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Kilmaley’s Sean O’Loughlin with Ballyea’s Morgan Garry. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

Clooney/Quin, Feakle, Kilmaley, Clonlara and Crusheen collected wins as the first round of the Clare Cup began over the weekend.

Clare Cup 1A Round 1
Clooney-Quin 2-22 Cratloe 2-17
Venue: Pairc Micheál Uí hEithir, Cratloe

Not even a late fightback from their hosts could dampen Clooney-Quin’s spirits as they garnered a much needed opening victory on Saturday afternoon.

Without a competitive victory since capturing the Senior B almost two years previously, it was a significant marker that saw Clooney-Quin dominate for the majority and even hold an 11 point cushion by the turn of the final quarter.

Fresh faces in the side all made an impact with Darragh Keogh top-scoring with ten points, Eoin Guilfoyle chipping in with 1-2 while Oisin Egan also got in on the scoring action.

Final quarter goals for Shane Neville and Rian Considine came too late for Cratloe who despite scoring the first point were chasing the visitors for the remainder of the contest.

After an even start, Clooney-Quin passed up the opportunity to put clear daylight between the sides when Cillian Duggan’s penalty cleared the crossbar. However, they did finally made the breakthrough before the break with an opportunist strike from Eoin Guilfoyle after Fergal Lynch’s initial effort was stopped at 1-12 to 0-09.

Despite losing influential centre-back Duggan to injury, Clooney-Quin effectively ended Cratloe’s hopes with a second goal through Ronan O’Donnell on their way to an unassailable 2-18 to 0-13 advantage by the turn of the final quarter.

A Neville goal finally sparked some urgency in the home side but despite a second Cratloe consolation from Considine at the death, it was clearly Clooney-Quin’s day.

Clooney-Quin: Keith Hogan; John Conneally, Shane McNamara, Ruaidhri McNamara; Conor Harrison, Cillian Duggan, Mike McNamara; Donnchadh Murphy, Oisin Egan; Darragh Keogh, Mike Corry, Eoghan O’Brien; Eoin Guilfoyle, Fergal Lynch, Ronan O’Donnell

Subs: Jimmy Corry for Duggan (inj), Eanna Barry for M. McNamara, Alan Culligan for O’Donnell, Enda Harrison for Lynch

Cratloe: Gearoid Ryan; Daithi Collins, Liam Markham, Damien Browne; Aaron Costigan, Michael Hawes, Kevin Danaher; Jamie Costigan, David Collins; Shane Gleeson, Shane Neville, Mark O’Brien; Rian Considine, Jack McInerney, Conor McGrath

Subs: Enda Boyce for J. Costigan, Martin ‘Oige’ Murphy for David Collins, Sean Chaplin for Danaher, Shane O’Leary for Daithi Collins

Kilmaley 1-20 Ballyea 1-15
Venue: Kilmaley

An early Daire Keane goal provided the impetus for Kilmaley to snatch the early bragging rights against neighbours Ballyea on home soil on Saturday evening.

Having been level on three occasions, Keane’s batted goal by the tenth minute handed the Clare Cup holders a lead that they would hold until the final whistle.

The home side had a greater spread of scoring threats in Cian Moloney, Tom O’Rourke, Mikey O’Malley, Sean O’Loughlin and Mikey O’Neill whereas Ballyea, without their county continents in both codes and only a third of the team that contested last year’s county semi-final, relied on Niall Deasy for inspiration.

Kilmaley’s Tom O’Rourke with Ballyea’s Mark Crowe. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

Six clear at 1-11 to 0-08 by the break, the same margin still remained entering the final quarter. So while former county senior Deasy powered through for a late goal to take his tally to 1-10, four points would be as close as Ballyea came to their hosts who fully deserved the first points on offer for 2021.

Kilmaley: Bryan O’Loughlin; Kenneth Kennedy, Colin McGuane, Tommy Barry; Aidan Griffey, Aidan McGuane, Sean Kennedy; Mikey O’Malley, Cathal Darcy; Sean O’Loughlin, Cian Moloney, Tom O’Rourke; Mikey O’Neill, Daire Keane, Joe Carmody

Subs: Brian Cahill for K. Kennedy, Peter Ronan for S. O’Loughlin, Eanna McMahon for Carmody, Sean Ronan for O’Neill (inj), Noel Casey for C. McGuane

Ballyea: Barry Coote; Brian Murphy, Peter Casey, Brian Casey; Mark Crowe, Jack Browne, Brandon O’Connell; Stan Lineen, Evan Wall; Niall Deasy, Mossy Gavin, Morgan Garry; Eoghan Gavin, Daniel Kelly, Eoghan Donnellan

Subs: Tadhg Lynch for Garry (inj), Oisin Hennessy for Coote, Joe Neylon for B. Casey, Dean Minogue for Lynch, Brian Longe for Crowe, Eamonn Breen for E. Gavin

Clonlara 0-21 Inagh-Kilnamona 1-15
Venue: Clonlara

A third quarter surge ensured that Clonlara finally shook off Inagh-Kilnamona in a highly competitive first round contest on Saturday evening.

