*Sean Cotter gets his strike away. Photograph: Ruth Griffin
The race to determine the two teams that will lose their senior hurling championship status will go down to the final two games which are scheduled for Saturday next.
O’Callaghans Mills 3-15
O’Callaghans Mills, last year’s beaten championship finalists, kept their hopes of remaining in the top grade alive when they accounted for Clarecastle.
In their final game next week the Mills will face Clooney/Quin who have already beaten both Clarecastle and Crusheen who will face each other in a game which Clarecastle must win if they are to have any chance of avoiding the drop.
Should the Magpies manage to win that one they will also need Clooney/Quin to overcome the Mills for them to stay up. It may well be that the final outcome will rest on score difference.
Initially scheduled to be played at Cratloe, this afternoon’s game was moved to Meelick and the time was put back from 2p.m. to 2.30p.m.to facilitate those involved and their supporters.
However, a serious traffic accident led to the closure of a section of the Clare to Limerick dual carrigaway and this resulted in long delays and many of those due to be involved in the game including some of the officials, were delayed resulting in the game not getting underway until 3.30p.m.
O’Callaghans Mills got off to a tremendous start with full forward Sean Cotter finding the net after just fourteen seconds. It gave them a lead they would hold to the final whistle. A second goal followed from Gary Cooney and the Mills led at the first waterbreak on a scoreline of 2-4 to 0-6.
They dominated the second quarter confining their opponents to just one point and when the half time whistle sounded they led 3-9 to 0-7, their third goal having come from Colin Crehan.
To their credit, Clarecastle fought back strongly in the second half and they could have been closer but for some missed opportunities. They failed to capitalise from five frees while they also hit some wides from play when well positioned,
Conor Halpin and David Tuohy struck for their goals but the eleven point deficit they had to make up proved too much and the Mills held on for a merited win.
Scorers O’C. Mills; Jacob Loughnane (0-9, 7f); Sean Cotter (1-2) Gary Cooney, Colin Crehan (1-1) each; Cormac Murphy, Sean O’Gorman (0-1) each;
Scorers Clarecastle: Bobby Duggan (0-10, 8f) Conor Halpin (1-1) David Tuohy(1-0), Jack Murphy, Niall Galvin (0-1) each
Colm Cleary for Flaherty;
Fionn Hickey for S. O’Gorman;
Conor Henry for Fawl.
Cillian Casey for O’Connell
Stephen Ward for Hartigan
Pa Kelly for O’Halloran
Oisin Casey for Halpin
Colin Brigdale for McDermott
Referee: Rory McGann (Newmarket-on-Fergus)