*Darragh Bohannon and David Lernihan battle for the ball in the air. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
The intermediate football championship race has proven to be one of the most exciting competitions in Clare GAA over the years and the 2023 contest for the Talty Stores cup looks set to continue that trend if round one is a good indicator.
Old rivals Kilmihil and Shannon Gaels played out a draw at Lissycasey while Kilrush got the better of last year’s finalists Cooraclare at Doonbeg.
Wolfe Tones put themselves very much in the reckoning for honours when they defeated O’Currys at Coolmeen while, elsewhere, there were first round wins for Coolmeen, Naomh Eoin and Banner.
Kilmihil finish strongly to snatch a share of the spoils
Shannon Gaels 2-9
Despite being without key player Ciaran Downes, Kilmihil carried the favourites tag into this clash with their great rivals Shannon Gaels and as things turned out Kilmihil were somewhat fortunate to earn a share of the spoils.
Three points down entering the final five minutes they staged a strong finish to snatch a share of the spoils with Martin O’Leary playing a key part in their rally. A week after he scored a crucial goal for Ballyea in the senior hurling championship, he struck for a number of important points on Saturday including the equalizing score.
The death of team member Aaron Malone Smith earlier in the week had rocked Shannon Gaels who retired number 7 jersey as a mark of respect to the player.
They faced a strong wind in the opening half and were in a strong position at the interval when they trailed by the minimum, 0-8 to 1-4, their goal having come from Thomas Kenny who was on hand to finish after the ball rebounded off the upright.
Early in the second half Niall Ellis fisted home the Gaels’ second goal and they looked to be in a strong position but Kilmihil refused to accept defeat and O’Leary led the rally which earned them what could yet prove to be a very valuable point.
Kilmihil; Sean Scott Cafferky; Fionn Febrarro, John Finnucane, Mikey Keating; David Coughlan, Dan Keating, Gavin Downes; David Lernihan, Stan Lineen; Gearoid O’Grady, Martin O’Leary, Conor Crowley; David Egan, Sean Crowley, Shane Downes
Sub: Niall Reidy for C. Crowley
Shannon Gaels: Michael O’Donoghue; Eoin Keane, Jack Reidy, Tomas Cleary; Damian Downes, Matthew Reidy, Fergal Kenny; Michael O’Malley, Thomas Kelly; Tadhg Kelly, Niall Ellis, Dylan Kenny; Barry Crehan Darragh Bohannon, Thomas Kenny;
Referee: Barry Keating (Lissycasey)
O’Brien leads the way for Kilrush
Venue: Shanahan McNamara Park, Doonbeg
Gearoid O’Brien was in sparkling form as Kilrush got their campaign off to a winning start when they had a goal to spare over last year’s finalists Cooraclare.
O’Brien struck for his side’s goal in the opening half and it helped them to a five point half time advantage when the score was 1-6 to 0-4.
Cooraclare closed the gap in the second half but they were reduced to fourteen men for the final ten minutes after Eoin O’Driscoll’s combination of a yellow and black card resulted in red.
The loss of Pearse Lillis to emigration and Brian McNamara to injury proved a huge blow to Cooraclare who will face Kilfenora next time out in a must win game for both sides.
In addition to Gearoid O’Brien, Dean Neary did well for the winners whose defence got through some good work on the evening.
Kilrush Shamrocks: Stephen Ryan; Padraig Browne, Ross Cullinan, Niall Brennan; Ciaran Bermingham, Dylan O’Brien, Sean Canny; Sean Madigan, Dean Neary; Tadhg Lysaght, Ross Phelan, Don O’Driscoll; Jamie Griffin, Conor Fennell, Gearoid O’Brien;
Subs: Eoin Power for Ross Cullinan; Billy Clancy for Lysaght
Cooraclare; Mark Lillis; Gary Donnellan, Fergal Donnellan, Ronan Donnellan; Thomas Downes, Micheal Garry, Jake Garry; James Burke, Ciaran O’Donoghue; Sean Browne, Jack Carey, Gearoid Lillis; John Lillis, Damian Burke, Eoin O’Driscoll;
Subs: Padraic O’Donoghue for G. Lillis; Finn O’Driscoll for J. Lillis
Referee: Robert Harte (St. Senan’s Kilkee)
Tones put down a marker
Wolfe Tones 1-14
Wolfe Tones put themselves very much in the reckoning for intermediate honours when they defeated O’Currys in this first round TUS intermediate football championship game at Coolmeen on Saturday.
The foundation for the victory was laid in the opening half at the end of which the Shannon outfit were 1-8 to 0-3 in front despite having played against the strong wind. Eoghan Casey scored the Shannon club’s goal.
The Doonaha based outfit fought back after the interval helped by a goal from Shane Browne who had an excellent game.
Try as they did they were unable to haul back the winner’s lead on a day when substitute Gary Leahy impressed for the winners kicking three point. Jack Ryan landed three great points from frees as the Shannon men recorded a merited win.
Wolfe Tones: Shane Russell; Shane Nihill, Jayme O’Sullivan, Aaron Brennan; Jason McAuley, Liam Murphy, Eoghan Casey; Joe McGauley, Daithi Lohan; Dean Devanney, Craig Riordan, Aaron Kelly; Jack Ryan, Billy Connors, Darragh Leahy.
