IN THE MOST TETCHY encounters of the Clare SFC’s opening round, Clondegad prevailed against Ennistymon by a margin of two points.
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis
Having maintained their status last year surviving relegation, Clondegad are well aware of the importance of collecting a win at the first hurdle. This determination was evident from the off as they started well including a rally of 1-02 without reply in a three minute spell.
Missed chances would prove costly for the North Clare men, they coughed up on 11 scoreable opportunities in the tie and despite holding the momentum in the second half and playing with an extra man, they failed to make it count.
Ryan Barry was fouled giving Diarmuid Fahy the first scoreable opportunity of the day which he duly obliged on to give Ennistymon the lead inside sixty five seconds.
Clondegad then found their groove kicking 1-02 on the bounce. Former Clare captain, Gary Brennan a star player over the afternoon was a handful, he caught a James Murphy dropping ball after he turned over Ciaran McMahon from a kickout, Brennan offloaded to Podge McMahon and he made no mistake in sticking the ball to the back of the net.
David Fitzgerald gave Ennistymon a timely lift on thirteen minutes to level matters, Sean Rynne started the move with Tiernan Hogan finding Fitzgerald who fisted to the back of the net.
Once again, Clondegad came good with their response, kicking 1-01 in succession. Brennan converted a wonderful point while McMahon again delivered on nineteen minutes, leaving the ball in the back of the net. Eoin Rouine and Morgan Garry then traded scores to close out the half with Clondegad holding a 2-05 1-05 lead at the break.
The Brennan brothers, Shane and Gary were on target on the resumption extending the gap but Brendy Rouine got Ennistymon off the mark on thirty eight minutes.
Tempers began to reach boiling point with Ennistymon aware that three of their opponents were now on yellow cards, they possibly lost their distraction in trying to win frees instead of working scores around the third quarter period – they would go eleven minutes without a score and Clondegad had a nineteen minute drought.
Such was the atmosphere brewing around Cusack Park that one player was always going to get heir marching orders and it transpired to be Gearoid ‘Gudgy’ O’Connell. He picked up a second yellow card from an altercation with Eoin Rouine which resembled a mini-spear tackle on forty five minutes.
Moments later, Clondegad coach Neil Hawes was shown a yellow card by referee Niall Quinn. It followed an excellent turnover by Brendy Rouine on Gary Brennan, Rouine then shouldered Brennan into the fence in front of the seated stand of The Park prompting the St Breckan’s clubman to push over the teenager which saw Quinn dish out the yellow card.
Mark Shanahan’s Ennistymon didn’t capitalise on the extra man on the field and only kicked 0-02 in the remainder of the tie while Clondegad added to their tally via Barry Toner.
Given the competitive nature of the group, Clondegad’s win is simply massive. It was made possible by their first half display but also through the class of Gary Brennan who was assisted by Barry Toner, Ryan Jennings, Morgan Garry and Conor Gavin. Such was the influence and damage caused by Brennan who alternated between full and centre forward that Cathal Malone was taken out of midfield to try curb his influence.
It’s backs to the wall now for Ennistymon who disappointed in this clash. They will rue the concession of the two goals and how they switched off so easily at times, this factored with the 11 missed chances are areas that can be fixed quite easily. Liam Cotter, Brendy Rouine and David McNamara led the fight for the North Clare men.
Scorers Clondegad: Podge McMahon (2-00), Gary Brennan (0-04 1f), Barry Toner (0-02 1f), Morgan Garry (0-01), Shane Brennan (0-01)
Scorers Ennistymon: Brendy Rouine (0-04 2f), David Fitzgerald (1-00), Diarmuid Fahy (0-03 1f), Eoin Rouine (0-01), Ciaran McMahon (0-01)
1: Declan O’Loughlin
2: Brian Casey
3: Brian Murphy
4: Niall Lynch
26: Gearoid O’Connell
6: Peter Casey
5: Conor Gavin
8: James Murphy
9: Brandon O’Connell
10: Morgan Garry
14: Shane Brennan
15: Barry Toner
23: Podge McMahon
11: Gary Brennan
13: Ryan Jennings
1: Noel Sexton
2: Ciaran McMahon
3: Adam Ralph
4: Cathal O’Reilly
5: Liam Cotter
6: Cillian Rouine
7: Tiernan Hogan
10: Cathal Malone
12: Eoin Rouine
9: David Fitzgerald
11: Diarmuid Fahy
8: David McNamara
13: Ryan Barry
14: Brendy Rouine
15: Sean Rynne
Referee: Niall Quinn (St Joseph’s Miltown)