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Senior Semi Finals

posted 2 Oct 2011, 14:18 by Unknown user   [ updated 9 Oct 2011, 14:20 by Denis Tuohy Agricultural Consultant ]

                                                            ST JOSEPHS...............2-7   WOLFE TONES................0-7
By Michael O Connor

    St Josephs who have suffered on a personal level off the pitch this year are now one hour away from repeating the feat of Doora Raparee's in 1898 and capturing the county football title. Wolfe Tones had many people's tip for this game but in the view of this scribe the overall physical strength and apparent fitness levels of St Josephs against Doonbeg tipped the game their way from an early stage.

None the less Wolfe Tones will bemoan inaccuracy from frees, poor shot selection in the Josephs third of the field and simply allowing Alan O Neill to solo upfield twice unhindered to score two killer goals that ultimately proved the difference between these two sides who have met umpteen times in the last decade and half at underage level.

Daniel Gallery opened the scoring from play after five minutes action that saw little real open play. St Josephs responded after ten minutes with corner forward Cathal Duggan on target. A vital score in the overall context of the game materialised when Alan O Neill was allowed solo 50 yards unmarked and his effort from 14 yards stunned everyone but more importantly hit the Shannon net and they were three points in arrears despite only two viable attacks from Josephs in the first 13 minutes. Stephen Monaghan and Cathal O Sullivan exchanged scores by the end of the first quarter yet as much as they tried with honest effort in the rearguard Wolfe Tones struggled at midfield and in the half forward area to hold the ball up and create chances inside. St Josephs outscored the men from Shannon three points to two in the final twelve minutes of the first half with David O Brien (2 frees) and Kevin Dilleen on target for Josephs as Chris Dunning and Stephen Monaghan from play kept the Tones in contact. The half time interval was in line with the accuracy of one side and the accurate opportunism of another as St Josephs held a (1-5) to (0-4) interval lead.

 A minute into the new half and with Wolfe Tones in need of least a succession of points to reinvigorate their challenge Stephen Monaghan was on target but that was as good as it got. The score that followed was as good as three in terms of morale such was the skill displayed by Colm Mullen as he restored a four point lead. After 42 minutes the score stood at (1-6) to (0-5) with Wolfe Tones unable to prise open the St Josephs rearguard. Four minutes later Monaghan pointed a free as both clubs began to empty their benches. The score that ended the game as a realistic contest was Alan O Neill's second goal as he raced once again through the heart of Wolfe Tones and his low 20metre drive ended in the net as St Josephs mentors jumped for joy knowing the hour was theirs.

The game petered out in the final eight minutes with a point each was Enda Lyons and Stephen Monaghan added to their sides tallies with a few late attacks by Wolfe Tones falling by the wayside as they tried for goals that normally point chances would be hard to construct.

Best for the winners who will relish the physical exchanges with Kilmurry Ibrickane and the open spaces of Cusack park were Declan O Keeffe, Stephen Collins, Damian Kennedy, Alan O Neill, Kevin Dilleen,  Colm Mullen, Enda Lyons, David O Brien and Greg Lyons. Wolfe Tones had honest displays from Sean Brennan, Brendan Hughes, Joe McGauley, Stephen Monaghan, Patsy Keyes and Aaron Cunningham when introduced.

ST JOSEPHS: Declan O Keeffe, Ger Fannin, Stephen Collins, Damian Kennedy, Greg Lyons, Kevin Dilleen (0-1), Gavin O Sullivan Alan O Neill (2-0), Mark Raftery, David O Brien (0-2), Colm Mullen (0-1),  Paul Dullaghan,  Cathal Duggan (0-1), Cathal O Sullivan (0-1), Enda Lyons (0-1). Subs: Mark Hallinan for Raftery, Chris O Brien for D O Brien,  Aidan O Connor for Duggan,  Ivor Whyte for Mullen, John O Brien for Dullaghan.

WOLFE TONES: Jason Casey, Steven Carroll, Sean Brennan, Craig O Brien, Colm McCall, Brendan Hughes, William Flynn, Patsy Keyes, Joe McGauley, Kevin Corbett, Kevin Cahill, Chris Dunning (0-1), Dan Gallery (0-1), Gary Leahy, Stephen Monaghan (0-5). Subs:  Stephen McInerney for Leahy, Aaron Cunningham for Corbett, Darren Ryan for Cahill, Alan Hehir for Dunning

REFEREE: Michael Rock (Ennistymon).

