*Cian O’Rourke chipped in with 0-04 for Wolfe Tones. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
IN THE BATTLE OF THE TOWNS, it was Shannon that defeated Killaloe with Wolfe Tones beating Smith O’Briens in the Clare SHC.
Wolfe Tones 2-17
Smith O’Briens 1-12
Venue: O’Garney Park, Sixmilebridge
By Derek Dormer
The proverbial game of two halves with an even contest for the first period and a clinical dismantling for the second half, at half time Smith O’Briens led by a solitary point 1-8 to 1-7 but whatever Ray Diviney said in the dressing room during the interval Wolfe Tones emerged with the bit between their teeth and cruised to victory.
The Killlaloe outfit were first off the mark with a Marc O’Halloran score inside the opening minute. Wolfe Tones responded with the next four scores a Cian O’Rourke beauty two from the man of the match Billy Connors and a superb John Guilfoyle point.
To their credit Smith O’Briens came roaring back into the contest scoring 1-3 without reply the goal coming when keeper Pa Freeman chose to bat a high delivery rather than risk catching it with torrential rain engulfing O’Garney Park. David O’Shea known as Dotsy pulled first time on the breaking ball into the bottom corner.
In what was now becoming an entertaining see saw battle Billy Connors finished to the net magnificently from twenty yards after a great team move with Daithí Lohan the provider. Moments later Cian O’Rourke bore down on goal rifling low to the left hand corner only to see Mark McInerney pull off a tremendous save. Overall there was very little between the sides in an entertaining opening thirty minutes.
On the resumption the Shannon men were a model of ruthless efficiency. Rattling off four points in the first three minutes epitomised their determination with two Aaron Cunningham beauties amongst the four. The game was effectively killed as a contest when in the 36th minute Connors raided for his second goal showing unbelievable hands catching the sliotar in torrential rain before side stepping David Gough and firing an unstoppable rocket into the top corner of the net.
At this stage Wolfe Tones led 2-11 to 1-9 with the Killaloe score coming from a Tommy Reddan placed ball. In fact, Tony Gleeson’s men would only score one point from play in the entire second period and two further Reddan frees.
Dominant in almost every sector of the field at this juncture the Shannon men kept tapping over the points to cruise to an eight point winning margin.
Best for the winners were Billy Connors, Stephen Donnellan, Ben O’Gorman who Daithi Lohan and Aaron Cunningham while Smith O’Briens playing their first SHC match in nine years worked hard as a unit but ultimately fell short in what was a chastening second half experience.
Ray Diviney and his troops will be not only delighted with the result but the second half performance was clinical especially when one considers there were without two Inter County stars in Aron Shanagher and Darragh Lohan.
Scorers Wolfe Tones; Billy Connors 2-6(4f),Cian O’Rourke 0-4, Aaron Cunningham 0-2,Ben O’Gorman Stephen Donnellan Dylan Frawley John Guilfoyle Dean Devanney 0-1 each
Scorers Smith O’Briens; Tommy Reddan 0-4(3f), David O’Shea 1-0,Micheal O’Shea 0-3,Patrick Aherne 0-2, Marc O’Halloran 0-2,Keith Stritch 0-1
1: Mark McInerney
2: Cian Maloney
3: David Gough
4: Mark Stritch
5: Dwane Sheedy
6: Cian Nolan
7: Eddie Bourke
8: Tommy Reddan
9: Michael Ryan
10: Marc O’Halloran
11: Keith Stritch
12: Patrick Aherne
13: David O’Shea
14: Jason Monaghan
15: Michael O’Shea
22: Evan Connolly for Monaghan (36)
27: Noel McInerney for Aherne (49)
28: Stephen Geraghty for M Stritch (56)
1: Pa Freeman
2: Liam Murphy
21: Jamie Roughan
4: David Ryan
5: John Guilfoyle
6: Rory Hayes
7: Stephen Donnellan
8: Ben O’Gorman
9: Daithi Lohan
10: Cian O’Rourke
11: Dylan Frawley
12: Aaron Cunningham
17: Kevin McCafferty
14: Billy Connors
15: Dean Devanney
30: Luke Merrigan for Ryan (57)
Referee: Kevin Corry (Sixmilebridge)