With the Senior Club Football Championship semi-finals now decided, Martin Daly casts his eye over where the quarter-finals were won and lost.
St Joseph’s Miltown 2-14
At Cusack Park, Saturday MILTOWN are living up to expectation as Championship contenders this year and proved themselves again on Sunday with a heavy win over a Clondegad side who have a number of players with one eye on the hurling this weekend.
Miltown would have felt last year they were caught by Clondegad in the semi final.
This year they came with a purpose. The West Claremen showed huge workrate, pace moving forward, and strength in the middle of the field. This is all consolidated by leadership. Gordon Kelly, Conor Cleary, his brother Eoin, Ciaran Malone. All these guys have intercounty experience. They know how to lift it.
Ballyea, meanwhile, are still involved in the hurling and the likes of Tony Kelly have only seen a football for a few wet weeks of championship action – I think that played a vital role in seperating these sides on Saturday.
If Tony had a hurley in his hand a few of his attempts would have gone over.
Barry Toner in fairness worked very hard, digging in to his own half to create some go-forward ball and while Clondegad were trying, Miltown were just that bit better.
In Miltown, only Conor Cleary was involved with the county hurlers and it showed. They are all so natural with the football, and play as a unit, trusting each other’s every move. Their gelling period from the Cusack Cup, O’Gorman Cup, to the first few rounds of the championship has paid dividends.
At half time it was 0-8 to 0-4. All of Clondegad’s scores were laboured while Miltown were going through Clondegad with ease – against the breeze. 12 minutes into the second half it was 1-12 to 0-7, and it was game over.
Éire Óg 2-10
At Cusack Park, Saturday ABIT of a shock, especially condidering some of the hammerings Éire Óg have dished out this season but – and this can’t be underlined enough – Ennistymon were very impressive.
The big worry for Éire Óg coming into this game was rising to the occassion – realising this wasn’t a Garry Cup match – and they started off on fire. It took 10 minutes for Ennistymon to register a score. And that’s why this was such an impressive display by the North Clare outfit.
Ennistymon never panicked and stuck to a possession-based gameplan, which ultimately won them the game. This was tippified early in the second half, which was a replica of the first. Eire Og started well while it took Ennistymon 12 minutes to get a score. You thought they were staring at a long day but just like in the first half, Ennistymon did not panic, kept possession, and when they created chances, took their scores.
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
Éire Óg have Niall O’Connor, a very good goalie, between the sticks. But as we know these days when it comes to kickout stats, you need to maintain possession to stand a chance and that’s where Niall struggled.
Ennistymon pushed up, forcing him long where Cathal Malone and David Fitz were eating up the middle of the field. He couldn’t pick out a red shirt with the short ball either – you need to be very experienced to pinpoint kick passes and those were not happening for him. That kept the pressure on and put Ennistymonwhere they wanted to be – in front of goal.
Even when the chances weren’t on, Ennistymon worked the ball back from Eire Og’s 45 to their own just to keep possession.
They bided their time and waited for that chance to break forward. David Fitz and Michael McDonagh in centre forward took full advantage.
That discipline and patience all comes down to coaching. It comes down to the belief and the gameplan and Ger Quinlan has done a super job.
They lost their centre back Joe Ruan to injury after three minutes. They lost Seán O’Driscoll, their captain to a black card half way through the second half. They lost Cathal Malone near the end of the game.
It didn’t seem to phase them. They trusted what was going on and kept the workrate up.
Éire Óg, for the quality of player they have – and they have lots – just didn’t play to their potential. The likes of Ciaran Russell and Aaron Fitz probably didn’t work hard enough to get into the game. Gavin Cooney brought an attacking threat but he didn’t get enough support. Young Ikem Ugwueru and Conall O’Hanafin made a massive difference when sprung from the bench but overall the game seemed to pass them by – maybe the dual players’ workload made a difference.
