*Rian Considine’s first half goal marked a turning point in the game. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Cratloe overwhelmed county champions Ballyea to inflict a first championship defeat on the men in black and amber since September 2020.
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis
Going into this game in group 2 of the senior hurling championship there were mixed views as to the likely winners. That said, few, if any, would have predicted a thirteen point between two sides who were unbeaten in the competition to date.
For much of the first half, the indications were that there would be little between the teams at the end but a brace of goals in as many minutes just before the short whistle gave Cratloe an edge that they would hold to the finish.
They resumed in determined fashion and extended their lead by two points in as many minutes before Ballyea were reduced to fourteen men when defender Brandon O’Connell was shown a straight red following a rash challenge.
From here on there really was only one team in it and Cratloe outscored the title holders 0-9 to 0-1 in a twelve minute spell to seal victory.
While both sides had already qualified for the quarter finals before this meeting, Cratloe and Ballyea named almost full strength teams for their meeting at Cusack Park this Saturday evening suggesting that they both felt victory was important.
The play in the opening quarter didn’t mirror this as exchanges were rather tame but things livened up as half time approached and two goals in as many minutes as the game went into added time saw Cratloe take the lead and bring a seven point lead to the break when the score was 2-7 to 0-6.
David and Podge Collins, Cathal McInerney, Oige Murphy until injured and Conor McGrath were prominent throughout for the winners.
Jack Browne, Gearoid O’Connell, Pearse Lillis and Mossy Gavin did well for Ballyea.
Ballyea are likely to be concerned about the lack of sharpness in their play but they will welcome a four week break now as they have a bye in the final round when Cratloe will take on O’Callaghans Mills.
Scorers Cratloe: Rian Considine (1-7, 0-5 frees); Podge Collins, Cathal McInerney (0-4) each; Mikey Hawes (1-0); Shane Gleeson, Shane Neville (0-2) each; Diarmuid Ryan, Conor McGrath (0-1) each
Scorers Ballyea: Niall Deasy (0-4, 2 frees, 1 ‘65); Mossy Gavin (0-3) Jack Browne (0-3), Tony Kelly (0-2); Cathal O’Connor, Aaron Griffin (0-1) each
1: Gearoid Ryan
2: David Collins
3: Liam Markham
4: Damian Browne
5: Shane Neville
6: Diarmuid Ryan
7: Sean Collins
8: Daithi Collins
22: Oige Murphy
9: Conor McGrath
13: Shane Gleeson
12: Cathel McInerney
11: Podge Collins
14: Mikey Hawes
15: Rian Considine
21;Jack McInerney for Murphy (inj. 49)
19: Sam Sheedy for Considine (50)
1: Barry Coote
3: Peter Casey
4: Paul Flanagan
2: Gearoid O’Connell
5: James Murphy
6: Jack Browne
7: Brandon O’Connell
8: Tony Kelly
9: Thomas Kelly
10: Cathal O’Connor
18: Cathal Doohan
11: Pearse Lillis
13: Mossy Gavin
14: Niall Deasy
15: Aaron Griffin
12: Morgan Garry for Murphy (27)
22; Cillian Brennan for O’Connor (43)
20: Brian Casey for Flanagan (inj. 50)
19: Martin O’Leary for Griffin (55)
21: Stan Lineen for Doohan (55)
Referee: Rory McGann (Newmarket-on-Fergus)