*Aidan McCarthy was Inagh/Kilnamona’s top scorer. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Inagh/Kilnamona got their championship challenge off to a winning start with a merited win over Crusheen in a tie which failed to reach the heights expected.
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis
The winners were the better side on the evening and while they will be happy to have secured victory they will be disappointed not to have had a greater winning margin as they had dominated the exchanges for much of the tie.
A goal from Aidan McCarthy after twelve minutes helped Inagh/Kilnamona to a seven point lead at half time. Josh Guyler had under-hit an effort for a point and as Donal Tuohy advanced to deal with the delivery, McCarthy flicked the ball past him and then fired to the net.
The winner’s defence dominated what was a particularly disappointing opening half and last year’s finalists were full value for their half time lead with Aidan McCarthy having contributed 1-4 in that opening period which left the score at 1-11 to 0-7.
An Oisin O’Donnell goal after Gerry O’Grady had created the opening five minutes after the resumption of play, got Crusheen off to a good stsart in the second half.
Inagh/Kilnamona quickly cancelled out that score when shooting three unanswered points and that seem to kill the spark which O’Donnell’s goal had created,
The winners will be happy with Aidan McCarthy’s return after missing most of the season due to injury and he contributed 1-7 of his side’s tally.
Notably, last year’s beaten county finalists had a change of goalkeeper for their first round tie. Clare sub goalkeeper Éamonn Foudy got the nod ahead of 2013 All-Ireland winner, Pa Kelly. Eugene Cullinan’s side gave starting debuts to Shane Woods and Sean Rynne while Ronan Mescall made his championship bow from the bench.
Scorers Inagh/Kilnamona: Aidan Mc Carthy (1-7, 0-6 frees); David Fitzgerald (0-3); Niall Mullins, Sean Rynne (0-2) each; Evan McNamara, Josh Guyler, Keelan Guyler, Seamus Foudy (0-1) each
Scorers Crusheen: Ross Hayes (0-3), Oisin O’Donnell (1-0) Murrough McMahon (frees),Jamie Fitxgibbon, Breffni Horney (0-2) each Cian Dillon, Diarmuid Mullins, Cillein Mullins (0-1) each
1: Eamonn Foudy
2: Cathal McConigley
7: Damian Lafferty
4: Colin Shannon
5: Shane Woods
6: Jason McCarthy
9: David Fitzgerald
8: Darren Cullinan
20: Seamus Foudy
10: Evan McNamara
14: Aidan McCarthy
11: Sean Rynne
12: Josh Guyler
19: Niall Mullins
15: Keelan Goyler
12: David Mescall for J. Guyler (37)
17: Shane McInerney for K. Guyler (47)
29: Ronan Mescall for Foudy (49)
23: Conor Tierney for McNamara (59)
25: Eoin Fitzgerald for Mullins (61)
1: Donal Tuohy
4: Mark Perrill
3: Cian Dillon
7: Tadhg Dean
6: Éanna McMahon
5: Diarmuid Mullins
22: Ross Hayes
10: Luke Ketelaar
8: Cilléin Mullins
12: Conor O’Donnell
11: Jamie Fitzgibbon
9: Oisin O’Donnell
13: Murrough McMahon
14: Gerry O’Grady
23: Breffni Horner;
18: Luke Hayes for Ketelaar (41)
15: Fergus Kennedy for C. O’Donnell (43)
2: Gavin O’Brien M. McMahon (50)
20: Ian O’Brien for Perrill (58);
Referee: Niall Malone (Éire Óg)