*Gavin Cooney. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Éire Óg had it easier than expected when they ran out ten point winners against Lissycasey in the opening round of the Clare SFC.
Éire Óg 3-10
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis
Early days it may be but Éire Óg laid down a marker with the manner in which they dismantled last year’s semi-finalists.
Although the opening half lasted forty minutes, Lissycasey never settled, they would fail to get into their groove on the restart also. Éire Óg for their part had four of their six scores on the board within the first nine minutes and from here they were guilty of easing off on the gas.
A full-forward brimming with pace had Éire Óg leading by five points inside the opening ten minutes. Mark McInerney kicked two fine scores off his left boot while Gavin Cooney raided for a green flag on six minutes.
Lissycasey would yield a single score from play in the first half and only four in total as their Ennis opponents built up a five point half-time advantage.
Injury to Ikem Ugwueru in the closing stages of the first half still didn’t deter Éire Óg, the physical centre-forward had been causing a multitude of problems for the Lissycasey defence and created multiple scoring chances when running at his counterparts.
His replacement David Reidy was central to Éire Óg’s second goal. The Clare hurler tore through the spine of the Lissycasey backline in the first attack of the second half and offloaded to Niall McMahon who made no mistake in sticking the ball past Killian Normoyle.
Reidy was to the fore again when Éire Óg struck for goal number three, this one coming from Philip Talty with a cool finish from the Mary Immaculate College student sealing the deal on fifty four minutes.
No comeback of meaning was mounted by the Lissycasey men in this contest. Their danger man Aaron Griffin was not fed with the necessary possession to cause trouble, this was made more difficult by the presence of a very strong opposing half-back line outside him. The West Clare side have four weeks to regroup and should they produce a repeat display, they will definitely not be building on the positive progress of last year. Martin O’Connor and Aaron Griffin did best for John Ryan’s side who lost both Brian Cahill and Niall McCarthy to injury.
In what was the youngest full-forward line to feature for a senior side this weekend, the trio of Gavin Cooney, Philip Talty and Mark McInerney made their mark with a combined return of 2-10, more physical tests will pose different problems for them but it was certainly job done for the triple threat. They along with Éinne O’Connnor, Ronan Lanigan, David Reidy and Ciarán Russell were the top players for Paul Madden’s side.
Scorers Éire Óg: P Talty (1-02), G Cooney (1-02 2f), M McInerney (0-04 1M), N McMahon (1-00), D O’Neill (0-01), D Reidy (0-01)
Scorers Lissycasey: C Finucane (0-06 5f), E Finucane (0-02), A Griffin (0-01).
1: Nathan Murray
10: Ronan Lanigan
3: Aaron Fitzgerald
2: Manus Doherty
7: Ciaran Russell
6: Conall Ó hÁiniféin
5: Éinne O’Connor
8: Darren O’Neill
9: David McNamara
12: Niall McMahon
4: Ikem Ugwueru
11: Aidan McGrath
15: Mark McInerney
14: Gavin Cooney
13: Philip Talty
23: David Reidy for Ugwueru (35) (Inj)
20: Tadhg Connellan for McMahon (48)
17: Paddy O’Malley for McGrath (55)
18: Gearoid Collins for Russell (56)
25: Conor O’Halloran for Talty (61)
1: Killian Normoyle
2: Michael Madigan
3: Ryan Griffin
4: Martin O’Connor
5: Oisin Hanrahan
18: Seamus Collins
7: Brian Cahill
8: Matt O’Shea
9: Francie Hayes
10: Cian Meaney
11: Niall Kelly
12: Enda Finucane
13: Aaron Griffin
14: Niall McCarthy
15: Conor Finucane.
20: Shane Griffin for Cahill (12) (Inj)
24: Luke Griffin for McCarthy (31) (Inj)
21: Paul Nagle for Hayes (45).
Referee: Niall Quinn (St Josephs Miltown)