Inagh/Kilnamona’s bid for a first ever Clare SHC title has received a further boost after they sealed their place in the last four of the competition.
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis
Having emerged in top spot from the so-called ‘Group of Death’, Inagh/Kilnamona needed to make their impressive outings in the early stages count. It has clearly strengthened their cause and they brought this to the fore by defeating Cratloe by four points to keep their unbeaten status in this year’s championship and advance to the last four.
The importance of a goal in tight championship games was stressed again this Sunday afternoon as Inagh/Kilnamona booked their place in the Clare senior hurling semi-final with victory over Cratloe.
Cratloe had set the pace in the opening quarter and would not have been flattered with more that a two point lead at the first waterbreak when the score was 0-7 to 0-5 in their favour.
From the resumption they attacked and looked set to extend their lead when Podge Collins raced through but his effort rebounded off the crossbar and Inagh-Kilnamona immediately launched a counter attack which ended with Josh Guyler, starting a senior championship game for the first time, scoring the game’s only goal.
Guyler’s goal gave the eventual winners the lead for the first time and while Cratloe quickly levelled through Conor McGrath, the mid Clare outfit never went behind after that. From here to the finish patrons were treated to some excellent point scoring by both sides.
The winners held a two point advantage at half time when the score was 1-9 to 0-10. The margin was still the same at the end of the third quarter after the teams had exchanged points seven times and the score now stood at 1-16 to 0-17. Cratloe had rallied to within a point of their opponents on a number of occasions in that period but try as they did they just could not level the contest.
They tried hard to breakthrough for the goal they needed but a Cathal McConigley inspired Inagh-Kilnamona defence stood firm while inter county man David Fitzgerald found time to come up field and fire over two outstanding points in this half.
Cratloe simply could not find a way past a very impressive winner’s defence which lost McConigley to injury five minutes from time. Followers of the mid Clare side will be keeping their fingers crossed that he and Keith White who has missed their last two games due to a hand injury, will be fit for semi-final action in two weeks time.
Some outstanding scores were recorded by both sides with the winners having nine players contribute to their impressive final tally while Cratloe had eight players share in their score.
In addition to McConigley, Guyler and Fitzgerald, the winners had impressive displays from Darren Cullinan, Conner Hegarty and Kevin Hehir.
Liam Markham, David and Podge Collins and Conor McGrath battled hard throughout for Cratloe.
Scorers Inagh/Kilnamona: Aidan McCarthy (0-6, 2f) Josh Guyler (1-3); David Fitzgerald (0-3); Darren Cullinan, Jason McCarthy, David Mescall, Connor Hegarty (0-2) each; Cian and Shane McInerney (0-1) each
Scorers Cratloe: Conor McGrath (2 frees), Podge Collins, Cathal McInerney (0-4) each; Rian Considine (all frees), Shane Gleeson (0-3) each, Diarmuid Ryan, Sean Collins, Jack McInerney (0-1) each
1: Pa Kelly
10: Kevin Hehir
3: Cathal McConigley
2: Colin Shannon
5: Seamus Foudy
6: Jason McCarthy
9: David Fitzgerald
8: Darren Cullinan
11: Conner Hegarty
4: Niall Mullins
15: David Mescall
7: Cian McInerney
20: Josh Guyler
14: Aidan McCarthy
13: Evan McNamara
27: Shane McInerney for McNamara (39)
12: Gerry Coote for C McInerney (42)
17: Conor Tierney for Mescall (45)
23: Eoin Fitzgerald for McConigley (56) (inj)
25: Keith Barry for Mullins (59)
1: Gearoid Ryan
4: David Collins
3: Liam Markham
2: Shane O’Leary
5: Diarmuid Ryan
6: Damien Browne
7: Aaron Costigan
9: Daithí Collins
8: Sean Collins
13: Conor McGrath
10: Shane Gleeson
12: Shane Neville
15: Cathal McInerney
11: Rian Considine
14: Padraic Collins
19: Luke Healy for Neville (HT)
17: Enda Boyce for Daithi Collins (43)
22: Jack McInerney for Considine (45)
Referee: Niall Malone (Éire Óg)