Level at the break, Clonlara would outscore the visitors by 0-7 to 0-1 by the final water break, with Cathal ‘Tots’ O’Connell to the fore from both placed balls and play to guide them over the line amidst an inevitable Inagh-Kilnamona fightback.

Returning 2013 All-Ireland winning goalkeeper Pa Kelly would save a penalty and score one at the same end in a six point swing that still could not derail a youthful home side.

Inagh-Kilnamona started the better with early braces for Conor Tierney and Evan McNamara but once Clonlara settled, they quickly made up the ground. Points from O’Connell and David Fitzgerald eventually regained parity approaching the break despite the former having a penalty denied.

A sleepy start to the second period would prove costly for Inagh-Kilnamona as an O’Connell-inspired Clonlara carved out a 0-16 to 0-09 cushion by the turn of the final quarter.

Kelly’s penalty after a foul on David Mescall, did offer a glimmer of hope but Clonlara would remain resolute, despite an anxious finale that included another Kelly piledriver.

Clonlara: Cillian O’Brien; Pa Conlon, Paul McNamara, Ger Powell; Jathan McMahon, Paraic O’Loughlin, Dylan McMahon; Sean Begley, Michael Clancy; David Fitzgerald, Ciaran Downey, Cian Moriarty; James Hastings, Cathal O’Connell, Bryan McLeish

Subs: Mick Stritch for Begley, Tom Egan for O’Loughlin, Garrett Kennedy for Powell

Inagh-Kilnamona: Pa Kelly; Cathal McConigley, Colin Shannon, Milo Keane; Jason McCarthy, Kevin Hehir, Brian Foudy; Keith White, Eoin Fitzgerald; Darren Cullinan, Evan McNamara, David Mescall; Conor Tierney, Gerry Coote, Niall Mullins

Subs Marc Barry for Keane (inj), Keith Barry for McNamara (inj), Colm Pilkington for Barry, Liam Hehir for McConigley, Josh Guyler for Fitzgerald

Feakle 2-15 Sixmilebridge 1-13
Venue: Feakle

Two goals in the space of a minute just after half-time proved decisive in helping Feakle to lower county champions Sixmilebridge on Sunday afternoon.

With the sides locked together at 0-9 to 0-9 at half-time, Feakle would stun the back-to-back Canon Hamilton winners with superb strikes from Oisin Donnellan and Raymond Bane to soar seven clear only five minutes into the new half.

Indeed, allied to Shane McGrath’s ten point haul, a handsome contribution of 2-13 from their half-forward line was instrumental in opening up an eight point cushion by the turn for home.

Sixmilebridge inevitable came thundering back but despite a plethora of scoring chances, could only muster a Jamie Shanahan goal as Feakle got the new season off to the best possible start.

Feakle: Stevie Moloney; Ger Hanrahan, Evan McMahon, James Noonan; Con Smyth, Eoin Tuohy, Austin McMahon; Killian Bane, Oisin Clune; Oisin Donnellan, Shane McGrath, Raymond Bane; Enda Noonan, Fiachra Donnellan, Steven Conway

Subs Adam Hogan for F. Donnellan, Eoin O’Connor for O. Donnellan (inj)

Sixmilebridge: Derek Fahy; Evan McInerney, Noel Purcell, Christy Carey; Leon Kelly, Seadna Morey, Pa Mulready; Jason Loughnane, Dylan Downes; Alan Mulready, Jamie Shanahan, Conor Deasy; Alex Morey, Brian Corry, Jack Corry

Sub Adam Breen for Downes

Crusheen 1-19 Broadford 1-17
Venue: Broadford

The final action of the weekend certainly didn’t disappoint as Crusheen and Broadford played out a tough opening battle before the former prevailed on Sunday evening.

Despite a number of newcomers on both sides, Crusheen just managed to keep their noses in front for the majority to earn two valuable opening points for new manager Kevin Sheehan.