At Cusack Park, Sunday
Cratloe: Pierce DeLoughrey; Sean Chaplin,
John Galvin, Liam Markham; Martin
Óige Murphy, Sean Collins, Enda Boyce;
Conor McGrath (0-01), Diarmuid Ryan (0-
02); David Collins, Pádraic Collins (0-02),
Rian Considine (1-00); Billy Connors (1-
05), Conal O’Hanlon (1-00), Cathal McInerney
(1-06 1’Pen, 3f). Subs: Shane Gleeson
for Galvin (9) (Inj), Damian Browne for Considine
(52), Jack McInerney for D Collins
Cooraclare: Mark Lillis; Declan McMahon
(0-01), Thomas Donnellan, Fergal Donnellan;
James Burke, Niall Kelly, Pearse Lillis
(0-01); Sean O’Donoghue (0-01), Dermot
Tubridy; Ciaran O’Donoghue (0-01), Cathal
Lillis, Conor Marrinan; Caoimhín Donnellan,
John Looney (0-03 1f), Jack Morrissey
(0-02 2f). Subs: Colin McNamara for Morrissey
(29), Michael Kelly for C O’Donoghue
(40), Jack Morrissey for Marrinan
(43), Keith Marrinan for McNamara (51),
Tadhg Lillis for C Lillis (55).
Referee: Niall Quinn (St Josephs Miltown)
Kilmurry Ibrickane 3-12
At Cusack Park, Sunday
Kilmurry Ibrickane: Ian McInerney; Martin
McMahon, Darren Hickey, Mark Killeen;
Aidan McCarthy, Ciaran Morrissey, Darragh
Sexton; Keelan Sexton (0-06 1f), Keith
King; Dermot Coughlan (2-01), Shane
Hickey (0-01), Evan Talty; Michael Hogan
(0-02), Steven Moloney, Mark McCarthy
(1-02). Subs: Eamonn Bracken for Moloney
(41), Kieran Killeen for Talty (44) (Inj), Niall
Hickey for Hogan (46), Noel Downes for K
Sexton (51), Daryn Callinan for S Hickey
Corofin: Kieran Carkhill; Eoin Clancy,
Brendan Keane, John Rees; Fergus
Killeen, Damien O’Loughlin (0-01), Shay
Malone; Seán O’Brien, Fionn Clancy, John
Keane; Damian Ryan (0-01 1f), Cillian
Clancy, Jamie Malone (0-04); Gearoid Cahill
(0-04 1f), Eoin Davoren. Subs: Gearóid
Kelly for O’Brien (35), Cilléin Mullins for C
Clancy (39), Enda Collins for Davoren (51),
Diarmaid Cleary for Killeen (54), Liam Mc-
Grath for S Malone (57).
Sen B SF At Ennistymon, Sunday LISSEYCASEY must begin a process of looking within if they are to bounce back from this defeat, which more notably than anything else, showed up a lack of fight and leadership.
It struck me that we seemed to be emotionless. Nobody was shouting at the referee, shouting at a Doonbeg man, encouragement among ourselves or even bitching.
That’s worrying to see because when you’re lifeless like that, you’d wonder is there a big day left to drag them out of the fire.
Doonbeg on the other hand, had purpose and recognised the seriousness of the situation.
When they got their opportunity they dragged it with both hands. David Tubridy was a leader from the word go and showed all the qualities you wanted to see from some Lisseycasey men. David worked extremely hard up and down the field. He does it for
the county and he does it time and again for Doonbeg. Apart from a missed free, everything that left his foot, left or right, from the ground from his hands, from play or frees, went over the bar. He scored 0-8 in total. To help him out you had the likes of Colm Dillon
around the edge of the box. He’s mid-30s and has probably lost a bit of pace but what he has is a huge presence in the square. Lisseycasey did a good job in cleaning up for so long, but it was going to happen eventually – a high floater ball came in. Colm Dillon came in and took goalie, full-back and everyone with him and hammered it into the net with his fist. That was a big turning point.
In Lisseycasey’s defence, they have had three or four injuries to deal with but at the same time, the spirit and fight didn’t seem to be there, which has carried on from the Corofin game. Lisseycasey have loads of football but will need extra drive from leaders such as Francie Hayes, Niall Kelly and Conor Finucane to drag it out of the fire against Breckans.
FOR THE SEMIS…
The semi final draw was a huge letdown from a football point of view, that Miltown and Cratloe are meeting. I feel they are the form sides and would have made up a cracking final. Anyway, it’s going to make a cracking semi-final.
That’s not taking away from Kilmurry, who you can never rule out but they’re an ageing side and I feel if they met one of those sides in the QF they would have struggled.
Cratloe Miltown is extremely hard to call. Cratloe have 11 or 12 dual players but they seem to have that mastered and they have this freshness about them at the moment – they’re scoring at will. But, Miltown won the championship two years ago and have a lot of intercounty experience.
They get men behind the ball which won’t suit Cratloe so the tactics in this game will be intriguing.
You would think Kilmurry will be waiting for them – but you would have thought Eire Og would beat Ennistymon too. What they’ve produced so far this year may not get the Bricks over the line.