*Corofin/Ruan players celebrate. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

A strong second quarter in which they outscored their opponents 1-8 to 0-4 laid the foundation for Corofin-Ruan as they captured the Clare U21A hurling title for the first time at Gurteen this Wednesday evening.

Corofin/Ruan 1-18
Newmarket-on-Fergus 0-14
Venue: Gurteen

Two years after making the breakthrough to win the minor A title, the mid Clare combination justified favouritism when they ended the season on a high with the under 21 success which came just three days after the Corofin intermediate footballers who featured a big number of the under 21’s, booked a place in the Munster final.

With midfielder Shane Punch in sparkling form, the new champions started impressively and Punch pointed twice in as many minutes before Peter Power, equally impressive to Punch from placed balls, opened his side’s account.

Newmarket must have been quite happy with the position at the first water break when Corofin-Ruan were 0-5 to 0-2 in front having played with the aid of a lively breeze.

The Blues resumed impressively after the water break and points from Stephen Casey and Eoin Guilfoyle saw them move to within a point of their opponents. Sensing danger Corofin/Ruan stepped up a gear and five unanswered points saw them quickly stretch their advantage to eight points as the half time whistle approached.

Four of those seven points came from Punch who was causing a lot of problems for Newmatket around the midfield area while the other scorers in this period were Robin Mounsey, Diarmuid Cahill and Dara McInerney.

With the game in ‘added time’ at the end of the half, Punch who had moved into the full forward line, struck for the game’s only goal and it helped his team to a ten point interval lead with the score at 1-13 to 0-6 at the break.

(All photographs by Gerard O’Neill).

It was clear that Newmarket needed to start the second half well and this they did when outscoring their opponents 0-4 to 0-1 in the opening ten minutes. However, they found it difficult to breakdown the winners defence and particularly the central players, Ashley Brohan at full back and Gearoid Cahill at centre back.

When the second waterbreak arrived the margin between the teams was eight points. Two pointed frees by Peter Power when play resumed closed the gap to six but Corofin/Ruan responded with a brace of their own from Shane Punch and Robin Mounsey to go eight clear again with just five minutes remaining.

Newmarket battled to the end and they piled on the pressure in the closing stages in search of a goal but the winner’s defence held firm and emerged deserving winners on an evening when Cian O’Donoghue, Ashley Brohan, Geaorid Cahill, Shane Punch, Dara McInerney, Robin Mounsey, and Diarmuid Cahill were to the fore.

Stephen Casey, Jack Enright, Eanna Crimmins, Eoin Guilfoyle and freetaker Peter Power were prominent for Newmarket, who of the four finalists in the A and B competition were the only non-amalgamated side competing in the respective deciders. While they will be pleased with their overall campaign, their inability to replicate their quarter-final and semi-final showings will be a source of some disappointment.

After the game Clare GAA chairman Kieran Keating paid tribute to both teams, thanked the match officials and paid tribute to all who had helped ensure that the final took place.

Joint captains Gearoid Cahill and Cian O’Donoghue accepted the trophy. Cahill made special mention to the late Michael O’Shea (Ruan) and Willie Corbett (Corofin) before O’Donoghue thanked the team mentors for their efforts and then paid tribute to Newmarket.

1: Cian O’Donoghue

2: Marc O’Loughlin
3: Ashley Brohan
4: Jason Power

5: Cillian McGroary
6: Gearoid Cahill
7: Gearoid Hanrahan

8: Shane Punch (1-10, 0-9 f)
9: Dara McInerney (0-1)

12: Kevin Keane
11: Robin Mounsey (0-4)
10: Diarmuid Cahill (0-3)

13: Jack McDonagh
14: Killian O’Connor
15: Patrick O’Halloran;

17: Conor Leen for J. McDonagh (41)
18: Shane O’Brien for O’Halloran (58)
19: Patrick O’Gorman for O’Connor (63)
20: Oisin Madigan for McInerney (65)

1: Padraic Guilfoyle

2: Ger O’Connor
3: Jack Enright
4: Mark Delaney

5: Darragh Burke
6: Stephen Casey
8: David Frost

10: Eanna Crimmins
9: Shane Lynch

17: Jason O’Neill
12: Seadhna Liddy
11: Eoin Guilfoyle (0-3)

13: Cian Foley
15: Peter Power (0-9, 8f, 1 ‘65)
14: Owen McCoy

25: David Hall for O’Neill (inj. 21)
23: Jamie Power for McCoy (37)
7: Kieran McMahon for M. Delaney (43)
29: Oisin McInerney for E. Guilfoyle (65) (inj)

Referee: Wayne King (St. Josephs Doora/Barefield)

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