*Daragh Sexton offloads the ball under pressure from Sean Collins. Photograph: Sean Collins
A first ever senior championship final meeting with neighbours St Josephs Miltown is the reward for Kilmurry Ibrickane following their two point win over thirteen man Cratloe on Sunday.
Kilmurry Ibrickane 0-13
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis
Their scoring threat was more widespread and their balance that bit superior, subsequently Kilmurry Ibrickane managed to overcome Cratloe in a nigly affair that saw two red cards dished out by Pat Cosgrave, both in the final ten minutes.
More than half of Cratloe’s scores came from placed balls, surprisingly they lacked a killer punch while the presence of four men in front of their full-forward line that being Martin McMahon as sweeper alongside the opposing half-back line always meant they were going to be under pressure when the ball was in their hands.
In what was the fifth meeting between the sides in five years, The Bricks have now come out on top in three of these clashes, all being the most recent contests. Cratloe took the lead with two Cathal McInerney converted frees in the first three minutes. Michael Hogan and McInerney traded efforts before Kilmurry Ibrickane kicked four scores without reply to go in front for the first time.
They almost added a goal only for an excellent block by Michael Hawes on Keelan Sexton prevented the umpires from reaching for a green flag. Three of the last four scores in the half were from Cratloe to get them back on level terms as they retreated for the break. Podge Collins’ point on twenty eight minutes was their first score from play.
Within sixty three seconds of the resumption, Kilmurry Ibrickane had two more points on the board via Keelan Sexton and Daniel Walsh. Substitute Eamon Bracken added another with his first touch of the day.
Just as a gap was beginning to develop, Conor McGrath was pulled down by Martin McMahon with the resulting penalty slotted home by McInerney to equalise with thirty seven minutes played. Rian Considine nudged Colm Collins’ men in front in their next attack.
Nine minutes elapsed before the next score with Aidan McCarthy covering a lot of ground before teeing up Keelan Sexton who duly levelled matters. In what appeared to be a very strange call, Pat Cosgrave awarded a free to the Bricks when it was thought Conor Cooney was the player deserving of a free, the reaction of Keelan Sexton suggested he felt he was about to receive a yellow card, instead he ended up converting the spot kick and putting the fifteen time champions back ahead.
Cosgrave, two minutes later, gave Cooney a red card following an incident with Shane Hickey. Sexton kicked two more frees in the closing stages, Conor McGrath drew one back and left two points between them but they would not close the gap in time and instead saw Sean Collins get his marching orders in additional time.
None of the spectators would say it was most memorable county semi-final, but it was one in which Aidan ‘Horse’ Moloney’s charges got the job done. Over the hour they were the better team and moved the ball very well from defence to attack. There is a strong flow of new players successfully making the step up to senior each year for the Bricks which is adding a freshness to their team and a fight for places. Although they can be satisfied with the result, their overall showing which included eight wides, some that were the wrong options to take, they must be aware that they did not possess the same level of workrate that Miltown had on show in their semi-final.
It’s not a verified fact but Cratloe seemed to make history, becoming the first team to exit any Clare championship to conduct a warm down. Their focus on next week and the prize of becoming Clare SHC champions automatically coming into the equation as their ambitions of claiming Jack Daly came undone. In contrast to Kilmurry, no new player came to the fore for the Cratloe footballers in championship this year which is something they should aim to address by 2020. They’ll be back in the mix again next year but on this day it seemed to be that while they contain one or even two key forwards on the opposing side, dealing with more than that is out of their grasp at present.
Scorers Kilmurry Ibrickane: K Sexton (0-07 2f), D Walsh (0-02), M Hogan (0-01), C Morrissey (0-01), I McInerney (0-01 1f), E Bracken (0-01).
Scorers Cratloe: C McInerney (1-04 1’Pen, 4f), P Collins (0-01), D Ryan (0-01), R Considine (0-01), C McGrath (0-01).
Kilmurry Ibrickane: Ian McInerney; Mark Killeen, Darren Hickey, Daniel Walsh; Ciaran Morrissey, Martin McMahon, Daragh Sexton, Enda Coughlan; Aidan McCarthy, Keith King; Michael Hogan, Shane Hickey, Dermot Coughlan; Steven Moloney, Keelan Sexton.
Subs: Eamon Bracken for Moloney (34), Niall Hickey for E Coughlan (39), Daryn Callinan for Hogan (56).
Cratloe: Pierce DeLoughrey; Sean O’Gorman, Liam Markham, Sean Chaplin; Martin Oige Murphy, Sean Collins, David Collins; Diarmuid Ryan, Conal O’Hanlon; Shane Gleeson, Podge Collins, Michael Hawes; Rian Considine, Cathal McInerney, Conor McGrath.
Subs: Conor Cooney for O’Gorman (43), Killian Phair for Considine (55)
Referee: Pat Cosgrave (Corofin)