*Sixmilebridge’s Jason Loughnane scraps for possession with Liam Corry. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Sixmilebridge have got their defence of the Canon Hamilton off to a winning start recording a five point win over Éire Óg.
Éire Óg 0-12
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis
Although they played the final twenty five minutes with only fourteen men, Sixmilebridge still had the upper hand to overcome Éire Óg in a repeat pairing of last year’s Clare SHC quarter-final.
Unlike their clash last September, the Ennis club cannot feel majorly aggrieved with the result, while they did threaten and perform well, this was not an outcome that they left behind them. Instead, they will point to missed chances including two shots on goal that were denied by Derek Fahy and their tally of eight wides, three of which were scoreable frees.
In a closely fought opening half, Éire Óg took the lead on one occasion following a Mikey Moloney point on eleven minutes. The sides were level at three separate junctures in the first half but The Bridge crucially kept the scoreboard ticking over, mainly through the hurley of Alex Morey who was their only scorer up until the nineteenth minute.
Subsequent to that, the Mulready brothers Alan and Patrick got in on the scoring act as did goalkeeper Derek Fahy who raised a white flag from play in the final act of the first half to leave the Tim Crowe managed side 0-08 0-05 ahead at half-time.
Éire Óg outscored the county champions 3-1 inside the first six minutes of the half with points on the double from Danny Russell and one from Darren O’Brien. The dismissal of Alan Mulready on a straight red card didn’t deter Sixmilebridge who added five points following on from the final water break and limited the Townies to two single scores.
First round games in the 2020 Clare SHC will only serve as a barometer as to what level teams are at, they are not the be all and end all but highlight certain areas that outfits need to improve on. Early observations would indicate that placed balls will be pivotal to determining the victorious side in each first round tie, in this encounter Éire Óg’s free conversion rate was 58% in comparison with Sixmilebridge’s 91%.
Caimin Morey’s presence as a sweeper put added pressure on the Éire Óg forward line who were already under pressure, this was not aided by the delivery of ball by Matt Shannon’s side. The return of Ciarán Russell is a massive plus to their defence while they will be strengthened by the addition of David Reidy in the second round. Along with Russell, Aidan McGrath and Shane O’Donnell did well.
Questions were asked of Sixmilebridge when they were reduced to 14 men and they duly answered them. The Davy Fitzgerald coached lineup will only get stronger as the championship progresses and they will be aware a lift in performance is required. Noel Purcell, Caimin Morey, Alex Morey and Jamie Shanahan were top performers for the Bridge.
Scorers Sixmilebridge: A Morey (0-13 11f), A Mulready (0-01), P Mulready (0-01), D Fahy (0-01), C Morey (0-01 1f).
Scorers Éire Óg: D Russell (0-08 7f), D O’Brien (0-02), M Moloney (0-01), M O’Donnell (0-01)
1: Derek Fahy
2: Brian Carey
3: Barry Fitzpatrick
4: Noel Purcell
7: Pa Mulready
6: Caimin Morey
5: Seadna Morey
9: Evan McInerney
8: Shane Golden
10: Cathal Malone
14: Alex Morey
12: Jason Loughnane
13: Brian Corry
11: Jamie Shanahan
15: Alan Mulready
17: Conor Deasy for Corry (47)
18: Cathal Lynch for McInerney (62)
1: Phillip Walsh
2: Conor O’Halloran
3: Ciarán Russell
4: Tadhg Connellan
5: Niall McMahon
6: Liam Corry
7: Aidan McGrath
8: Tom Downes
9: Mikey Moloney
12: Kevin Brennan
14: Shane O’Donnell
10: David McNamara
13: Darren O’Brien
15: Danny Russell
11: David Durack
18: Marc O’Donnell for Durack (47)
19: Niall O’Connor for O’Brien (55)
20: Kevin Moynihan for Connellan (57)
Referee: Chris Maguire (Wolfe Tones na Sionna)