*David Fitzgerald, Sean Rouine and Liam Cotter swarm Oisin Coyle. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
BEATEN FINALISTS last season Ennistymon have commenced their 2023 championship bid on a winning note.
Venue: Páirc Finne, Corofin
When Kildysart GAA sit down to review their first round TUS senior football championship clash with Ennistymon, they will focus on the opening minutes of the second half.
Trailing by a point after an evenly contested first half, last year’s intermediate champions conceded 1-3 without reply in eight minutes after play resumed and from here on they were chasing the game.
The game had just entered the final quarter when Clare hurler David Fitzgerald, introduced at half time, struck for the winner’s second goal which left Kildysart with a mountain to climb.
Credit to Kildysart who battled to the end and finished strongly, scoring the last four points but the spoils deservingly went to the Cusack Cup champions whose greater experience was evident.
At the end of a well contested first half, the winners were ahead by the odd point in nine. Kildysart would not have been flattered had they been ahead as they had created two goal opportunities but failed to convert either.
Keelan Guyler and Eanna Rouine had the winners 0-2 ahead before Kildysart opened their account through Mikey Donnellan.
With the half time whistle approaching, Rory McMahon pointed twice in as many minutes to tie up the score at 0-4 each but Josh Vaughan had the last score of the half when he converted for the winners to leave the score at 0-5 to 0-4.
Four minutes into the second half, Conor Cusack’s attempted short kickout was intercepted by Sean Rouine who passed to Keelan Guyler who found the net. The score rattled the Kildysart men and Ennistymon points followed from Guyler, Eanna Rouine and Liam Devitt as the winners opened a six point lead.
Their lead was increased early in the final quarter when a Liam Cotter delivery was collected by David Fitzgerald who finished superbly.
The Kildysart goal had a few narrow escapes after this as the winners piled on the pressure on their way to a merited victory.
On an evening when heavy rain made ball handling very difficult for the players, full marks to Corofin GAA who had the pitch in excellent conditions while their traffic control management was also superb.
Adam Ralph, Joey Rouine, David McNamara, Sean Rouine and substitute David Fitzgerald were prominent for the winners.
Ian Flanagan, until injured, Rory McMahon, Keith O’Connor, Luke McGrath and Mikey Donnellan did well for Kildysart
Scorers Ennistymon: Keelan Guyler (1-2, 0-1 f); David Fitzgerald (1-0); Eanna Rouine, Eoin Rouine (0-2) each; Sean Rouine, Josh Vaughan, Liam Devitt, Sean Rynne (0-1) each
Scorers Kildysart: Luke McGrath (1 free), Diarmuid O’Dnnell (2 frees), Rory McMahon, Mikey Donnellan (0-2) each; Fergal Guinnane (0-1);
1: Noel Sexton
2: Ciaran McMahon
3: Adam Ralph
4: Joey Rouine
5: Liam Cotter
22: David McNamara
7: Josh Guyler
8: Josh Vaughan
9: Liam Devitt
10: Eoin Rouine
11: Sean Rouine
12: Eanna Rouine
21: Brian McNamara
14: Keelan Guyler
15: Ryan Barry
19: David Fitzgerald for Barry (half time)
18: Sean Rynne for S. Rouine (50)
25: Tiernan Hogan for E Rouine (54)
1: Conor Cusack
2: Ian Flanagan
3: Brian Eyers
4: Stephen Sheehan
5: Rory McMahon
6: Kieran Leahy
7: Oisin Coyle
8: Keith O’Connor
12: Luke McGrath
20: Conor Moloney
11: Kieran O’Brien
19: Mikey Donnellan
13: Seamus Casey
14: Diarmuid O’Donnell
15: Keith Murphy
18: Fergal Guinnane for Moloney (24) (inj)
17: Michael Eustace for Flanagan (35) (inj)
21: Jack Cotter for Murphy (45)
Referee: Barry Kelly (St Joseph’s Miltown)