Gearoid O’Brien has a shot with Aaron Brennan giving chase. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
KILRUSH SHAMROCKS have qualified for the finals of the TUS Clare intermediate football championship after overcoming Wolfe Tones.
Kilrush Shamrocks 3-10
Wolfe Tones 3-5
A strong half steered the four-time intermediate champions to victory against their Shannon counterparts. The first of the semi-finals was played in Meelick, the well-appointed South Clare venue had to hold the game after St Michael’s Park in Kilmihil was deemed unplayable following heavy overnight rain.
Favourites Kilrush recovered from the concession of two goals in the opening quarter, scores which helped the Shannon side to hold a three point lead at the interval.
When Tones landed the opening point of the second half, Kilrush faced a huge challenge but it was one that they rose to in impressive fashion.
The game’s opening score came from Conor Fennell who converted a 20m free in the third minute.
Wolfe Tones enjoyed the better of matters in the opening period and they struck for their opening score in the fifth minute when Darragh Leahy found the net after good work by Darragh Lohan.
A superb catch by Lohan in the thirteenth minute led to the Shannon outfit’s second goal with Lohan finding the net and this put them 2-0 to 0-2 in front.
A Stephen Ryan converted ‘45 was followed by the West Clare side’s opening goal. Conor Fennell found Gearoid O’Brien with a good delivery and O’Brien duly found the top corner of the net to level the tie at 1-3 to 2-0.
Wolfe Tones finished the half strongly with points from Billy Connors (2) and Darragh Lohan to lead 2-3 to 1-3 when referee Barry Keating sounded the half time whistle.
Connors had the opening score of the second half to put his side four clear but the game would be deep in extra time before they would score again as Kilrush took control.
Gearoid O’Brien’s second goal in the sixth minute of the half levelled the tie, O’Brien flicking the ball to the net after Stephen O’Brien’s mishit free had dropped short.
Conor Fennell gave his side the lead two minutes later and they never looked back after this.
As the midpoint of the half approached Stephen Ryan’s free from 45m deceived the Wolfe Tones defence on the way to the top corner of the net.
Three points from Fennell followed and the Kilrush men led by eight with seven minutes remaining.
Substitutes Gary Leahy and Don O’Driscoll exchanged points but Kilrush were very much in control now and they were seven clear as the game went into extra time.
The game was in the fifth minute of injury time when the Shannon side won a penalty. Gary Leahy’s effort was saved by Clare goalkeeper Stephen Ryan before the ball was fisted to the net, Jayme O’Sullivan getting the vital touch.
Wolfe Tones finished with fourteen men after Darragh Leahy was sent off after receiving a red card from referee Barry Keating.
Stephen Ryan, Ross Cullinan, Niall Brennan, Darragh Bolton, Gearoid O’Brien and Conor Fennell were prominent throughout for the winners.
Daithi and Darragh Lohan, Sean Brennan, Darragh Leahy and Billy Connors got through a lot of work for the Shannon side.
Scorers Kilrush Shamrocks: Conor Fennell (0-7, 5f), Gearoid O’Brien (2-0) Stephen Ryan (1-1, 1-0 f, 0-1 ‘45); Donn O’Driscoll (0-1)
Scorers Wolfe Tones: Darragh Lohan (1-1), Darragh Leahy, Jayme O’Sullivan (1-0) each
Billy Connors (0-3, 2 frees) Gary Leahy (0-1)
1: Stephen Ryan
2: Padraig Browne
17: Evan Power
4: Niall Brennasn
6: Dylan O’Brien
3: Ross Cullinan
7: Sean Canny
8: Sean Madigan
9: Darragh Bolton
11: Ross Phelan
15: Gearoid O’Brien
20: Dean Neary
10: Tadhg Lysaght
14: Conor Fennell
22: Billy Clancy
12: Don O’Driscoll for Neary (41)
13: Jamie Griffin for Madigan(54)
19: Ben Cody for Fennell (62)
1: Fionn McInerney
3: Jayme O’Sullivan
18: Sean Brennan
4: Aaron Brennan
5: Jason McAuley
7: Eoghan Casey
29: Liam Murphy
8: Joe McGauley
6: Daithi Lohan
9: Jack Ryan
10: Dean Devanney,
12: Aaron Kelly
14: Billy Connors
23: Darragh Lohan
22: Darragh Leahy
25: Chris Dunning for J. McAuley (22)
30: Gary Leahy for J. Ryan (42)
24: Rory Hayes for A. Kelly (45)
19: Cian O’Rourke for McAuley (46)
11: Craig Riordan for E. Casey (55)
Referee: Barry Keating (Lissycasey)