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*Colin Crehan. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

O’Callaghan’s Mills fired the last four points to snatch victory and ensure their senior status for 2022 alongside opponents Clooney-Quin in Meelick on Saturday afternoon.

O’Callaghans Mills 0-13
Clooney/Quin 1-08
Venue: Meelick

In weather conditions that you would put a duck out in, the gale only strengthened as the game developed which benefited a resurgent Mills (+5) who eventually produced an eight point turnaround to finish on level points with Cloone/Quin (+9) and Crusheen (-4).

Epitomising the mass confusion surrounding the format, fixtures and even whether scoring difference is permitted to relegate a team, it probably won’t be the last one hears of this relegation process but for the moment, Clooney/Quin and O’Callaghan’s Mills prevail for another year at the expense of former champions Crusheen and Clarecastle.

O’Callaghan’s Mills, only a year on from contesting the county senior final, finished with back-to-back victories to rescue their season, only hitting the front for the first time in the 58th minute, thanks to Jacob Loughnane who was outstanding from placed balls with a ten point haul.

Conditions were atrocious, with Clooney/Quin using the wind advantage to carve out a 0-5 to 0-3 lead by the opening water break after a brace of Peter Duggan frees were bolstered by points from Martin Duggan, Ryan Taylor and Dylan Cunningham.

O’Callaghan’s Mills would have been relatively satisfied with that scoreline, considering the conditions, keeping their opponents scoreless for the first ten minutes of the second quarter before Peter Duggan upped the ante with a trademark goal from a 20 metre free that caught the Mills’ defence unawares at 1-5 to 0-3.

Duggan and Loughnane subsequently traded frees to cement a 1-6 to 0-4 interval scoreline, with the Mills re-emerging with all guns blazing to hit five of the first six points, four from Loughnane to slash the arrears to the minimum by the 43rd minute.

A Peter Duggan free did give Clooney-Quin some breathing space by the final water break at 1-8 to 0-9 but it would be their final score as the wind turned into a storm for the remainder.

Indeed, in a major turning point in the 55th minute, Peter Duggan was sent off for a second yellow, with Jacob Loughnane converting the resultant free from 55 metres to level the tie at 1-8 to 0-11.

And with the bit between their teeth, there was only going to be one winner amidst a tense finale as a momentum-fuelled Mills fittingly finished with a brace of Loughnane frees to save their senior souls.

Scorers for O’Callaghan’s Mills: Jacob Loughnane (0-10, 9f); Gary Cooney, Sean Cotter, Conor Henry (0-1 each)

Scorers for Clooney-Quin: Peter Duggan (1-5f); Martin Duggan, Ryan Taylor, Dylan Cunningham (0-1 each)

O’Callaghans Mills:
1: Killian Nugent

2: Ciaran Cooney
3: Conor Cooney
4: Gerry Cooney

5: Patrick Donnellan
6: Aidan O’Gorman
7: Michael Cotter

8: Sean O’Gorman
9: Aidan Fawl

10: Jacob Loughnane
11: Colin Crehan
12: Cormac Murphy

13: Gary Cooney
14: Sean Cotter
15: Adrian Flaherty

18: Colm Cleary for Flaherty (33)
22: Conor Henry for S. O’Gorman (46)
27: Conor ‘Elmhill’ Cooney for Fawl (56)

1: Keith Hogan

4: Donnchadh Murphy
3: Shane McNamara
2: Bryan McInerney

7: Darragh Keogh
6: Cillian Duggan
5: John Conneally

8: Conor Harrison
9: Luke Harrison

12: Ryan Taylor
11: Peter Duggan
10: Martin Duggan

13: Dylan Cunningham
14: Fergal Lynch
15: Ronan O’Donnell

24: Alan Culligan for O’Donnel (42)

Referee: Jarlath Donnellan (Wolfe Tones)

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