Inagh-Kilnamona secured their first silverware of 2021 in Kilmaley on Saturday morning after three goals solidified the Under 13 Academy A title over Ballyea by 3-4 to 0-6.
Following a double heartbreak in the Under 15A Championship and Féile finals, Inagh-Kilnamona welcomingly made the breakthrough and will hope that this will be the first of many successes for the remainder of the season as they are also well placed in the Under 13 and 17A Championships.
Settled by a Tom Hegarty major, they would add further timely goals in the last two quarters through Johnathan Cullinan and Tighernan Devitt to hold off Ballyea’s inevitable backlash.
Midfielder Tom Hegarty raided for 1-3 over the hour, 1-2 of which catapulted the winners into a 1-2 to 0-1 first quarter advantage that was required as Ballyea chief threats Thomas O’Dea and Cailean Rynne closed the gap to three by half-time.
Further Ballyea points from free taker O’Dea, Keelan Casey and Eoin Murphy were solaced by a Johnathan Cullinan goal as Inagh-Kilnamona clung to a 2-2 to 0-5 advantage by the turn of the final quarter. However, Inagh-Kilnamona would avoid any grandstand finish after points through Sean Hehir and Tom Hegarty were fittingly capped off by a late third goal through Tighernan Devitt to seal the highest Academy accolade.
Both clubs’ flagship sides are still in the hunt for the inaugural Under 13A Hurling Championship honours too after the knock-out pairings were confirmed on Sunday. Still unbeaten Ballyea were clear group winners long before last weekend’s final round but their semi-final opponents did change after Inagh-Kilnamona’s 3-10 to 2-06 Round 9 victory over Sixmilebridge saw them overtake their opponents into third position.
It means that Ballyea will face Sixmilebridge while runners-up St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield, who have impressed accumulated momentum with eight consecutive victories, face Inagh-Kilnamona.
Three second half goals from Marc Walsh (2) and Brian Conheady saw Tulla cement a dramatic 3-6 to 2-7 victory over hosts Clarecastle and leapfrog Clonlara into the Under 13A Shield Semi-Finals where they will take on favourites Éire Óg. Meanwhile, the Magpies take on Kilmaley in the second semi-final while Clonlara take on Newmarket-on-Fergus in the Under 13A Plate decider this Saturday at 4:30pm.
In the Under 13B Hurling Championship, Scariff/Ogonnelloe soared to a semi-final against fellow East Clare side Broadford following a perfect eight match record, Clooney-Quin meet Cratloe in the other penultimate stage clash while the five remaining sides enter the Shield competition while the Under 13C Championship still has three outstanding matches after the five teams played each other home and away.
Attentions switch to football this weekend as the semi-finals in all three divisions at Under 13 level take place. How much Division 1 quarter-final winners Lissycasey and Éire Óg have developed over the past four months will be realised this weekend as they face a repeat of opening round clashes with St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield and Clondegad respectively.
Unbeaten tabletoppers Doora/Barefield host Lissycasey in Gurteen on Friday evening (6pm) while Clondegad welcome their Ennis neighbours to Ballynacally on Saturday morning at 11am.
At the same time in Ennistymon, the home side meet Kilrush/Killimer for the right to face St Breckans in the Under 13 Division 1 Shield decider while the tie of the weekend could well be the clash of Under 13 Division 2 group winners Doonbeg and Cratloe who also have an early Saturday morning start in Doonbeg (11am), with Kilmurry Ibrickane welcoming Clarecastle to Pairc Naomh Mhuire in Quilty the previous evening (6.15pm) in the other semi-final.
In Divison 3, Parteen travel to Shannon on Friday evening for a semi-final showdown with Wolfe Tones at 6.30pm while on Saturday morning, Kildysart/Coolmeen host Corofin in Kildysart (11am).