Subs: Darragh Lohan for J. McAuley; Gary Leahy for Craig Riordan; Rory Hayes for A. Kelly; Robert Cahll for A. Brennan; Chris Dunning for J. Ryan
O’Curry’s: Derek Troy; Paddy Clancy, Darragh Keane, Stephen Kelly; Eoin Brew, Sean Haugh, Seamus Keane; Cathal Downes, Thomas Clancy; Jim Marrinan, Michael Foran, Eoin Kelly; Danny Downes, EoinTroy, Shane Browne
Sub: Gearoid Lynch for E. Kelly
Referee: Fearghal Gray (Feakle)
Coolmeen shock fancied Ennistymon
Venue: Banner GAA Grounds, Ennis
Less than twelve months after they considered amalgamating because of a lack of numbers, Coolmeen caused a surprise when beating a fancied Ennistymon side in this first round intermediate championship game at the Banner grounds.
A strong first half showing at the end of which they held an eight point advantage played a key part in the mid Clare side’s victory. Full forward Cian Murphy struck for their goal.
With the aid of the wind in the second half Ennistymon fought back, helped by a Niall Canavan goal but a determined Coolmeen held on for a merited victory.
A fisted point from Ben Cleary inside the final quarter played a crucial part in Coolmeen’s victory as it put them three clear and while Ennistymon continued to take the game to the winners, Coolmeen showed great battling qualities and held on for a merited win.
Coolmeen: Jason O’Leary; Adam Wallace, Gary Meaney, Alan Normoyle; Dylan O’Halloran, Brian Markham, Riain Meaney; Eoin O’Connor, Cathal O’Connor; Dylan Power, Mark Meaney, Daniel Forde; Aidan Corry, Cian Murphy, Jamie Brooks;
Subs: Riain Murphy for Brooks; Joe Corry for M. Meaney; Ben Cleary for O’Halloran
Ennistymon; Conor Gallagher; Niall Hogan, Cathal Frawley, Dara Rouine; James Cullinan, Gerry Coote, Micheal Vaughan; John Murphy, Mark Kelleher; Eoin Marrinan, Cathal McConigley, Joe Dowling; Niall Canavan, Danny Rouine, Paudie Considine;
Sub; Killian Malone for Considine;
Referee: Joe Kelly (Cooraclare)
Naomh Eoin repeat league final win over Liscannor
Naomh Eoin 1-11
Venue: Páirc Naomh Mhuire, Quilty
In a repeat of their league final meeting a few weeks back, Naomh Eoin again overcame Liscannor when the sides clashed in the opening round of the TUS intermediate championship at Quilty on Saturday.
Extra time was required in the league decider but this time the men from the Loop Head Peninsula did the business in normal time.
Liscannor played fifty minutes of this tie with fourteen men as a combination of yellow and black cards resulted in a red card for centre back Brian Considine.
In addition they lost Padraig Haugh and Dara Nagle to injury during the course of the game and this proved a big blow to their hopes of overturning the league final victory.
At the end of a closely fought first half the winners led by the odd point in nine. Things didn’t look good for them at this point as they had played with the aid of a gale force wind but they raised their game after the break and with the help of an extra man they got the upperhand.
Early in the second half Eoin Lynch struck for the game’s only goal which played a big part in the West Clare side’s victory. Lynch was his side’s top scorer finishing with 1-6.
Naomh Eoin: Sean Roche; Declan Keniry, Conor Tevlin, Eoin Hanrahan; Adam Haugh, Mark McQuaid, Conor Magner; Sean Bonfil, Odhran Lynch; Fergal Keane, Gavin Magner, Tomas Bonfil; Gearoid Lynch, Niall Bonfil, Owen Lynch.
Subs: Eoin Daly for G. Lynch; Kevin Roche for O. Lynch; Adam Foley for N. Bonfil
Liscannor: John Kerin; Tom Hanrahan, Robert Lucas, Michael Foley; Francesco Benito, Brian Considine, Padraig Haugh; Darren Nagle, Stephen Murray; Alan Clohessy, Kevin Scales, Brian Leyden; Diarmuid Commane, Cian Guerin, Kieran Roche;
Subs: John Hanrahan for Haugh (inj); Gavin Duffy for Roche; Dara Blake for Commane; Sean McDonagh for Nagle (inj);
Referee; Michael Talty (Kilmurry Ibrickane)
Strong final quarter steers Banner to victory
Venue: Páirc Finne, Corofin
Banner put in a strong final quarter to claim victory over Kilfenora in a game played at Corofin.
Trailing by three points at half time the North Clare side still held the lead as the end of the third quarter approached.
Banner got a grip on matters and goals from Shane Meehan (2) and Oisin McMahon saw them take control and go on to record a merited victory even if the scoreline flatters them a little.
The game turned on a misplaced kickout which the Ennis side intercepted and they then went through for a Shane Meehan goal. From here to the end the winners showed greater fitness which proved decisive against a North Clare side which felt the absence of the O’Dea brothers, Cian who is now based in New York and Jack who is ruled out through injury. He took over as team manager a few weeks back and deserves great credit for his work to date with the side.
Banner: Mark Cleary; Oran Rynne, Kenneth Higgins, Shane Garrihy; Cian Rynne, James Coakley, Justin McGrath; Niall Walsh, Matthew McGrath; Conor Dennehy, Shane Meehan, Brian McDonald; Sean McMahon, Thomas Meeneghan, Oisin McMahon;
Subs: Keith O’Shea for N. Walsh; Eoin Walsh for O. Rynne; Mufana Flynn for O. McMahon; Johnny Martyn for M. McGrath
Kilfenora: Declan Brennan; Niall Hegarty, Cathal O’Halloran, Patrick Collins; Micheal Duffy, Cronan Howley, Karl O’Connor; Paul Carkill, Pat Connole; Matthew Egan, John Nea, Peter Collins; David Nagle, Joseph O’Gorman, Thomas Coyne;
Subs: Gearoid Howley for Nagle; Nathan Brody for O’Connor; Eoin O’Leary for Collins
Referee: Barry Kelly (St. Joseph’s Miltown)