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*Cooraclare’s Micheál Garry in action. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Ten-time Clare SFC winners, Cooraclare have been relegated to the intermediate ranks.

Clondegad 2-15
Cooraclare 0-08
Venue: St Michael’s Park, Kilmihil

By Derek Dormer

Great adversity provides great opportunity and so was the case for Clondegad and Cooraclare as they entered into a battle to decide their status as a senior club. In a tough hard fought encounter it is the men from Clondegad who emerged victorious.

A powerhouse man of the match display by James Murohy was the catalyst for victory. Clondegad started the better of the two teams and by the first water break they led 0-07 0-03 but could and probably should have been out of sight with three goal chances going amiss one hitting the post one effort producing a fine Mark Lillis save and Shane Brennan who would finish with 2-2 to his credit blazing wide when nothing but a goal seemed the likeliest outcome.

That was Clondegad’s only wide in the opening quarter as they showed ruthless scoring efficiency converting almost every opportunity with sublime accuracy and one must say great decision making as they chose to fist over several points throughout the duration of the contest when others would have shot wide.

Cooraclare to their credit fought valiantly and won a lot of ball in the middle third but the lack of a real scoring threat would prove decisive. At half time Clondegad led 0-09 0-05 but really and truly could and should have been out of sight.

The nail in Cooraclare’s coffin came in the 39th minute with the move of the game producing the game’s first goal. Centre back James Murphy went on a lung busting solo evading tackles with consummate ease before offloading to Podge McMahon who unselfishly fed Shane Brennan to palm to the empty net.

By the start of the final quarter Clondegad led 1-11 to 0-06 and the game was over as a contest. Shane Brennan struck for another goal late on to compound Cooraclare’s misery and propel Clondegad into a winner takes all contest against Kilrush in two weeks.

Clondegad had superb performances from James Murphy, Gary Brennan and Shane Brennan but the defining highlight was their clinical ruthless efficiency in front of goal. Their precision laden performance is one they will hope they can repeat in a fortnight’s time and it will be a soul searching winter for one of the great traditional clubs Cooraclare as they will enter the uncharted waters of intermediate football.

Scorers Clondegad: Shane Brennan (2-2), Gary Brennan (0-4 4f), Morgan Garry (0-3), Sean O Leary (0-3), Barry Toner (0-2), Brandon O Connell (0-1).

Scorers Cooraclare: Ciaran O Donughue (0-3 1f), Colin McNanara (0-2), Pearse Lillis (0-2), Brian McNamara (0-1).

1: Declan O Loughlin

2: Brian Casey
3: Brian Murphy
4: Conor Gavin

5: Cillian Brennan
6: James Murphy
7: Cormac Reidy

8: Gary Brennan
9: Brandon O’Connell

10: Ian Carrig
11: Sean O’Leary
12: Morgan Garry

13: Shane Brennan
14: Barry Toner
15: Podge McMahon

18: Eoin Gavin for Carrig (50)

1: Mark Lillis

2: Robert Ryan
3: Niall Kelly
4: Fergal Donnellan

5: Ronan Donnellan
19: Killian Burke
7: Micheál Garry

8: Brian McNamara
9: Pearse Lillis

10: Tadgh Lillis
11: Ciaran O’Donoghue
12: Colin McNamara

13: John Lillis
14: Padraic O Donughue
23: Eoin O’Driscoll

26: Damien Burke for T Lillis (22)
27: Jack Morrisey for Burke (HT)
15: Tom Downes for O’Driscoll (54)
25: Conor Marrinan for F Donnellan (57)

Referee Wayne King

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