*Cormac Murray. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

ST JOSEPH’S MILTOWN brought a strong attacking threat which proved decisive in overcoming Doonbeg to start their Clare SFC bid with a three point win.

St Joseph’s Milltown 1-14
Doonbeg 0-14
Venue: Cooraclare

By Peter O’Connell

Although the conditions were challenging, with a mixture of rain and wind making football difficult, both teams served up an entertaining first round tie in Cooraclare on Friday evening.

The difference between the sides was Miltown’s central attackers Cian O’Mahoney and Cormac Murray who contributed 1-12 between them with.

Both were outstanding. Murray, who was black carded in the fiftieth minute, put over 0-5 from play, while O’Mahoney scored Miltown’s late goal.

His performance at centre forward was immense and these two, along with Conor Cleary, who won a couple of late vital marks from Seán O’Brien kick outs and Darragh McDonagh, who excelled at midfield were pivotal in helping Miltown to put two early points on the board.

Doonbeg brought plenty of fight and heart but they could not match Miltown’s attacking threat.

The winners led 0-10 to 0-7 at half-time. What was particularly impressive from both sides in that opening half was that neither registered a wide.

O’Mahoney put over 0-5 in the opening 30 minutes for the winners, with Murray pointing 0-3 while Cian Flanagan and McDonagh added 0-1 each.

David Tubridy, who played quite deep for Doonbeg, pointed 0-3 from frees in that half while Kevin Pender, Seán Conway, Darragh Burns, Paul Dillon from an attacking mark and Cian O’Mahoney also pointed for the Magpies.

Eamon Tubridy made a good save in the eighth minute from Murray who got a flick to an early delivery and in fact the Miltown full-forward looked very dangerous when he was fed with quick ball.

Miltown struggled for a time to retain their kickouts in the first half and lost three in a row at one point, while Doonbeg were also erratic kick out wise. The movement for the kick outs wasn’t always up to scratch for the men from the Long Village.

Miltown played into the breeze in the second half and while Doonbeg got to within two points of them when Darragh Burns pointed his second point in the 59th minute, Martin Guerin’s side showed impressive composure in the last few minutes in winning crucial kick outs and also holding onto possession.

Conor Cleary, who lined out at centre-back, Gordon Kelly and Seanie Malone were vital in this regard.

Murray was black carded for a trip in the 50th minute and Miltown definitely missed his movement and his scoring threat. Remember they were without Eoin Cleary for the whole game which illustrates that after a disappointing 2022, where they beat Kilmihil in a relegation final, they are building nicely again.

Both teams face games against Éire Óg and Clondegad in the coming weeks and Doonbeg know that they must somehow pull out a result next time out.

Their attitude was good and they tried very hard but their attacking play lacked a it of variety and threat.

Referee Barry Keating generally let the game flow and he put pressure on both goalkeepers not to delay their kick outs, pulling both for taking too long.

On what was not an ideal evening for football the surface in Cooraclare was excellent and what was a decent crowd enjoyed a game where both teams gave their all throughout the hour.

Scorers St Joseph’s Miltown: Cian O’Mahoney 1-7, (3f), Cormac Murray 0-5, Cian Flanagan and Darragh McDonagh 0-1 each.

Scorers Doonbeg: David Tubridy 0-7 (6f), Cian O’Mahoney and Darragh Burns 0-2 each, Kevin Pender, Seán Conway and Paul Dillon (M) 0-1 each.

St Joseph’s Miltown:
1: Seán O’Brien

6: Enda O’Gorman (captain)
3: Seanie Malone
4: Gordon Kelly

5: Gearóid Burke
19: Conor Cleary
7: Cian Flanagan

8: Oisin Looney
9: Darragh McDonagh

10: Seán Neylon
11: Cian O’Mahoney
12: Jamesie O’Connor

13: Brian Curtin
14: Cormac Murray
17: Micheál Murray

Subs:
18: Gearóid Curtin for Jamesie O’Connor (37)
20: Paul Frawley for Micheál Murray (55)
28: Euan Lineen for Seán Neylon (60).

Doonbeg:
1: Eamon Tubridy

19: Cian O’Mahoney (captain)
3: Conor O’Mahoney
4: Jason Linnane

5: Cian Clancy
6: Joe Blake
7: Gavin O’Shea

8: Kevin McInerney
9: Kevin Pender

10: Seán Conway
11: Eoin Killeen
12: Cathal Killenn

13: Darragh Burns
14: Paul Dillon
15: David Tubridy

Subs:
21: Brian Behan for Gavin O’Shea (47),
18: James Killeen for Cian Clancy (55)
22: Kevin O’Brien-Finn for Paul Dillon (60).

Referee: Barry Keating (Lissycasey)

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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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