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*Doonbeg’s senior football side. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

Eighteen time Clare SFC champions Doonbeg got their 2021 campaign underway with a three point win at the hands of thirteen man Clondegad.

Doonbeg 0-09
Clondegad 0-06
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis

Certainly a contender for worst game of the 2021 Clare SFC, there was little to emerge from either half to excite contingent of supporters from either club in Cusack Park on Sunday evening. It was the last tie in a triple header and without question, the poorest standard.

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David Tubridy accounted for all but one of Doonbeg’s five point tally in the opening half. The local publican could have had a green flag to add to that but was denied by the crossbar with his penalty attempt on seven minutes. He was key to the Magpies holding a 0-05 0-03 advantage at half-time.

He more than made up for the miss throughout the clash kicking fine points and linking up the play to create several opportunities for his teammates. In total, he would finish with all but two of their final tally, as ever kicking comfortably off both feet.

Clondegad for their part seemed afraid to have a shot on goal. Accurate passing is certainly a vital part to any gameplan but without knocking scores on their board, the chances of success are drastically diminished. This was certainly the case for the duration of their opening round as they made Eamon Tubridy a redundant spectator aside from kickouts while their forwards seemed to back their own ability to put the ball between the posts.

By the forty first minute, Clondegad were back on level terms with two frees from Podge McMahon splitting the posts. Doonbeg quickly realised that indiscipline would cost them dearly and from here, they didn’t concede a scorable free for the remainder of the game. The same cannot be said for the 2017 county finalists as they finished with thirteen men following second bookable offences for Shane Brennan and Joe Neylon, Jim Hickey giving both men the line for late challenges in each instance.

Prior to these dismissals, Doonbeg were back in control with Tubridy at the steering wheel landing three points in succession over a fifteen minute period to put them ahead by three points. Substitutes Brandon O’Connell and Brian Behan traded scores before the game concluded.

Tadhg Lillis at centre back was exceptional for the winners, it may not have been the most memorable of clashes but his showing at centre back was a big positive. Others to impress for Mark Rafferty’s charges included David Tubridy, Cathal Killeen and Ronan Good. Collecting two points was vital for Doonbeg, they have a lot of ground to make up however if they are to be real contenders, their second round test versus Éire Óg will give a strong indication as to where they are at.

Few positives can be taken from Clondegad’s showing. Up front, they were not confident in possession and this is something opposing teams will look to capitalise on. Their return of six points in sixty minutes is testament to their failings in front of goal and this must be rectified urgently if the Estuary Men have aspirations of competing in the business end of the championship rather than the relegation play-offs.

Scores Doonbeg: D Tubridy (0-07 1’45 1f), M Tubridy (0-01). B Behan (0-01)

Scorers Clondegad: P McMahon (0-02 2f), G Brennan (0-01), M Crowe (0-01), B Toner (0-01), B O’Connell (0-01)

Doonbeg:
1: Eamon Tubridy

3: Ronan Good
4: Conor O’Mahoney
2: Joe Blake

5: Paraic Aherne
6: Tadhg Lillis
7: James Killeen

20: Kevin McInerney
9: Kevin Pender

12: Jason Linnane
8: Cillian Blake
10: Cathal Killeen

24: Michael Tubridy
14: David Tubridy
11: Paul Dillon

Subs:

Shane Ryan for Dillon (HT)
Brian Egan for McInerney (40)
Brian Behan for J Blake (48)
Eoghan Tubridy for C Killeen (55)

Clondegad:
1: Declan O’Loughlin

2: Brian Murphy
4: Cillian Brennan
3: Joe Neylon

5: Brian Casey
6: Conor Gavin
7: Cormac Reidy

8: Mark Crowe
9: Eoin Gavin

31: Stephen Casey
11: Sean O’Leary
17: Barry Toner

15: Podge McMahon
12: Shane Brennan
13: Gary Brennan

Subs:

Daniel Kelly for O’Leary (HT)
Brandon O’Connell for E Gavin (40)
Francie Neylon for Reidy (48)
Ian Carrig for Crowe (55)

Referee: Jim Hickey (Cratloe)

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