*Cormac Murray. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

St Josephs Miltown’s hopes of a third Clare senior football title in a row are alive and well.

St Josephs Miltown 3-14
Cooraclare 1-5
Venue: St Michael’s Park, Kilmihil

At rain lashed Kilmihil this Thursdy evening, Miltown’s greater experience proved too much for Cooraclare.

The title holders led throughout and were full value for their win which sees them through to play Cratloe or Clondegad on Sunday evening in Cusack Park.

Cooraclare were dealt a big blow as early as the third minute when they lost defender Niall Kelly to injury. They started well and led by the odd point in three inside ten minutes, Micheál Garry and Killian Roche converting frees in reply to Eoin Cleary’s opening free for the winners.

A brace from Cormac Murray, Miltown’s top scorer on the evening, put the winners into the lead by the eleventh minute and they never looked back from here.

Ger Malone and Cleary followed with points for Miltown who led 0-5 to 0-2 at the first water break.

Weather conditions were good when the game started but ten minutes in the heavens opened and much of the remainder of the tie was played in a downpour

The game’s opening goal came five minutes from the half time whistle when Cormac Murray finished a sweeping move when shooting low past Killian Roche and this gave Miltown a 1-6 to 0-2 lead at the interval.

Cooraclare needed a good start to the second half but it was Miltown who picked up where they had left off with Murray pointing two minutes in and then finishing another sweeping move when finding the net for the second time.

Cooraclare then lost Colin McNamara to a black card and as the end of the third quarter approached the Miltown men led 1-9 to 0-3.

Cooraclare were thrown a life line when they were awarded a penalty which Jack Morissey converted and he quickly followed with a point to make it 1-9 to 1-4.

Just after the second water break Miltown introduced Euan Reidy and he signalled his arrival with the team’s third goal, finishing off another impressive team move. Five unanswered points followed as Cooralare’s challenge faded.

They must now turn their attentions to the senior B competiton and a semi-final date with Ennistymon.

Seanie Malone, Gordon Kelly, Brian Curtin, Conor Cleary, Eoin Cleary and the impressive Cormac Murray stood out for the winners.

Scorers St Josephs Miltown: Cormac Murray (2-4); Eoin Cleary (0-6, 4f); Euan Reidy (1-0) Ger Malone, Conor Cleary, Oisin Looney, Kevin Keavey (0-1) each

Scorers Cooraclare: Jack Morrissey (1-2, 1-0 penalty) Micheál Garry (free) Killian Roche(free), Pearse Lillis (free) 0-1 each

St Josephs Miltown:

1: Sean O’Brien

2: Eoin O’Brien
3: Seanie Malone (capt)
18: Colin Hehir

5: Aidan McGuane
6: Gordon Kelly
15: Brian Curtin

8: Oisin Looney
9: Conor Cleary

10: Micheál Murray
11: Eoin Cleary
24: Cian Mahoney

13: Graham Kelly
14: Cormac Murray
20: Ger Malone

19: Kevin Keavey for Graham Kelly (inj. 41)
7: Euan Reidy for G. Malone(49)
21: Cian Flanagan for Hehir (51)
17: Jamesie O’Connor for M. Murray (55)
25: Joe Carmody for Looney (58)

1: Killian Roche

2: Fergal Donnellan
3: Niall Kelly
4: Declan McMahon

5: Ronan Donnellan
6: Colin McNamara
17: Thomas Donnellan

8: Pearse Lillis
9: Tadhg Lillis

10: Tom Downes
11: Ciaran O’Donoghue
12: Padraig O’Dnoghue

19: Caoimhin Donnellan
7: Micheál Garry
15: Jack Morrissey;

22: Robert Ryan for Kelly (inj., 3)
18: Jason Lillis for R. Donnellann (44)
20: John Lillis for C. Donnellan (45)
21: Conor Marrinan for McNamara (52)

Referee: Barry Keating (Lissycasey)

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