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*Oisin Donnellan. Photograph: Sport Action Photography

A rip-roaring wrestle for supremacy still couldn’t unearth a winner amidst a frantic finale as Clooney-Quin and Feakle had to be content with a share of the spoils in O’Garney Park in Sixmilebridge.

Clooney-Quin 0-18
Feakle 0-18
Venue: O’Garney Park, Sixmilebridge

While a point isn’t ideal for either side’s chances of advancement, it also left the demotion-avoidance race further up in the air as having been level on nine occasions, it ultimately was the fairest result.

That said, it was an outcome that certainly didn’t seem likely when at 0-17 to 0-16 in their favour, Clooney-Quin were awarded a 58th minute penalty after Fergal Lynch was fouled following a superb catch at the edge of the square. Inevitably up stepped the returning Peter Duggan, only for county goalkeeper Eibhear Quilligan to be equal to the attempt as the clearance fell to Adam Hogan who was fouled for an equalising score through Shane McGrath.

That four point swing aside, there was never even a hint that either side would put clear daylight between them as two points was the biggest lead in either direction at any stage.

All eyes were fixated on Peter Duggan’s return after a two year absence, a seamless reintroduction at it turned out as the 2018 All-Star was back to his swashbuckling best.

And it was needed as despite encouraging debuts for John Conneally, Donagh O’Sullivan, Darragh Keogh, Eoin Guilfoyle and impact substitute Dylan Cunningham, Clooney-Quin lacked a cutting edge up front.
Fergal Lynch was an excellent target man while Mike Corry worked hard but in an effort to solidify their defence, the bulk of the scoring responsibilities fell on Duggan’s shoulders, predominantly through placed balls.

Feakle debutant Adam Hogan did well to curb Ryan Taylor’s influence while Shane McGrath was also well pursued by John Conneally albeit that he somehow still managed to grab five points from play.

Eoin Tuohy excellently marshalled the Feakle defence, half-time replacement Colin Nelson raided for two important points while despite being on one leg for three-quarters of the tie, Oisin Donnellan still managed to pop up with three points including the crucial leveller on the hour mark.

With the wind at their backs, Clooney-Quin took time to settle before finally getting into their stride. Deadlocked at 0-4 to 0-4 by the first water break, the sides would be level twice more before an injury-time brace of Duggan frees inched Clooney-Quin to a 0-9 to 0-7 interval advantage.

Back came Feakle though to fire the first four points of the new half through four different scorers (Nelson, Austin McMahon, Oisin Donnellan and Shane McGrath) by the 33rd minute.

Despite the best efforts of Duggan including a cheeky dipping 20 metre free that had to be tipped over the crossbar by Quilligan, it would take Clooney-Quin until the final water break to reel in their opponents, thanks to quick fire points from Dylan Cunningham and Mike Corry at 0-14 to 0-14.

Both sides would hold the ascendancy in the final quarter before Quilligan kept the tie alive with that potential championship-defining stop. And while there were chances at both ends in a tense two minute additional time period, the final whistle would have been welcomed by the two dug-outs ahead of a three week break to regroup and re-arm.

Scorers for Clooney-Quin: Peter Duggan (0-12, 10f, 1s/l); Dylan Cunningham (0-2); Eoin Guilfoyle, Donagh O’Sullivan, Ryan Taylor, Mike Corry (0-1 each)

Scorers for Feakle: Shane McGrath (0-11, 5f, 1’65); Oisin Donnellan (0-3); Colin Nelson (0-2); Enda Noonan, Austin McMahon (0-1 each)

1: Keith Hogan

2: Ruaidhri McNamara
3: Shane McNamara
4: Conor Harrison

18: John Conneally
9: Cillian Duggan
7: Mike McNamara

6: Ryan Taylor
25: Donagh O’Sullivan

24: Peter Duggan
11: Mike Corry
20: Darragh Keogh

15: Ronan O’Donnell
14: Fergal Lynch
23: Eoin Guilfoyle

29: Dylan Cunningham for Guilfoyle (43)

1: Eibhear Quilligan

4: James Noonan
3: Evan McMahon
2: Ger Hanrahan

5: Con Smyth
6: Eoin Tuohy
8: Killian Bane

9: Austin McMahon
19: Adam Hogan

12: Enda Noonan
14: Oisin Donnellan
10: Shane McGrath

13: Raymond Bane
11: Gary Guilfoyle
15: Steven Conway

20: Colin Nelson for Guilfoyle (HT)
17: Fiachra Donnellan for Conway (41)
7: Oisin Clune for Hanrahan (41)
11: Guilfoyle for R. Bane (60)

Referee: Rory McGann (Newmarket-on-Fergus)


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