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*Peter Duggan was to the fore in getting Clooney/Quin over the line. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

An exciting opening outing in the relegation play-off went the way of Clooney/Quin who fired the final five points of the contest to edge out Clarecastle.

Clooney/Quin 0-25
Clarecastle 0-22
Venue: Shannon

By Derek Dormer

Relegation games tend to take on a life of their own. Form coming into it can be easily disregarded as it’s the team that shows composure in the pressure cooker cauldron of such battles that tend to emerge victorious.

This was by no means any different as a truly magnificent contest went the way of Clooney/Quin showing tremendous courage rattling off the last five scores to eventually see off Clarecastle in what was a see-saw battle throughout.

Peter Duggan who would finish with 9 points opened the scoring after only ten seconds landing a monster point from the throw in. The first quarter was played at a lightning pace yielding 14 scores with Clooney/Quin leading 8 points to 6 at the water break.

However they could have been out of sight creating three goal chances only to see Clarecastle keeper Cian Broderick in tremendous form pulling off a remarkable double save just before the water break.

At half time the sides were level at 0-13 apiece with Clarecastle’s midfielder Killian McDermott who would finish the day with 0-5 from play excelling throughout. Clarecastle were proving to be extremely economical only registering two wides compared to Clooney/Quin’s eight.

The third quarter saw a dominant Clarecastle taking the lead mainly through some indiscipline by Clooney/Quin leading to frees being converted by Bobby Duggan and a monster free from centre back Darragh Healy. Clooney/Quin can be thankful to Darragh Keogh inspirational all day for some crucial scores keeping his team in touch.

Entering the final quarter, Clarecastle led 0-20 0-18 and looked the most likeliest winners. Bobby Duggan and his counterpart Peter Duggan traded frees and with five minutes left Clarecastle led by two.

Then the game’s defining moment, Clooney/Quin were awarded a penalty which saw Cian Broderick save from Peter Duggan. This scenario would usually inspire the team that saves the penalty and rattle the player that misses but not Peter Duggan. Seconds later he converted a sideline cut from 40 yards before slotting over an equalising free. Fergal Lynch then gave Clooney the lead before a late Dylan Cunningham score and another Duggan free saw Clooney/Quin over the line.

Overall a fast paced high quality encounter that could easily have been a quarter final rather than a relegation game such was the entertainment served up by both sides.

Best for the winners were Darragh Keogh, Martin Duggan, Ryan Taylor and when his side needed him Peter Duggan was not found wanting while Clarecastle had excellent performances from Killian McDermott, Conor Halpin and Darragh Healy. The Magpies face O’Callaghans Mills in the second round of the relegation series with the Fergie O’Loughlin coached Clooney/Quin doing battle with Crusheen.

Scorers Clooney Quin: Peter Duggan (0-11 9f 1SC), Martin Duggan (0-3), Darragh Keogh (0-3), Luke Harrison (0-2), Ryan Taylor (0-2), Conor Harrison (0-1), Dylan Cunningham (0-1), Fergal Lynch (0-1), Donagh O Sullivan (0-1).

Scorers Clarecastle: Bobby Duggan (0-9 7f), Killian McDermott (0-5), Stephen O’Halloran (0-3),
Darragh Healy (0-1 1f), Rory O’Connell (0-1), Jack Murphy (0-1), David Tuohy (0-1), Conor Halpin (0-1).

1: Keith Hogan

2: Donnacha Murphy
3: Shane McNamara
4: Jimmy Corry

5: Darragh Keogh
6: Cillian Duggan
7: John Conneally

8: Donagh O’Sullivan
9: Conor Harrison

10: Martin Duggan
11: Peter Duggan
12: Ryan Taylor

13: Mike Corry
14: Fergal Lynch
15: Dylan Cunningham

Luke Harrison for O’Sullivan (22)
Alan Culligan for M Corry (40)

1: Cian Broderick

2: Gearoid Ryan
3: Patrick Tuohy
4: Hayden Starr

5: Marc McAuliffe
6: Darragh Healy
7: David Tuohy

8: Killian McDermott
9: Rory O’Connell

10: Kevin Hartigan
11: Bobby Duggan
12: Stephen O’Halloran

13: Stephen Ward
14: Jack Murphy
15: Conor Halpin

Josh Brack for Ward (43)
Colin Brigdale for Murphy (54)

Referee: Chris Maguire (Wolfe Tones)

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