*Martin O’Leary. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Martin O’Leary’s goal just as the third quarter drew to a close, proved to be the crucial score as Kilmihil overcame Doonbeg to seal a quarter final place in the 2021 Clare senior football championship.

Kilmihil 1-9
Doonbeg 0-11
Venue: Cooraclare

When Doonbeg went five points clear ten minutes into the second half, the Magpies looked to be on their way to a place in the last eight.

Kilmihil had other ideas however, and a storming final five minutes to the third quarter proved decisive as they struck for 1-3 to lead by the minimum margin at the second water break. In a defence dominated final quarter, each side managed just one point leaving Kilmihil ahead at the final whistle for what their followers will say was an overdue win over the Magpies.

Doonbeg will question the decision to signal an effort from Paul Dillon as a wide in the final minute of normal time. A number of Doonbeg players protested strongly but referee Niall Quinn stuck by the decision of his umpires having consulted with both at the scoreboard end following Doonbeg’s protests.

The early exchanges were even and at the first water break the sides were locked together at 0-2 each. Having played with the aid of the wind, Kilmihil be disappointed not to have been in front as they had missed a couple of good scoring opportunities.

Doonbeg dominated the opening ten minutes of the second quarter and landed four unanswered points on their way to a half time lead on a 0-7 to 0-5 scoreline. When the second half got underway, they took up where they had left off and landed three points without reply to double their lead, 0-10 to 0-5.

It didn’t look good for Kilmihil at this stage but enter David Ryan and he went to full forward and quickly landed two points. With Gearoid O’Grady causing a lot of problems with his runs through the opposing defence, they created more opportunities. O’Grady pointed and Doonbeg’s lead was back to two points when Martin O’Leary drilled a powerful left footed effort to the roof of the net seconds before the whistle sounded for the second water break.
With momentum on their side Kilmihil continued to attack when play resumed and stretched their lead to two points when Ciaran Downes converted a 45 which came when David Ryan’s effort was deflected behind.

With the game slipping from their grasp, Doonbeg piled on the pressure and following a great run by Ronan Good, David Tubridy converted a close in free to leave the minimum between the teams two minutes from the end of normal time.

This was followed by Paul Dillon’s disputed strike which a number of Doonbeg players on the stand side of the grounds argued was between the uprights.

The Magpies did have a couple of chances in the closing minutes but they failed to convert these and Kilmihil held on for victory and a place in the last eight on a day when Shane and Gavin Downes, Gearoid O’Grady, Martin O’Leary and substitute David Ryan made valuable contributions.

Tadhg Lillis, Padraig Aherne, Brian Behan in the opening half and David Tubridy were prominent for Doonbeg.

Scorers Kilmihil; Martin O’Leary (1-1), Ciaran Downes (0-4, 2f, 1 ‘45); David Ryan (0-2), Shane Egan, Gearoid O’Grady (0-1) each

Scorers Doonbeg: David Tubridy (0-5,3f) Shane Ryan (0-3) Brian Behan (0-2), Brian Egan (0-1)

Kilmihil:
1: Damian Lineen

2: Fionn Febbraro
4: Shane Downes
18: David Coughlan

5: Gavin Downes
24: Allen Normoyle
7: John Finnucane

8: David Lernihan
9: Conor Finnucane

3: Stan Lineen
11: Ciaran Downes
15: Gearoid O’Grady

14: Martin O’Leary
21: Shane Egan
12: Sean Crowley

Subs:
19: Cathal Murray for S. Egan (35)
20: David Ryan for C. Finnucane (37)
17: Dan Keating for J. Finnucane (57)

Doonbeg:
1: Eamonn Tubridy

7: James Killeen
3: Ronan Good
4: Conor O’Mahoney

5: Paraic Aherne
6: Tadhg Lillis
12: Jason Linnane

11: Michael Tubridy
9: Kevin Pender

2: Cian O’Mahoney
14: David Tubridy
22: Brian Behan

20: Shane Ryan
10: Cathal Killeen
18: Paul Dillon

Subs:
17: Brian Egan for M. Tubridy (inj. 13);
23: Eoin Killeen for Cian O’Mahoney (half time);
13: EoghanTubridy for Behan (45)
21: Cillian Blake for B. Egan (47)

Referee; Niall Quinn (St Josephs Miltown)

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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