*Éinne O’Connor pushes the ball away from Gearoid Kelly. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

REIGNING COUNTY CHAMPIONS, Éire Óg are back in the Clare SFC final, keeping the club’s chances of a senior double well and truly alive.

Éire Óg 1-11
Corofin 0-03
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis

With a display fitting of their tag as county champions, Éire Óg ruthlessly and clinically brushed aside the challenge of Corofin on Sunday afternoon.

There’s a buzz in Éire Óg at the minute as they prepare for senior county finals in hurling and now football, it’s evident with the bounce in their stride and the momentum driving them forward.

David McNamara. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

As has been the case all year, Paul Madden’s side did the simple things very well but accompanied this throughout with very selfless application from the vast majority of players.

They showed for the ball whenever they were in possession and always offered themselves as a better option, an example being a lung-busting run from corner back Ronan Lanigan on thirty eight minutes who sprinted the length of the field just to serve as a potential option as they built the play, culminating in a Gavin Cooney attempt that trailed wide – the run itself served as a reminder of just how hard the Townies are working to put themselves in the frame.

Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Similarly, the superb timing of a tackle by Éinne O’Connor on 54 minutes when they led by ten points and how he tracked back the field to stop the concession of a goal was admirable, so too the determination of Shane Daniels to catch the subsequent dropping ball from Robin Mounsey.

Once again in the dying moments, they showed their intent not to concede with Ultan Shiels making a sliding dive to stop Gearoid Cahill from tapping in a consolation goal.

No easy score was coughed up on their watch and to limit the opposition to just 0-03 in the entirety of the contest is certainly proof of that.

Philip Talty takes on Ross Hayes. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Three points in succession saw Éire Óg dent Corofin’s initial intent with Niall McMahon and a double from Gavin Cooney giving the favourites a headstart from the off.

Corofin who started so bright in their quarter-final against Lissycasey didn’t score until the ninth minute when Jamie Malone opted to fist the ball over the bar when the chance of a green flag was on the line.

Mark McInerney traded points with Damien O’Loughlin before Cooney and Philip Talty closed out the opening half with a point each. Talty’s score was an important one, Corofin were in possession but an excellent Ronan Lanigan block stopped the ball falling in the path of Diarmuid Cahill who was poised to lower the gap to a point, instead the Ennis side worked the ball up the field and split the posts.

Gavin Cooney takes on Eoin Davoren. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Similarly Éire Óg demonstrated their ability on the counter attack in the move that saw them goal. Gearoid Cahill tried to dink a pass but it fell to Aaron Fitzgerald, he kick started the move and Darren O’Neill played an excellent ball over Colm Rice and onto Cooney who made no mistake when left one on one with Luke Neylon. His green flag on forty three minutes made it 1-08 0-03 and in reality it was game over.

Talty, O’Neill and Mark McInerney added further scores to see Éire Óg reach successive county finals and a football final date with Ennistymon.

Paul Madden’s side have dealt with every challenge thrown their way this year and will once again carry the favourites tag when they return to Cusack Park. It won’t faze them as they are strengthened by top performers in every department. Their full-back line trio of Ronan Lanigan, Aaron Fitzgerald and Manus Doherty continue to play superb while David McNamara, Niall McMahon and Gavin Cooney impressed.

Though they hadn’t expectations weighing them down having won the intermediate championship last season, Corofin will be disappointed to exit the Clare SFC with an eleven point defeat. A strong start was needed for them but it didn’t materialise and ultimately put them on the backfoot against very strong opposition.

Scorers Éire Óg: G Cooney (1-05 4f 1M), M McInerney (0-02 1’45), P Talty (0-02), N McMahon (0-01), D O’Neill (0-01),

Scores Corofin: J Malone (0-01), D O’Loughlin (0-01), G Cahill (0-01 1f)

Éire Óg:
16: Shane Daniels

2: Manus Doherty
3: Aaron Fitzgerald
4: Ronan Lanigan

7: Ciaran Russell
6: Aidan McGrath
5: Éinne O’Connor

8: Darren O’Neill
9: David McNamara

12: Niall McMahon
10: Oran Cahill
17: Jarlath Collins

14: Gavin Cooney
15: Mark McInerney
13: Philip Talty

Subs:
11: Ikem Ugwueru for Collins (45)
19: Conor O’Halloran for Russell (51)
20: Dean D’Auria for Fitzgerald (56)
23: Ultan Sheils for McNamara (60)
18: Danny Griffin for Cooney (61)

Corofin:
1: Luke Neylon

2: Marc O’Loughlin
3: Ross Hayes
5: Colm Rice

6: Damien O’Loughlin

7: Cillian McGroary
4: Cilléin Mullins
12: Fionn Clancy

9: Sean O’Brien
8: Jamie Malone

10: Gearoid Kelly
11: Gearoid Cahill
17: Eoin Davoren

13: Diarmuid Cahill
15: Robin Mounsey

Subs:
19: Damien Ryan for Kelly (39)
14: Kevin Keane for Davoren (42)
20: John Rees for M O’Loughlin (56)
25: Cian Doolin for D Cahill (56)
23: Brendan Keane for D O’Loughlin (60)

Referee: Niall Quinn (St Joseph’s Miltown)

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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