*Scariff celebrate their success. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography
Scariff have been crowned intermediate hurling champions after deservingly emerging victorious against Tubber on Sunday evening.
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis
“Thanks for staying on” were the words of Scariff’s Jim Nash as he embraced long-serving corner back Padraig Brody moments after the final whistle. Their journey to success was not an overnight one, it was years in the making both in the underage efforts being made in the club along with the continued commitment of their experienced men in going out to battle for the club year after year.
Visible from the start was the nervous manner in which both teams began proceedings. With a limited number of supporters granted access to the contest, they also made their presence heard. Blunders on Scariff’s behalf gifted Tubber two points inside the first four minutes which Clive Earley and Domhnall McMahon duly capitalised on.
Patrick Ryan opened Scariff’s account on four minutes and they found themselves back on level terms when Diarmaid Nash converted a free awarded following a foul on Tomás McNamara. Another Nash free plus a Conor Moloney effort from distance put Mark McKenna’s side four points to two ahead as the teams departed for the first water break.
Scariff extended their advantage on nineteen minutes when Patrick Ryan drove the ball past Ronan Taaffe. Diarmuid McNamara delivered a high ball into their attack which was fielded from the sky by Mark Rodgers, he took on the opposing defence and hand passed to Ryan in space and he made no mistake with the shot on goal.
It seemed to be a wake-up call for Tubber who responded with three points on the bounce. Nash and Rodgers both added further scores at either side of a Blaine Earley double to leave two points between the teams at half-time.
Tubber were without a score for the first ten minutes on the restart as Scariff added white flags through Conor McNamara, Diarmaid Nash and Fergus Madden. The North Clare men then picked off five scores without reply to level matters with less than eight minutes remaining.
Young in their years but not afraid of the big occasion, it was Patrick Ryan and Mark Rodgers that would step up with vital points to steady the ship for the East Clare men. The experienced trio of Ross Horan, Nash and Michael Barrett would also keep the scoreboard ticking, efforts from Blaine and Clive Earley formed part of Tubber’s fight but it wasn’t enough as Scariff atoned for the intermediate decider of 1976 and sealed their third championship win at the grade.
A third final defeat in four years is a tough pill to swallow for Tubber who certainly impressed en route to the big day. Their collective challenge was diluted by Daniel Treacy winning the key battle against Domhnall McMahon, as ever the Earley brothers fought gallantly for Iarla Tannian’s outfit aided by Ronan Monahan, Patrick O’Connor and Joey Droney.
Aided by their mix of youth and experience, Scariff brought the greater edge to proceedings. Captain and full back Michael Scanlan was outstanding at full-back while Patrick Ryan, DaneiL Treacy, Liam Doyle, Diarmaid Nash and Padraig Brody also stood out on a memorable day for the men in green.
Scorers Scariff: D Nash (0-05 4f 1’65), P Ryan (1-02), M Rodgers (0-02), C Moloney (0-01), C McNamara (0-01), F Madden (0-01), R Horan (0-01), M Barrett (0-01).
Scorers Tubber: B Earley (0-07 6f), C Earley (0-04), D McMahon (0-01), J Fawle (0-01), R Monahan (0-01), M Earley (0-01).
Conor Hayes for Madden (39)
Michael Barrett for Corry (44)
James Taaffe for Murray (HT)
Aidan Forde for Culligan (47) (Inj)
David O’Donoghue for J Taaffe (62)
Referee: Niall Malone (Éire Óg)