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*Kilmurry Ibrickane manager, Aiden Moloney. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Unbeaten in two games, Kilmurrv Ibrickane manager Aiden Moloney is understandably pleased with how his charges have started their 2021 Clare SFC campaign.

A first round draw against St Josephs Miltown was followed by a six point win over Ennistymon on Saturday evening. It puts the reigning champions level with Cratloe at the top of the keenly contested Group 1.

Of their three points on the board, manager Aiden Moloney reflected, “We would have settled for that there is no doubt whatsoever. We’ve Cratloe next and that is always going to be a tough game for us, you don’t want to lose any game because you don’t know what is going to happen with the other teams, they are all strong teams. Cooraclare played good against Cratloe, we’ve those two games left and we know we’re going to have to be at our best for it”.

Looking back on their clash with Ennistymon, he said, “We started poorly, Ennistymon ran at us and had a strong midfield at the start, we slowly got into the game and kept the scoreboard ticking over throughout the first half, the second half suited us better as we kept the ball in hand and ran at them and we got a lot of joy in that”.

“If we’re critical we would say we left a little bit more behind us overall, there was opportunities there for us to kill off the game a lot earlier but we didn’t do it”.

Moloney voiced praise for the input of experienced players like Michael O’Dwyer, Enda Coughlan, Darren Hickey and Martin McMahon in setting the way for the Bricks. “The legs mightn’t be what they were but the head is still good and I can say that for a good few lads throughout the team, we need everyone we have, our bench isn’t as strong as we would like it to be. Jason McCarthy came on there today again, did a good job and won some vital balls for us, he did the simple things right”.

New additions are also making their mark, the 2002 county final winning captain flagged. “We’re happy with the young lads coming through, Joe Campbell played quite well for us, we need plenty of reinforcements because we’ve plenty of injuries, Diarmuid King was out today and was a big loss for us, if we can stay injury free we’re not too far off the mark but it is not easy, they are pulling out left, right and centre now”.

On the injury front, Horse is hopeful Noel Downes will be able to overcome a long-term injury while midfielder Diarmuid King who missed Saturday’s game with a hamstring issue will be fighting to regain his spot in the third round.

Ennistymon manager, Noel Crowe felt they failed to produce a sustained display in what was their first championship appearance of the year. “We’re very disappointed with the performance, we felt we started well in the first quarter and got on a bit of possession but after that Kilmurry Ibrickane showed their experience and cohesion, they played particularly well and tagged on a number of points in the second quarter when they had the breeze behind them to give them a cushion, ultimately when they got the goal in the second half it gave them the confidence and the lead which saw them out to the finish”.

Crowe added, “Against the breeze, a goal is a big score for any team and that is ultimately what saw out the game for Kilmurry Ibrickane, that created the cushion which gave them the bit of comfort for the last five minutes”.

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