*Conor Halpin gathers possession. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
SEMI-FINALISTS are now confirmed in the U21A, B and C hurling championships following the completion of round three group games at the weekend.
A strong second half showing steered Inagh/Kilnamona to a comfortable sixteen point win over the defending champions Scariff/Ogonnelloe. Clarecastle had to work hard for their victory over Feakle/Killanena while Clooney/Quin scored their second win in four days when they followed their victory over St. Joseph’s Doora/Barefield on Thursday night with a four point win over Sixmilebridge on Sunday to seal their place in the last four.
The semi-final line up is completed by Feakle/Killanena who qualified as the best runner up.
Kilmaley became the first team to reach the semi-final of the B competition when they accounted for Bodyke at Kilmaley on Saturday. The final score in this one was 0-18 to 1-11 with Cian Neylon top scoring for the winners.
Ballyea sealed their semi-final place with victory over Tulla at Ballynacally on Sunday when the final score was 0-20 to 2-9. The winners had nominated nearby Clondegad as the venue for this game as their own pitch is closed at the moment following work on the goalmouths.
Helped by a goal from Niall O’Farrell midway through the second half, Broadford came from behind to account for Newmarket-on-Fergus to seal their last four place. Peter Power’s goal helped Newmarket to lead by five at half time and the East Clare men trailed by six points when O’Farrell found the net and from here to the finish they had the better of matters.
The remaining semi-final spot will go to the winners of the Ennis derby between Banner and Éire Óg which takes place this Monday evening.
Cratloe, Whitegate, Ennistymon and Corofin/Ruan will contest the C semi-finals after they topped their respective groups.
Competition favourites Cratloe were easy 3-18 to 0-7 winners over St. Josephs while Ennistymon also had an easy passage when they recorded a 5-12 to 0-7 victory over Éire Óg.
Whitegate had to work hard for a two points win, 1-19 to 2-14, over Tubber while two points was also the margin as Corofin/Ruan overcame Ballyea, 2-18 to 2-16.
Inagh/Kilnamona eliminate reigning champions Scariff/Ogonnelloe
By Páraic McMahon
Inagh/Kilnamona strengthened their credentials as a side more than capable of winning the U21A hurling championship after producing a dominant display which also dethroned Scariff/Ogonnelloe.
Superior from start to finish, Inagh/Kilnamona deservedly sealed their place in the last four of the U21A hurling championship for the second year in a row.
Scariff/Ogonnelloe lined out with ten of the starting team that claimed their first U21A title last December but their performance was far from the levels which propelled them to that maiden championship on this occasion.
Led by the axis of James Hegarty, Sean Rynne, Jamie Wynne and Conner Hegarty, Inagh/Kilnamona were deserving winners and proved to be the much sharper, livelier and fitter side. They had eight survivors from the starting team which bowed out in the U21A semi-final to Corofin/Ruan last December.
They led by five points, 0-7 0-2 with twenty minutes played but Gearoid Sheedy’s goal on the stroke of half-time left just two points between the sides at half-time and would have given Scariff/Ogonnelloe plenty of belief that they could claim the spoils.
To strengthen this belief they needed a strong start on the second half but it didn’t materialise, substitute Ben Sweeney converted a free to narrow the deficit to a single point but Inagh/Kilnamona responded with three points on the bounce via Conner Hegarty and Sean Rynne.
Jack Ryan responded for the East Clare side but once again Inamona coached by Tomás Kelly put together an unanswered run of four points in succession.
Jack Mescall’s well-finished goal on fifty two minutes where he expertly placed the sliotar in the bottom right corner of the net effectively ended the contest.
Indeed they hit 1-7 on the trot to see out the game and advance to the final four.
James Hegarty was outstanding at centre back, the All-Ireland minor winner read the game with ease and was always an option running upfield. His club and county teammate Conor Rynne completely nullified the threat of Patrick Crotty, keeping the Clare senior panellist scoreless from play while his older brother Sean Rynne was once again central to their success while Jamie Wynne, Colm Kearney and Conner Hegarty were also influential.
Losing their title in such fashion will be a disappointment for Scariff/Ogonnelloe. Injury to Keelan Hartigan restricted his involvement and his loss was felt, this coupled with established players not setting the way was a huge hindrance to the East Clare side.
Scorers Inagh/Kilnamona: C Hegarty (0-10 7f 1’65), J Hegarty (0-4 4f), S Rynne (0-4), J Mescall (1-0), J Wynne (0-2), R Mescall (0-1), C Ryan (0-1).
