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*Keelan Sexton netted a penalty for Kilmurry Ibrickane. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Kilmurry Ibrickane have qualified for their tenth Clare SFC semi-final in twelve years after overcoming the challenge of Éire Óg on Sunday afternoon.

Kilmurry Ibrickane 3-06
Éire Óg 0-10
Venue: Cooraclare

Goals would prove to be crucial for last year’s beaten finalists, Kilmurry Ibrickane as although they didn’t shoot the lights out, the raising of three green flags always kept Éire Óg at arm’s length in a tense affair.

Of their three Clare SFC quarter-final meetings since 2013, Kilmurry Ibrickane now lead 2-1 but the result always means that Éire Óg have been eliminated at this stage of the competition for four years on the trot.

Just two of the Ennis side’s scores came from play with Gavin Cooney accounting for all but one of their tally across the hour. Despite having the talent up front and indeed all over, the 2014 finalists once again failed to rise to the occasion when it mattered most.

They took the lead early through a Gavin Cooney free but were rocked when Kilmurry Ibrickane scored two goals in as many attacks, Daniel Walsh was the first to slot the ball in the bottom corner of Nathan Murray’s net while a dip in concentration allowed the Bricks to net straight after via Dermot Coughlan.

Cooney would slot three more frees before the sounding of the half-time whistle with Mark McInerney also registering point. At the other end, Dermot Coughlan kicked a fine score with Keelan Sexton pointing his first effort of the game on twenty seven minutes. McInerney’s effort left just three points between the sides at the interval.

Both managers shuffled the deck at half-time with Aiden Moloney calling the experienced pair of Michael Hogan and Michael O’Dwyer ashore in favour of Enda Coughlan and Daryn Callinan. Paul Madden brought in lively attacker Phillip Talty in place of centre forward Ikem Ugwueru.

Callinan’s addition caused problems at the edge of the square and within three minutes of the restart, he fielded a high ball and was brought down by Éinne O’Connor with referee Wayne King correctly awarding a penalty. The resulting effort was expertly dispatched by Keelan Sexton.

As time rolled on, tempers flared with Conall Ó hÁiniféin and Martin McMahon both shown black cards. It was Kilmurry Ibrickane that fired three of the next four scores to extend their lead to seven points with forty six minutes on the clock.

Controlling the bulk of possession and receiving an increasing amount of frees, the Townies narrowed the gap with Cooney kicking over three scores. However they were unable to break down the Bricks defence from play and spurned some decent opportunities while also taking the wrong option when bearing down on goal to limit their ability to bridge the required distance and as such saw their involvement in the championship come to an end losing by a margin of five points.

For the footballing Townies another winter of dissection awaits. Where did it go wrong and what is missing will dominate the conversation. Without question, they have the footballers but when it comes to crunch championship outings and knowing how to grind out a result, they tend to come up short as exemplified in their extra-time defeat to Doonbeg last year. With four U21A titles to their name in six seasons, it is clear they know how to win at other grades but the experienced heads to set the example appear to be absent for them when the need is greatest.

Inside the first six minutes, Kilmurry Ibrickane had two shots and a return of two goals. A semi-final awaits the fifteen time champions, their journey there hasn’t been easy and will leave them in a strong position when that encounter is played. County senior Dermot Coughlan stood up for the Bricks today finishing the hour with 1-01 to his name, elsewhere Shane Hickey, Keelan Sexton, Aidan McCarthy and Daryn Callinan caused problems.

Scorers Kilmurry Ibrickane: Keelan Sexton (1-04 1f 1’45), Dermot Coughlan (1-01), Daniel Walsh (1-01).

Scorers Éire Óg: Gavin Cooney (0-09 8f), Mark McInerney (0-01).

Kilmurry Ibrickane:
16: David Sexton

4: Mark Killeen
3: Darren Hickey
2: Shane Hickey

15: Martin McMahon
6: Ciaran Morrissey
7: Darragh Sexton

19: Diarmuid King
9: Aidan McCarthy
5: Daniel Walsh

10: Michael Hogan
12: Dermot Coughlan
17: Andrew Shannon

13: Keelan Sexton
23: Michael O’Dwyer

11: Enda Coughlan for Hogan (HT)
14: Daryn Callinan for O’Dwyer (HT)
8: Niall Hickey for Shannon (54)

Éire Óg:
1: Nathan Murray

2: Niall McMahon
3: Éinne O’Connor
7: Conor O’Halloran

5: Aidan McGrath
4: Cathal Darcy
10: Ronan Lanigan

8: Ciaran Russell
9: Darren O’Neill
6: Conal Ó hÁiniféin

12: Liam Corry
11: Ikem Ugwueru

22: Shane O’Donnell
14: Gavin Cooney
15: Mark McInerney

13: Phillip Talty for Ugwueru (HT)
17: Tadhg Connellan for O’Connor (45) (Inj)
23: Colin Smyth for O’Halloran (45)
29: Aaron Fitzgerald for Ó hÁiniféin (50)
19: Shane Daniels for McInerney (54)

Referee: Wayne King (St Josephs Doora/Barefield)

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