*Daniel Walsh’s volley flies over the head of Luke Neylon. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

KILMURRY IBRICKANE are the first team through to the quarter-finals of the 2023 TUS Clare senior football championship.

Kilmurry Ibrickane 3-11
Corofin 0-07
Venue: Lissycase

Thirteen points separated Kilmurry Ibrickane from Corofin as they put successive wins together to deservedly seal their place in the knockout stages.

Goals in either half from midfielder Daniel Walsh, his supporting runs throughout the hour a strong feature of their game, plus a green flag from Leaving Certificate student Josh Moloney helped Kilmurry Ibrickane build up a very strong foundation.

Corofin started well and were coping despite playing against a strong breeze and without their talisman Jamie Malone and lively attacker Diarmuid Cahill but the concession of Walsh’s first goal on twenty six minutes was a blow they never regained their footing from.

Keelan Sexton and Martin McMahon were both introduced from the bench for the winners when the result was already in the bag, a sign of the confidence Kilmurry Ibrickane had in their players to complete the job without their best player and one of their more experienced heads.

They did welcome Aidan McCarthy to the bench although he did saw no action during the game but partook in the entire warm-up. The Clare hurler did not tog out with Inagh/Kilnamona in their crucial second round clash with Scariff in the Clare SHC last week but had been expected to.

Dermot Coughlan starred for the West Clare side kicking seven points in the opening half and has been their main man in both outings to date in Group 1. He had four of these on the board inside the opening quarter with Corofin keeping abreast with two from midfielder Sean O’Brien and one from Cillian McGroary.

McGroary put Killian O’Connor through for their best and only real goal chance of the encounter in the next attack. A brilliant pass from the Clare U20 left O’Connor with only David Sexton to beat but his effort was hit closer to the middle of Sexton’s goal rather than the corner which the custodian comfortably pushed out for a 45.

Corofin would not score for the remainder of the half while Kilmurry Ibrickane added 1-04. Their first goal almost arrived on twenty minutes but an excellent tackle from Damien O’Loughlin stopped Joe Campbell from getting his shot away.

Coughlan closed out the half with three points, Josh Moloney opened his account while Shane Hickey teed up Daniel Walsh who made no mistake with his volley dispatching to the ball to the roof of the net.

Having trailed by a single point with sixteen minutes played, the sounding of the half-time whistle saw Corofin eight points adrift and shifting their attention towards damage limitation rather than obtaining a win.

Part of that change in thinking saw both Robin Mounsey and Damien Ryan introduced at half-time, Mounsey kicked a wonderful score with his first touch in this year’s championship but the lift was short-lived as The Bricks worked the ball upfield, Caoilfhionn O’Dea ripping the Corofin defence apart before unleashing a shot that was palmed in the direction of Josh Moloney who swiftly dispatched the ball to the net.

O’Dea and Cathal Talty popped over further points for James Murrihy’s charges before Corofin converted via Sean O’Brien, Killian O’Connor and Cillian McGroary in the space of fifteen minutes.

A twenty one minute spell without a score was ended for the sixteen time champions when Daniel Walsh grabbed his second goal. It was another well-taken effort from the Clare midfielder with Dermot Coughlan and Caoilfhionn O’Dea linking up superbly to put the chance on a plate for Walsh.

Keelan Sexton made his presence known when introduced in the attack as he tends to do, he showed for runs to keep Corofin’s already under-pressure defence sweating but he converted a tricky free against the breeze in what was the final tick on the scoreboard and wrapped up the result for Kilmurry ibrickane.

St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield await Kilmurry Ibrickane in the final round but they will have one eye on the quarter-finals which take place in a month’s time. They’ve stuck to their task in both outings and rightfully have two wins from two. Their use of the ball is proving to be effective but more pleasing for them is how Dermot Coughlan, Daniel Walsh and Caoilfhionn O’Dea are assuming key leadership roles within the team. The trio were their best performers alongside Josh Moloney.

Having contested last year’s semi-finals, all signs are now pointing towards Corofin contesting this season’s relegation play-offs unless St Joseph’s Doora/Barfield can overturn St Breckan’s and they themselves beat their North Clare neighbours in the final round. Unless they are at full strength, such an outcome is highly unlikely. What will frustrate them from this showing is they matched Kilmurry Ibrickane for the opening quarter but were mentally unable to recover from the setback of conceding a goal in the run-up to half-time. They gifted scores to their opponents and made basic errors like overcarrying the ball far too frequently. Sean O’Brien was their best player over the hour.

Scorers Kilmurry Ibrickane: D Coughlan (0-07 4f), D Walsh (2-00), J Moloney (0-01), C O’Dea (0-01), C Talty (0-01 1f), K Sexton (0-01 1f)

Scorers Corofin: S O’Brien (0-03), C McGroary (0-02), R Mounsey (0-01), K O’Connor (0-01 1f).

Kilmurry Ibrickane:
1: David Sexton

2: Andrew Shannon
3: Mark Killeen
18: Michael Comber

5: Diarmaid Comber
4: Ciaran Morrissey
7: Daragh Sexton

8: Daniel Walsh
11: Josh Moloney

10: Shane Hickey
12: Dermot Coughlan
19: Caolfhinn O’Dea

15: Cathal Talty
21: Joe Campbell
22: Jason Cushen

Subs:
6: Martin McMahon for Campbell (42)
14: Keelan Sexton for Cushen (54)
9: Diarmuid King for D Sexton (54)

Corofin:
1: Luke Neylon

6: Damien O’Loughlin
3: Cilléin Mullins
2: Marc O’Loughlin

10: Fionn Clancy
4: Ross Hayes
11: Gearoid Cahill

20: Colm Rice
9: Sean O’Brien

12: Cian Doolin
14: Gearoid Kelly
5: Cillian McGroary

13: Killian O’Connor
17: Kevin Keane
15: Cillian Clancy

Subs:
23: Damien Ryan for Doolin (HT)
21: Robin Mounsey for Kelly (HT)
18: Fergus Killeen for Rice (38)
25: Josh O’Brien for Keane (51)
7: Shay Malone for Hayes (51)

Referee: Chris Maguire (Wolfe Tones)

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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