Scorers Scariff/Ogonnelloe: G Sheedy (1-0), S Kavanagh (0-2 2’65), P Ryan (0-1 1f), B Sweeney (0-1 1f), J Ryan (0-1), L Crotty (0-1).
Inagh/Kilnamona: Jack O’Connor; Colm Kearney, Shane Woods, James Cullinan; Conor Rynne, James Hegarty, Eoghan Foudy; Sean Rynne, Jamie Wynne; Cathal Ryan, Conner Hegarty, Jack Mescall; Josh Guyler, Niall Mullins, Ronan Mescall.
Subs: Keith Barry for Mullins (25) (inj), Fred Hegarty for Barry (55), Gearoid Barry for Mescall (58), Dean McInerney for Guyler (58)
Scariff/Ogonnelloe: Sean Treacy; Seamus McCaul, Tadhg Kavanagh, Aaron Collins; Jack Ryan, Sean Collins, Shane Kavanagh; Adam Cunnane, Eoghan Heffernan; Liam Crotty, Gearoid Sheedy, Patrick Crotty; Rory Ryan, Patrick Ryan, Éanna O’Brien.
Subs: Ben Sweeney for R Ryan (HT), Scott Cairns for S Collins (37), Keelan Hartigan for Cunnane (44).
Referee: Niall Malone (Éire Óg)
Whelan sparkles as Clarecastle seal semi-final spot
There was little between between Clarecastle and Feakle/Killanena when they clashed at Clarecastle on Saturday where a Scott Brack goal just before the sixtieth minute played a key part in the home side’s victory.
Helped by a goal from Ronan O’Connor, Feakle/Killanena led at the break by two points, 1-9 to 0-10.
The sides continued to exchange scores throughout the second half with the lead changing hands on a few occasions.
Conor Whelan was in excellent form at midfield for the winners who had a strong full back line in Niall Brigdale, Aaron Hayes and Barry Morrissey while elsewhere Conor Halpin got through a lot of work at centre forward.
Clarecastle: Cian Broderick; Niall Brigdale, Aaron Hayes, Barry Morrissey; Conor Griffin, Cian Galvin, Sam Browne; Conor Whelan, Evan O’Connell; Rory O’Connell, Conor Halpin, Evan Price; Oisin Whelan, James O’Doherty, Scott Brack;
Sub: Noel Copley for Sam Browne
Feakle/Killanena: Liam O’Connor (Feakle); Gearoid Keane (Killanena), Enda Madden (Feakle) Conor McGann (Feakle); Eoghan Daly (Feakle), Adam Hogan (Feakle), Podge O’Callaghan (Killanena); Oisin Clune (Feakle) Ian Macnamara (Killanena); Oisin O’Connor (Feakle), Owen McGann (Feakle), Sean Walsh (Feakle); Patrick Daly (Feakle), Ronan O’Connor (Feakle), Seamie O’Donnell (Killanena);
Sub: Rory McNamara (Killanena) for S. Walsh
Referee: Jim Hickey, Cratloe
Clooney/Quin record second victory in four days
Clooney hosted this hard fought contest on Sunday afternoon where most of the scores came from placed balls.
This was Clooney/Quin’s second outing in four days having accounted for neighbours St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield in Gurteen on Thursday evening when goals from Shane Harrisson and Dannan Fox were key to their 2-14 to 3-9 win over the home side.
With an unchanged team on duty on Sunday they proved to be better balanced and Dara Keogh’s contribution from placed balls helped steer them to this victory. Their defence was strong throughout while Sam Scanlan at midfield and Jack O’Neill in the attack made valuable contributions.
Clooney/Quin: Cormac O’Halloran; Enda O’Halloran, Evan Maxted, Cillian O’Gara; Eoin Guilfoyle, John Conneally, John Cahill; Dara Keogh, Sam Scanlan; David Considine, Jack O’Neill, Dylan Cunningham; Donagh White, Shane Harrison, Dannan Fox.
Sixmilebridge: Cian Fawl; Michael Carey, Leon Kelly, Dylan Downes; Dara Fitzgerald, Sean McNamara, Evan O’Callaghan; Oisin Breen, Fiachra Ó Broin; Adam Murray, Luke Keogh, Colin Kelly; David Kennedy, Evan Murphy, Colm Flynn.
Subs: Noel Flynn for L. Keogh; Matthew O’Halloran for O. Breen; Fionn Hayes for E. Murphy; Seamie O’Connell for C. Flynn;
Referee: John Bugler (Whitegate)