*Joe McGann. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
St Breckan’s eased into a third Clare Senior Football Championship Semi-Final in four years after holding off Lissycasey in Cusack Park.
St Breckan’s 1-9
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis
Having witnessed nervy minimum victories for Cratloe and holders Éire Óg 24 hours earlier, St Breckan’s had a much more comfortable passage to the last four when leading from start to fin-ish to end Lissycasey’s previous momentum-fuelled run.
A third consecutive victory was much more satisfactory than their last outing against neighbours Corofin at the same venue as they controlled matters from the outset, remaining patient and composed at the back before seeing upon opportunities to inject pace into their counter-attacks and pick off scores.
Indeed, while Joe McGann raided for the clinching goal at the 50 minute mark, Lissycasey were fortunate to survive three other golden opportunities that resilient goalkeeper Kilian Normoyle re-pelled to keep the final margin down.
St Breckan’s superior clinicalness in front of the posts was remarkable as they only kicked two wides over the entire hour while never coughing up one goal chance to their opponents.
That said, St Breckan’s stopper Mark O’Donnell was still the busiest of all goalkeepers at the weekend as he played a sweeper role alongside the excellent Liam Tierney to ensure that their side were always in cruise control.
Raiding for the first five points through Jamie Stack, Alan Sweeney, Cian Burke, Shane Fitzpatrick and Jamie Stack, Declan O’Keeffe’s side could afford to move the ball around their defence with little pressure as it took until the 25th minute for Lissycasey to finally get off the mark through Aa-ron Griffin.
A Conor Finnucane injury-time free did lessen the half-time damage to three at 0-5 to 0-2 but it was only a temporary reprieve as St Breckan;’s resumed with three of the first four points of the new half, two from Stack frees, to quench any intended backlash.
Killian Normoyle did keep Lissycasey in the contest when denying Shane Fitzpatrick at the turn of the final quarter but he would be powerless to prevent talisman McGann from billowing the net only a few minutes later after a fitting counter from Mark O’Donnell and Liam Tierney.
While Lissycasey craved a like response, it was St Breckan’s that appeared most likely to find the net again as Cian Burke and Shane Fitzpatrick both had shots repelled by Normoyle on their way back to a first semi-final since 2021.
Scorers for St Breckan’s: Jamie Stack 0-5 (3f); Joe McGann 1-0, Alan Sweeney 0-1, Cian Burke 0-1, Shane Fitzpatrick 0-1, Maccon Byrne 0-1
Scorers for Lissycasey: Aaron Griffin 0-2, Conor Finnucane 0-1 (f), Connor Meaney 0-1, Shane Griffin 0-1
16: Mark O’Donnell
4; Paddy Doherty
3: Raphael Considine
2: Conor Burke
5: Colm O’Brien
12: Alan Sweeney
7: Jack Sheedy
8: Padraig Kelly
18: Liam Tierney
6: Cian Burke
14: Shane Fitzpatrick
10: Maccon Byrne
15: Rowan Danaher
13: Jamie Stack
11: Joe McGann
19: Padraig O’Dwyer for Considine (49)
22: Cathal Guerin for Danaher (57)
20: Eoin Guerin for Fitzpatrick (40)
1: Killian Normoyle
4: Michael Meaney
3: Francie Hayes
2: Kevin Shivers
5: Daire Hill
15: Niall Kelly
7: Cyril Sheehan
6: Matt O’Shea
9: Darren Keane
8: Darragh Killeen
11: Enda Finnucane
14: Conor Finnucane
12: Shane Griffin
13: Aaron Griffin
10: Connor Meaney
17: Niall McCarthy for Hayes (22)
18: Fionn Cotter for Sheehan (44, inj)
19: Luke Griffin for C. Meaney (51, inj)
21: Sean Hayes for Kelly (55)
20: Shane Culligan for S. Griffin (57)
Referee: Niall Quinn (St Joseph’s Miltown)