s Killian McDermott. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Ten-time Clare SHC champions Clarecastle have been relegated from the senior ranks for the first time in their history while Crusheen one of the top teams in the county in the past decade have also dropped to the intermediate grade.
By Derek Dormer
There’s a saying that if you hang around a barbershop long enough eventually you will get a haircut. This can be applied to Clarecastle who after several years flirting with relegation secured the dreaded date they never wanted, a place in the intermediate championship.
Strangely though victors on the day, Crusheen also succumb to the trap door following O’Callaghans Mills’ victory over Clooney/Quin.
It was a bright opening start to the game with some fantastic scores on display considering the tough weather conditions. There was 12 scores in the opening quarter the pick of which was a Jamie Fitzgibbon superb point out on the touchline on the run from 50 yards and by the first water break Crusheen led 0-07 0-05.
Weather worsened in the second quarter but commitment from both teams certainly did not and spectators were treated to two sensational goals. Firstly Bobby Duggan plucked the sliotar amongst a forest of ash turned and rifled to the top corner from 20 yards. Unbelievably though Donal Tuohy’s resultant puck out was won by Jamie Fitzgibbon and four swift short passes teed up Gerard O Grady who blasted to the top corner also, seventeen seconds being the time difference between scores.
Kevin Sheehan’s Crusheen had their noses in front at half-time leading on a score of 1-09 1-07.
Clarecastle upped the ante in the third quarter and courtesy of four Bobby Duggan scores and an incredible Killian McDermott point to counteract two Oisin O’Donnell points and a Breffni Horner score to have the teams deadlocked at 1 -12 apiece entering the final quarter.
Killian McDermott and Pat Kelly pointed on the resumption and suddenly Clarecastle led by two but substitute Conor O’Donnell had other ideas raiding for three scores in as many minutes.
Clarecastle would go the next 18 minutes without scoring and this proved fatal as Crusheen showing all their experience saw out the contest on a scoreline of 1-17 to 1-15
Scenes of celebration were not visible at the final whistle though as Crusheen awaited the result from Meelick. When news filtered through there was a sombre eerie silence as both clubs now face a soul searching winter.
Scorers Crusheen: Murragh McMahon (0-04 3f 1’65), Oisin O’Donnell (0-04), Jamie Fitzgibbon (0-03), Conor O Donnell (0-03) Gerard O Grady (1-00), Breffni Horner (0-01), Cillein Mullins (0-01), Diarmuid Mullins (0-01).
Scorers Clarecastle: Bobby Duggan (1-6 4f) Pat Kelly (0-3), Killian McDermott (0-3), Jack Murphy (0-01), Niall Galvin (0-1), Rory O Connell (0-1).
1: Donal Tuohy
2: Tadgh Dean
3: Ciaran O’Doherty
4: Éanna McMahon
5: Cathal Dillion
6: Cian Dillon
7: John Brigdale
8: Oisin O’Donnell
9: Cilléin Mullins
10: Fergus Kennedy
11: Jamie Fitzgibbon
12: Diamuid Mullins
13: Murragh McMahon
14: Gerard O Grady
15: Breffni Horner
28: Pat Vaughan for Kennedy (27)
18: Conor O’Donnell for D Mullins (47)
17: Mark Perill for Cathal Dillion (49)
25: Alan Tuohy for McMahon (51)
1: Cian Broderick
2: Marc McAuliffe
3: Pat Tuohy
4: Gearoid Ryan
5: David Tuohy
6: Darragh Healy
7: Hayden Starr
8: Killian McDermott
9: Rory O’Connell
10: Kevin Hartigan
11: Bobby Duggan
12: Niall Galvin
13: Conor Halpin
14: Pat Kelly
15: Jack Murphy
30 Eoghan Wallace for O’Connell (36)
20: Stephen Ward for Hartigan (52)
28: Colin Brigdale for Galvin
20: Stephen O Halloran for Murphy (57)
Referee: Chris Maguire (Wolfe Tones)