A clinical goal from debutant Luke Ketelaar entering the final quarter appeared to be the final nail in the home side’s coffin at 1-17 to 0-14.

However, 1-1 from Stiofan McMahon would revive Broadford’s challenge, eventually lessening the deficit to the minimum. A second 20 metre free from the county panelist would be stopped deep into additional time though as Crusheen held on for the win.

Crusheen: Donal Tuohy; Ian O’Brien, Eanna McMahon, Mark Perrill; Tadhg Dean, Cian Dillon, Ross Hayes; Oisin O’Donnell, Fergus Kennedy; Cillein Mullins, Conor O’Donnell, Luke Ketelaar; Murrough McMahon, Jamie Fitzgibbon, Breffni Horner

Sub: Luke Hayes for Perrill

Broadford: Cian O’Brien, Jack Dillon, Darragh Whelan, Davy Boland; Darren McNamara, Paurig Taylor, Paddy Donnellan; Diarmuid Moloney, Shane Taylor; Craig Chaplin, Diarmuid O’Brien, Paul Moloney; Stiofan McMahon, Cian Cremins, James Vaughan

Subs: Eoin O’Brien for Moloney, Mark Moloney for Vaughan, Cathal Chaplin for Cremins, Conor Phelan for Craig Chaplin

Goals from Colin Crehan, Sean Cotter, Bryan Donnellan and Jacob Loughnane saw O’Callaghan’s Mills began the new Clare Cup 1B campaign in ruthless fashion with a 4-25 to 0-17 victory over an understrength Éire Óg in Ennis on Saturday evening.

Last year’s county finalists grabbed three majors in the first half alone to ease 3-12 to 0-09 clear by the break before a fourth at the turn of the final quarter from Loughnane, who finished with 1-11, put the result beyond any doubt.

Goals were also central to St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield’s 3-25 to 2-18 victory over Sixmilebridge’s second string on away soil on Saturday evening. First half strikes from Cathal Ruane and Conor Tierney helped the Parish to build up a 2-14 to 0-12 half-time advantage before the latter’s second by the two thirds mark provided the buffer to be able to withstand a home backlash.

Newmarket-on-Fergus also dug out a gritty away victory by 1-21 to 0-20 when flipping a four point deficit into a four point victory amidst a seesaw second half in Killaloe on Friday evening. Mikey McInerney’s goal midway through the second period was crucial for the Blues who had led by 0-12 to 0-10 by the break.

Tulla produced a similar turnaround in fortunes with a rousing 0-19 to 0-17 comeback win over Wolfe Tones, having found themselves trailing by four by half-time.

However, the biggest steal of the opening weekend was in Whitegate on Saturday evening as a strong home finish with the last four points saw them pip Clarecastle to the post by 1-21 to 2-17. Having trailed from Jack Murphy’s opening goal after only two minutes, Michael Hynes inspired a late Whitegate revival to hit the front at the death for the only time of a healthy first round contest.

In Division 2, Scariff had three points to spare over Corofin winning 1-20 1-17, Newmarket-on-Fergus almost caused a major shock but had to settle for a share of the spoils against a Clive Early inspired Tubber, it finished 3-17 5-11. Inagh/Kilnamona defeated 2020 Junior A champions Kilmaley 2-17 0-19 while Clooney/Quin had the upset of the Division by overcoming Parteen 0-22 1-14. Ruan hung on to beat Cratloe 1-21 3-14.

Division 3 hurling: Crushen 4-12 Broadford 1-18; Ogonnelloe 4-16 Eire Og 0-9; Killanena 2-16 Clarecastle 0-14;

Division 4 hurling; O’Callaghans Mills 3-22 Banner 1-15; Ennistymon 0-14 Meelick 0-7; Inagh-Kilnamona 4-19 Newmarket 3-9; St. Josephs 1-16 Ballyea 1-12;

Division 5 A hurling; Kilmaley 3-18 Clonlara 1-10; Sixmilebridge 1-15 Whitgate 0-14; Scariff 3-23 Eire Og 0-6; Smith O’Briens 3-22 Feakle 5-16;

Division 5 B hurling; Ruan walkover Parteen scratch; Killanena walkover Ballyea scratch; Tulla 1-19 Corofin 2-13; Wolfe Tones 1-11 Tubber 0-14;

Division 5 C hurling; Clooney-Quin 1-21 Clonbony 1-12; Broadford walkover Clarecastle scratch; Ennistymon 1-11 Bodyke 0-10;

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