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*Sean Collins battles with Cathal Darcy. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Cratloe’s recent dominance over Kilmaley was extended at Cusack Park on Saturday evening when the South Clare men got their senior championship campaign off to a winning start.

Cratloe 3-15
Kilmaley 2-11
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis

Scoring 2-6 without reply in a sixteen minute spell in the opening half laid the foundations for this victory.

That said Kilmaley fought back to within a point of the winners twice in the final quarter before Cratloe hit 1-3 without reply in the closing six minutes for a merited win. Kilmaley started brightly and led by the odd point in three after five minutes. A minute later they conceded a penalty which Shane Gleeson converted and this sparked off a great spell for the winners.

Two points each from Diarmuid Ryan and Liam Markham and one apiece from David Collins and Shane Gleeson were followed by a Rian Considine goal when the corner forward added to a Shane Gleeson delivery.

The Kilmaley defence won’t be happy with the concession of either the penalty or Considine’s goal. The losers got a boost two minutes from the break when Sean O’Loughlin finished a Michael O’Malley delivery to the net and at half time they trailed by seven points, 1-4 to 2-8.

Cratloe who went into the game without the injured Cathal McInerney lost Enda Boyce to injury as early as the third minute. They started the second half with a Liam Markham pointed free but Kilmaley replied with 1-2 to close the gap to just three points, the goal coming from O’Malley who batted the ball over the head of the advancing Gearoid Ryan.

Two more points from Michael O’Malley, the second from a penalty which Gearoid Ryan superbly turned over the bar, left the minimum between the sides at the three quarter stage and this was still the position with two minutes remaining in normal time after each side had added three points.

Cratloe finished strongly and teenager Shane Neville killed off the Kilmaley challenge when he struck for his team’s third goal as the game went into the first of four minutes of added time.

Diarmuid Ryan, Liam Markham, Mikey Hawes, Rian Considine plus newcomers Luke Healy and Shane Neville were impressive for the winners.

For Kilmaley whose team showed a lot of changes from what had been named earlier in the week, Kenneth Kennedy, Aidan McGuane, James McGuire and the game’s top scorer Mikey O’Malley did best.

Scorers Cratloe: Rian Considine (1-05 2f), Liam Markham (0-04 3f), Shane Gleeson (1-01 1’Pen), Shane Neville (1-00), Diarmuid Ryan (0-02), David Collins (0-01), Conor McGrath (0-01), Podge Collins (0-01).

Scorers Kilmaley: Michael O’Malley (1-07 1’Pen 2f 1’65), Sean O’Loughlin (1-01), Cian Moloney (0-02 1f), Michael O’Neill (0-01).

1: Gearoid Ryan

2: Enda Boyce
3: Mikey Hawes
4: Shane O’Leary

5: Damian Browne
6: Diarmuid Ryan
7: Liam Markham

8: Sean Collins
9: David Collins

10: Shane Gleeson
11: Conor McGrath
12: Luke Healy

13: Podge Collins
20: Shane Neville
15: Riain Considine

17: Sean Chaplin for Boyce (3) (Inj)
18: Pakie O’Gorman for O’Leary (40)

1: Bryan O’Loughlin

2: Colin McGuane
6: Conor Cleary
7: Kenneth Kennedy

18: James McGuire
5: Aidan McGuane
20: Brian Cahill

19: Cathal Darcy
15: Paraic McNamara

12: Tom O’Rourke
11: Daire Keane
10: Michael O’Neill

9: Michael O’Malley
14: Sean O’Loughlin
13: Cian Moloney

3: Aaron Moloney for C. Moloney (25) (Inj)

Referee: Rory McGann (Newmarket-on-Fergus)

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