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*Oisin Clune lined out at midfield. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Raymond Bane emerged as the Feakle hero at Sixmilebridge this Saturday evening as he fired over the winning point with the second last puck of the game to give his side victory by the minimum margin over Clonlara.

Feakle 1-17
Clonlara 1-16
Venue: O’Garney Park, Sixmilebridge

Arguably the best of the games in Saturday’s first round schedule, there were many talking points, not least being the welcome return to action of inter county star John Conlon following injury.

Both teams went into this game with changes from their named sides and all hurling followers were delighted to see Conlon in the Clonlara line up as there were fears since injury forced him to miss Clare’s All-Ireland semi-final that he might not get to play any more this year.

A share of the spoils looked likely after Conlon had levelled the tie after one minute of injury time.  Three additional minutes had been signalled and the game was in the closing seconds of these when Bane hit the target.

It was a result that Feakle just abut deserved on the balance of play but Clonlara have reason to be disappointed after a great fight back which saw them land four unanswered points  to level the tie before Bane’s winner.

The contest produced some great exchanges, particularly in the second half and both sides will point to chances missed when they reflect on the tie.

Among the absentees for Clonlara were inter county man Ian Galvin and impressive centre back Dylan McMahon while Colm Galvin is out due to injury and is awaiting a scan on his injured knee.

Manager Donal Madden was clearly disappointed with the outcome but refused to be drawn on reports that some of those absent were omitted from the match day squad on disciplinary grounds

After the respective freetakers Shane McGrath from Feakle and Cathal O’Connell had exchanged points, Feakle got on top and, with the aid of the wind, they hit the next six points.

Just when it looked like they might pull away, Clonlara struck for the game’s opening goal. Corner forward Micheal Stritch rounded Evan McMahon. His shot on goal looked to have been dealt with by Eibhear Quilligan but it slipped off his hurley and into the net.

The game was in the final minute of the half when Oisin Donnellan fielded a delivery from Quilligan and as he headed for goal he was  fouled and Shane McGrath converted the resultant penalty to give his side a 1-9 to 1-5 half time lead.

The third quarter was evenly contested with the sides exchanging points on five occasions. Scores were exchanged twice more leaving Feakle ahead by four with five minutes to go. Scores from Kieran Galvin, Cathal O’Connell and Micheal Stritch left the minimum between the sides with two minutes of normal time still to play.

Conlon’s equaliser suggested that a share of the spoils would be the end result but Bane had other ideas and his score sent Feakle followers home happy.

Scorers Feakle: Shane McGrath (1-11 11f 1’Pen), Gary Guilfoyle (0-02), Steven Conway (0-01), Justin Nelson (0-01), Raymond Bane (0-01), Oisin Donnellan (0-01).

Scorers Clonlara: Cathal O’Connell (0-10 8f 1’65), Micheal Stritch (1-01), Kieran Galvin (0-02), John Conlon (0-01), Mícheál O’Loughlin (0-01), Páraic O’Loughlin (0-01).

1: Eibhear Quilligan;

2: Evan McMahon,
10: Martin Daly
3: Adam Hogan

9: Ronan O’Connor
8: Killian Bane
6: Eoin Tuohy

20: Gary Guilfoyle
7: Oisin Clune

14: Steven Conway
15: Shane McGrath
12: Enda Noonan;

19: Justin Nelson
13: Raymond Bane
11: Oisin Donnellan

17: Fiachra Donnellan for Conway (inj)

1: Seimi Gully;

2: Garath Kennedy,
3: Jathan McMahon,
4: Paul McNamara

5: Michael Clancy,
18: John Conlon
7: Colm O’Meara

8: Cathal O’Connell
17: Oisin O’Brien,

10: Kieran Galvin
11: Micheal O’Loughlin
9: Aidan Moriarty

13: Cian Moriarty,
12: Paraic O’Loughlin
15: Michael Stritch

20: Daniel Moloney for O’Meara

Referee: Rory McGann (Newmarket-on-Fergus)

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