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Superbly taken goals were the standout aspect of St Breckans’ impressive first outing in the 2021 Clare SFC as they secured an eighth point win over reigning intermediate champions St Josephs Doora/Barefield.

St Breckans 3-08
St Josephs Doora/Barefield 0-09
Venue: Corofin

A return to life back in the senior ranks was not plain sailing for St Josephs Doora/Barefield who were outclassed by St Breckans, a side which showed they are intent on building on their 2020 run which saw them beaten in the semi-finals by Cratloe.

Two goals from Clare forward Joe McGann paved the way for their success while Maccon Byrne also raided for goals as the physically stronger outfit deservedly emerged victorious.

Cathal Guerin wrestles with Conor O’Brien and Tom McDonald. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

With thirteen minutes on the clock, Liam Tierney and Padraig Kelly were the sole scorers with the duo kicking a point each to give the North Clare side the early advantage. Joe McGann struck for his first goal on fourteen minutes as he once again demonstrated that his footwork is among the best in the county weaving through the Doora/Barefield defence before burying the ball past Tom O’Brien.

Doora/Barefield responded with four of the next seven scores to limit the gap to four points at the sounding of the half-time whistle.

On the restart, Breckans had the ball in the back of the net again, this time it was Maccon Byrne that left O’Brien with no chance as the 2019 intermediate winners set the bar high when it came to goal-scoring.

Tom McDonald kicked The Parish’s first score of the second half on thirty seven minutes but it was effectively game over two minutes later when McGann tucked the ball away for his second and St Breckans’ third goal of the evening.

Although they coughed up frees and were outscored 4-3 from here, the outcome was already decided and thus the championship began with a win for the men from Doolin and Lisdoonvarna.

Liam Tierney impressed over the hour for St Breckans. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

Reacclimatising to life at senior level was never going to be a quick manoeuvre for Kevin Frehill’s charges. The concession of goals reduced their chances of causing a shock while injury to one of their key players in Eoghan Thynne also weakened their effort. They seemed to panic with each other when matters did not go according to plan and greater composure will be needed if they are to pick up a win against either Kilmihil or Kilrush Shamrocks. Fionn Kelleher, Conor O’Brien, Tom McDonald and Joe Rafferty did well for Doora/Barefield.

Numerous attacking threats are evident in the St Breckans line-up and they are capable of testing any team in the county in this regard. Defensively, they weren’t tested and how they hold up when pushed to the collar will have a major influence on determining how far the North Clare men will go this year. The addition of Rob Mulcahy to their set-up which already includes Declan O’Keeffe is a massive coup, their physicality, fitness and composure on the ball marked them a class apart in this encounter. For Donie Garrihy’s side, Liam Tierney, Joe McGann, Raphael Considine and Padraig Kelly stood out.

Scorers St Breckans: J McGann (2-00), P Kelly (0-03 2f), M Byrne (1-00), D Masterson (0-02), L Tierney (0-01), A Davidson (0-01), S Fitzpatrick (0-01).

Scorers St Josephs Doora/Barefield: E Thynne (0-02 2f), C Kelleher (0-02 1f), J Rafferty (0-02), C McDonagh (0-01), C Duggan (0-01 1f), T McDonald (0-01).

St Breckans:
1: Tristan O’Callaghan

2: Evan Barrett
29: Diorrang McNamara
17: Raphael Considine

7: Aaron O’Brien
12: Alan Sweeney
3: Jack Sheedy

9: Dale Masterson
8: Liam Tierney

11: Padraig Kelly
10: Joe McGann
6: Maccon Byrne

28: Denis O’Callaghan
14: Cathal Guerin
15: Aiden Davidson

24: Shane Fitzpatrick for O’Callaghan (HT)
23: Patrick Doherty for McNamara (34) (Inj)
30: Mark O’Donnell for Byrne (59)
31: Conor Shannon for Sheedy (61)

St Josephs Doora/Barefield:
1: Tom O’Brien

2: Fionn Kelleher
3: Conor O’Brien
4: Peter Collins

23: Leo Duggan

5: Kevin Harrington
6: Tom Hannan
18: Cian McDonagh

10: Tom McDonald
9: Eoin Hanrahan

14: Eoghan Thynne
11: Brian Guilfoyle
7: Conall Kelleher

13: Cathal Duggan
15: Joe Rafferty

17: Dara Nagle for Guilfoyle (38)
19: Eoin Talty for Thynne (41) (Inj)

Referee: Barry Keating (Lissycasey)

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