*Aiden Davidson kicked 0-02 in the second half. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography
St Breckans are back in the knockout stages of the Clare SFC for the second year in a row.
St Breckans 0-11
Venue: Hennessy Memorial Park, Miltown Malbay
Top spot in Group 2 was achieved by the Spa outfit as they deservingly emerged as winners on Sunday evening against Kilmihil.
Unbeaten in three outings, St Breckans’ touch of class that was evident in round one when they struck three wonderful goals past St Josephs Doora/Barefield has not been as bright but their outings against Kilrush Shamrocks and Kilmihil have represented battles more so than classics.
Against the slight elements in the second half, Kilmihil will rue missing three scoreable frees but in reality they paled in comparison when it came to the depth of their panel.
Such were the options at the foot of Donie Garrihy and his management that the absence of St Breckans netminder Tristan O’Callaghan saw Clare U20 goalkeeper Oisin O’Loughlin make his senior debut and he kept a clean sheet in his first appearance. Cathal Guerin impressed at full-forward versus the Shams the last day out but injury too kept him out of this clash with another Clare U20 panellist Jamie Stack getting a run out subsequently.
With no score from play via either side in the first quarter, it came as no surprise that they were level pegging at 0-02 apiece. St Breckans may have got the better scores in the second quarter including a Padraig Kelly effort on twenty five minutes that had contributions from eight members of their team, but Kilmihil remained only a point adrift at half-time.
Four points without reply in the third quarter saw the North Clare side build an invaluable advantage with an excellent white flag from Aiden Davidson among them. Chances fell Kilmihil’s way in the final quarter but they were not converted, they did outscore the winners 0-03 0-02 in this period but it was not enough to overturn proceedings.
There is still a possibility of Kilmihil making the quarter-finals, to do that they must defeat neighbours Doonbeg in a play-off in two weeks time. A marked improvement is required for this to become a reality. Having struggled in ball retention in previous games, Kilmihil were effective at winning breaking ball from restarts in the opening half but this vanished in the second half and so too did the strength of their challenge.
They may have another win under their belts and that will please St Breckans but they will need a much stronger challenge if they are to frighten the likes of Éire Óg, Kilmurry Ibricakne and St Josephs Miltown, all of whom are waiting in the quarter-finals. They are their best when raiding for goal, rediscovering this formula is a must for the Lisdoonvarna and Doolin men to return to the semi-finals. Padraig Kelly, Patrick Doherty, Colm O’Brien and Jack Sheedy were the standout performers for Breckans.
Scorers St Breckans: P Kelly (0-05 4f), J Sheedy (0-02), A Davidson (0-02), J McGann (0-01), D Masterson (0-01)
Scroers Kilmihil: C Downes (0-04 4f), M O’Leary (0-02 1f), C Murray (0-01).
16: Oisin O’Loughlin
29: Raphael Considine
4: Conor Burke
21: Patrick Doherty
15: Colm O’Brien
11: Alan Sweeney
8: Dale Masterson
5: Maccon Byrne
7: Liam Tierney
3: Jack Sheedy
10: Padraig Kelly
22: Shane Fitzpatrick
12: Jamie Stack
9: Joseph McGann
14: Aiden Davidson
30: Rowan Danaher for Burke (47)
18: Eoin Guerin for Stack (53)
25: Denis O’Callaghan for Sheedy (58)
2: Evan Barrett for Considine (58)
6: Aaron O’Brien for Sweeney (59)
1: Damien Lineen
2: Fionn Febbraro
4: Shane Downes
3: Stan Lineen
13: Niall Reidy
5: Gavin Downes
6: Philip Ryan
7: John Finnucane
26: David Lernihan
8: Dan Keating
10: Allen Normoyle
11: Ciaran Downes
12: Sean Crowley
15: Gearoid O’Grady
14: Martin O’Leary
17: David Coughlan for Lernihan (38)
9: Conor Finnucane for Reidy (38)
18: Cathal Murray for Ryan (47)
20: Shane Egan for O’Grady (54)
Referee: Barry Kelly (St Josephs Miltown)