*Joey Rouine battles with Conor Finucane. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill.
ENNISTYMON must now treat every game as knockout in the TUS Clare SFC following their shock six point loss to Lissycasey.
Manager of the North Clare Magpies, Mark Shanahan admitted that their backs are now to the wall after failing to put successive wins together. “It’s knockout now which focuses the minds even more, it’s as simple as that, we’ve to win to stay alive now, sport is gas, it’s just a case of getting on the horse again and learning as much as we can from this outing. Mistakes were the tale for us”.
Falling five points behind in the first twenty minutes and only landing a single score in the opening half was crucial to the outcome, he acknowledged. “I think early on they started dictating the terms of engagement, they got a grip early, they dealt with the conditions better, they got that bit of a lead and never relinquished it, they were well worth their win”.
Shanahan was adamant that they cannot afford to wallow in defeat. “We have to bounce back, sport doesn’t be long changing, we had the couple of wins lately with the Cusack Cup final and the first round of the championship but we’re back to the drawing board now, we were comprehensively beaten, we tried our best but we just weren’t good enough on the night. They dealt with the conditions better, they got a lot right and they were well worth their win”.
Resilience had been a trait cited by the Ennistymon boss as central to their progress in reaching a first county final in four years last season. He didn’t feel it was sufficiently lacking from their efforts in their loss to Lissycasey. “I still think we went to the end but in general I think the mistakes and the fact that we weren’t dealing with the conditions, when you continue to make mistake after mistake I think that was more the story than lacking in resilience, we made too many mistakes and couldn’t get to within two or three points in the second half, it was all about Lissycasey they were really good”.
He told The Clare Echo, “We had played the last match in bad conditions, they were not as bad but the night in Corofin was quite bad, for whatever reason the ball wasn’t going to hand and when you start doing that multiple times you lose your grip and then you’re chasing, when you’re chasing then it’s not easy particularly against a team playing to such a standard on the night”.
With one win and one loss to their names, it puts Ennistymon in the exact same position as they were last year when approaching the final round. Their third round clash with Doonbeg in Miltown Malbay was only decided in the closing stages as within a matter of minutes they ended up going from heading to a preliminary quarter-final to topping the group.
This time round it is Cratloe who await in the third round that will decide their season. All four teams in Group 3 now have one win to their name after the second round meaning each of them has the potential to top the group or end up in a relegation battle.
On Friday evening, Ennistymon lined out without the injured cohort of Clare seniors Cillian and Brendy Rouine, their first-cousin Sean Rouine, defender Darragh Conneally and attacker Diarmuid Fahy. Shanahan at best hopes to be able to call on one if not two of these injured bodies for the final round.