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Kilmaley hold off the Tones to advance to quarter-finals

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*Tommy Barry competes in the air alongside Sean Costelloe & Aaron Cunningham. Photograph: Eugene McCafferty

Kilmaley bounced back from their opening round disappointment to eventually get past Wolfe Tones and seal their spot in the Clare SHC quarter-finals.

Kilmaley 4-13
Wolfe Tones 1-17
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis

Far from the finished product, Kilmaley did enough to see off the Tones whose inability to keep their scoreboard ticking over during periods of dominance hindered their cause.

A frenetic opening ten minutes saw three goals scored with the raising of green flags not a common feature during round one of the Clare SHC.

Tom O’Rourke goaled with only twenty seconds on the clock, Kilmaley won possession from the throw in and found Daire Keane who executed a superb handpass to set O’Rourke through and he left Pa Freeman with no chance of making a save.

Wolfe Tones managed to reduce the deficit to a single point with Jack Cunningham, Rory Hayes and Aron Shanagher on target, Mikey O’Neill registered his first score following O’Rourke’s goal to keep Kilmaley a single score ahead.

Having been the maker of the first goal, Daire Keane stuck the ball in the net himself on seven minutes with a powerful attempt. Cathal Darcy and Sean O’Loughlin added further efforts for Kilmaley to extend their advantage to five points.

Aaron Cunningham has proven his goal-scoring ability in the Saffron and Blue on many occasions and he raised a green flag on nine minutes. A fine Stephen Donnellan delivery was won in the air by Cunningham who took on goalkeeper Bryan O’Loughlin and was left with an empty net to dispatch the sliotar to.

Kilmaley responded with the next two scores only for Wolfe Tones to do likewise and add two more including a Dáithí O’Connell effort created by a superb Rory Hayes turnover. In the final five minutes of the half, last year’s Clare Cup winners outscored the Shannon side four points to one to hold a 2-09 1-09 half-time lead.

Once again, Kilmaley got a dream start with Daire Keane hitting a rasper past Pa Freeman to collect their third goal with just thirty seconds gone in the second half. The Tones were more on top in the third quarter but didn’t make it count on the scoreboard, instead Kilmaley had a return of 2-02 from four chances while Ray Diviney’s men had 0-05 from seven opportunities.

Scores dried up for the final quarter as Kilmaley failed to kill off the challenge from their opponents. Indeed it was the Tones that had the better of the scoring stakes with four points compared to Kilmaley’s two. The Shannon side voiced their annoyance with decisions at this juncture with a Cian O’Rourke goal disallowed while Conor Cleary was dismissed for a second yellow in additional time.

The quarter-finals await Kilmaley, their potency when bearing down on goal is a key strength few teams will fail to match. Two each from Tom O’Rourke and Daire Keane set them on their way while other strong performers included Aaron Moloney, James McGuire and Brian Cahill.

Wolfe Tones were not lacking in honesty but more so in sharpness which is to be expected in the condensed preparation period. They raided for goals in their opening round success over Clarecastle but didn’t back this up, in some sectors they worked ferociously hard but this was not unified across the pitch while the absence of Ben O’Gorman was another factor. For them, Darragh Lohan, Rory Hayes and Aaron Cunningham stood up.

Scorers Kilmaley: Daire Keane (2-03), Tom O’Rourke (2-00), Mikey O’Neill (0-04), Sean O’Loughlin (0-02), Michael O’Malley (0-02 2f), Paraic McNamara (0-01), Cathal Darcy (0-01).

Scorers Wolfe Tones: Aaron Cunningham (1-03 2f), Aron Shanagher (0-07 5f), Rory Hayes (0-03), Jack Cunningham (0-01), Dean Devanney (0-01), Cian O’Rourke (0-01)

Kilmaley:
Bryan O’Loughlin

Tommy Barry
Aidan McGuane
Kenneth Kennedy

James McGuire
Conor Cleary
Brian Cahill

Paraic McNamara
Cathal Darcy

Aaron Moloney
Michael O’Neill
Tom O’Rourke

Michael O’Malley
Daire Keane
Sean O’Loughlin

Subs:

Wolfe Tones:
Pa Freeman

Jamie Roughan
Conor Carrig
Darragh Lohan

Dáithí O’Connell
Gary O’Connell
Barry Loughnane

Rory Hayes
Kevin McCafferty

Jack Cunningham
Aron Shanagher
Dylan Frawley

Stephen Donnellan
Aaron Cunningham
Sean Costelloe

Subs:
Liam Murphy for Roughan (12) (Inj)
Dean Devanney for Costelloe (38)

Referee: Fearghal Gray (Feakle)

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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