Ennistymon are back in the quarter-finals of the Clare SFC, sealing their fate following a hard-fought encounter with Doonbeg on Sunday afternoon.
Venue: Hennessy Memorial Park, Miltown Malbay
Minus the regular preparation of a league campaign, each team is bound to be off their best in early outings of competitive championships. Ennistymon completed the task at hand but while doing so didn’t strike fear into potential opponents and many outfits won’t be shaking in their boots at the prospect of facing the lively North Clare side.
In a forgettable first half, four scores in a seven minute window ensured Ennistymon held a deserved four point half-time lead. Although they never seemed to hit full tilt, Doonbeg were on par with their opponents, on the scoreboard at least in the opening quarter. Crucially, their failure to score from play would hinder their chances of sticking their noses in front for a prolonged period of time.
Nine minutes were on the clock before the opening score of the game, supporters including those awarded a coveted ticket, those gazing from ladders overlooking the field and the adventurous few who climbed over the wall were left waiting until David Tubridy slotted over a free. Two minutes later, Cillian Rouine did likewise at the other end.
Michael McDonagh traded efforts at either side of the water break but Ennistymon finished the half the stronger as Kevin Hehir, McDonagh and two Rouine frees left them in a strong position at the break.
Inevitably, Doonbeg upped the ante on the restart. They closed the gap well with four unanswered points, three from David Tubridy and an Eoghan Tubridy single narrowing the distance to the bare minimum. Ennistymon remained steady and added to their tally through Rouine and a David Fitzgerald point from his left boot to hold a 0-09 0-06 as the sides retreated for the final water break.
Doonbeg dominated the final quarter but ultimately their period of control came too late in the contest. They outscored Ennistymon 3-1 following the water break with Cian Mahoney, Eoghan Tubridy and Enda Doyle registering on the scoresheet.
Spirit can never be questioned when it comes to football in Doonbeg. Brian Dillon’s men will rue their opening half showing but will take confidence from how they finished the encounter. Unlike their best performance of 2019 which took place in Miltown Malbay, they were unable to force the game to extra time, were this to occur they would have been tipped to prevail. Tadhg Lillis in his championship debut was very impressive at centre back for the 2010 champions.
Minus the experienced Lawrence Healy for their first round, Ennistymon did what they had intended to and that was to book their spot in the quarter-finals. Kieran Kelleher’s men only lined out with five of their six championship forwards from 2019 and their constant conveyor belt of talent from the underage ranks continues, translating that to senior success remains the challenge. Adam Ralph, Kevin Hehir, Sean Rouine and Tiernan Hogan did best for the 2018 finalists.
Scorers Ennistymon: Cillian Rouine (0-6, 5f), Michael McDonagh (0-3), David Fitzgerald and Kevin Hehir (0-1 each).
Scorers Doonbeg: David Tubridy (0-6, 4f), Eoghan Tubridy (0-2), Cian O’Mahony and Enda Doyle (0-1 each).
Michael Leigh for E Rouine (46)
Niall Canavan for Barry (46)
Sean McConigley for McDonagh (56)
Enda Doyle for P Dillon (50)
Referee: Wayne King (St Josephs Doora/Barefield)