*Aiden Davidson and Jack Sheedy celebrate. Photograph: Willie O’Reilly (Burren Eye Photography)

St Breckans have sealed their return to the senior ranks of Clare football, twelve months after being relegated.

St Breckans 2-04
Kildysart 0-09
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis

When in comes to sport, the result is the most important outcome. That will be the mantra applied by St Breckans as they look back on their fourth ever Clare IFC success as despite only registering one point in the second half, they held on to complete the task at hand.

Their first half foundation which included goals from Colm O’Brien and Padraig Kelly, both of which were created from Joe McGann passes was invaluable in determining the result. The emphasis of their game being movement up front before the ball arrives which given the pace of the Breckans attack caused problems for Kildysart and was a factor in their 2-03 from play. This flow dried up in the second half and as a result so too did their scoring threat.

Although Kildysart had one less wide, (eight in comparison to their North Clare counterparts’ nine), four of their misses came from spot kicks. Accuracy from frees is a cornerstone of successful teams and missing such opportunities did come back to bite the Estuary men as they launched their second half comeback.

Dale Masterson surrounded by Neil O’Connor & Seamus Casey. Photograph: Willie O’Reilly (Burren Eye Photography).

Colm O’Brien’s seventh minute goal was the first score of the game. Kildysart’s response to it was superb with three points in succession. However just as they got back on level terms, Breckans went up the field and raised another green flag, this time through Padraig Kelly and a further point in their next attack via Aiden Davidson. Both sides finished out the half with two points each to leave the gap at four points.

Crucially for Noel Garry’s men, they never equalised in the second half despite their dominance. The excellent Emmet McMahon kicked two points inside the third quarter while a Luke McGrath free brought them to within a point as ten minutes of normal time were left to play. They would only add one more score but so too did their opponents.

Losing a third final since 2016 is guaranteed to hurt Kildysart. On the sideline they responded to the concession of two goals in the space of seven minutes by deploying Seamus Casey as an extra man between the full and half back line which eased the pressure on their defence. In the final moments of the game as they went in search of an equaliser, they gave away possession far too easy whether it was from a sideline kick or in building an attack.

For their talented young players, it is vital that the experienced heads stay on board with the team. They have the ability to get to senior but getting over the hurdle is proving to be the biggest challenge, keeping everyone on board for 2020 is a must. Emmet McMahon and Kieran O’Brien impressed most for the three time intermediate champions.

Alan Sweeney & Daniel Carey. Photograph: Willie O’Reilly (Burren Eye Photography)

On paper, St Breckans would be considered the better team, they did not play to their best but still came out on top. They went thirty minutes of the second half without a score, when something was needed to give them a bit of a breathing space, Joe McGann popped up with a point. Their defence coped better with the opposing danger men, up front while they did damage they also had bad wides.

Donie Garrihy’s men targeted a return to the senior ranks at the start of the year and they have achieved what they set out to do. Joe McGann, Dale Masterson, Padraig Kelly, Jack Sheedy and Conor Burke stood out for the men from Doolin and Lisdoonvarna.

Scorers St Breckans: C O’Brien (1-00), P Kelly (1-00), A Davidson (0-02 1f), J McGann (0-02).

Scorers Kildysart: E McMahon (0-04), D O’Donnell (0-02 2f), K O’Connor (0-01), L McGrath (0-01 1f), R Eyres (0-01 1f).

TEAMS –

St Breckans: Tristan O’Callaghan; Daniel Carey, Evan Barrett, Cian Burke; Jack Sheedy, Alan Sweeney, Conor Burke; Dale Masterson, Stephen Tierney; Maccon Byrne, Padraig Kelly, Colm O’Brien; Rowan Danaher, Joe McGann, Aiden Davidson.

Subs: Michael Hogan for Tierney (33), Ciaran Flanagan for Danaher (62).

Kildysart: Robert Eyres; Brian Eyres, Kieran Leahy, John Ginnane Jnr; Rory McMahon, Shane McNelis, Ian Flanagan; Kieran O’Brien, Neil O’Connor; Mikey Donnellan, Keith O’Connor, Luke McGrath; Diarmuid O’Donnell, Emmet McMahon, Seamus Casey.

Subs: Stephen Sheehan for Ginnane Jnr (35), Keith Murphy for Donnellan (35), Kieran Eyres for McGrath (54), Michael Eustace for Flanagan (56).

Referee: Niall Quinn (St Josephs Miltown)

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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