Kilmurry Ibrickane 1-7   Cratloe 0-9

Kilmurry Ibrickane squeezed into their sixth senior county final since 2002, just about holding off Cratloe in rain-drenched Lissycasey last Saturday evening.  

In what was their second successive one-point championship win over Cratloe, having beaten them in the 2010 quarter-final, Kilmurry will feel that kicking 10 wides and five into the goalkeeper’s hands, clearly indicates they should have won by more. Yet, had Padraig Chaplin been more composed eight minutes from time, Cratloe could have goaled. Instead of laying it off to a better-placed colleague, Chaplin blazed wide. A green flag at that juncture would have tested every facet of Kilmurry’s resolve.

However, it was their bench that won it for John Kennedy’s team. Johnny Daly and Niall Hickey were introduced six minutes from full-time and two minutes from the end, Hickey found Daly with a lovely pass. Showing his experience and class, Daly floated over a superb score, into the dressing room end in Lissycasey. The move for the match-winning point started at the far end of the field, when Kilmurry goalkeeper Peter O’Dwyer held and distributed the fourth ball kicked by Conor McGrath to drop short.
Exactly halfway through the opening half hour, nobody would have believed that just a point would divide the teams at full-time. Completely dominant in the first quarter, Kilmurry led 1-3 to 0-1 after 14 minutes. Kilmurry’s support play was excellent, while inside forwards Noel Downes and Michael O’Dwyer were giving the Cratloe full-back line the run-around. Although Enda Coughlan nominally started in the full-forward line, he played all of his football in the half-forward line. Evan Talty started in Coughlan’s regular centre-back slot, with Declan Callinan back from injury at wing-back.
Noel Downes kicked the game’s opening score in the third minute, while Liam Markham equalised four minutes later, after Podge Collins was fouled.
Shane Hickey man-marked Conor McGrath, while Martin McMahon shadowed Cathal McInerney all through, with the Kilmurry defenders keeping the Cratloe danger men scoreless from play.
Following the early exchange of points and missed chances at both ends, Michael O’Dwyer calmly goaled in the 10th minute, picking up a cleverly broken ball from Noel Downes. Ian McInerney pointed a close-in free minutes later, after Cratloe’s Brendan Bugler initially appeared to have been pushed in the back.
Now 1-3 to 0-1 up, Kilmurry were flying but their level of intensity dropped off after that. Cathal McInerney pointed a brace of frees, won by himself and Seán Collins, as half-time approached.
In injury time, Mark McCarthy kicked Kilmurry four points ahead, 1-4 to 0-3, as the winners won yet another Cratloe kick-out. They lost five of their nine kick-outs in the first half.
The talk at half-time was how much Kilmurry would win by. The anticipated clash of the best West Clare has to offer with Cratloe’s emerging flyers wasn’t materialising.
The opening minutes of the second half didn’t bode well for Cratloe. Michael O’Dwyer shot just wide, after Kilmurry won the throw-in, while Ian McInerney pointed his second free after Noel Downes was fouled. Cratloe had been in possession but lost it, allowing Kilmurry to launch a lightening counter attack, culminating with the foul on Downes. Now 1-5 to 0-3 up, Kilmurry were in control, if not quite coasting.
McInerney pointed another free, won by Seán Collins, before Mark McCarthy kicked a sublime score, largely thanks to a perceptive Stephen Moloney cross. Five points ahead, five minutes into the second half, it will be of huge concern to the West Clare aristocrats that they only added a single point in the remaining 25 minutes. They did shoot six wides though, with Peter O’Dwyer, Ian McInerney and Evan Talty among those to miss the target. Kilmurry also landed five point efforts into Jamie Joyce’s lap during the hour.
Slowly, Cratloe ground their way to parity, with McInerney and Liam Markham unerring from frees. McInerney’s fourth pointed free, seven minutes from time, tied the teams at 1-6 to 0-9. The Cratloe corner-forward had been fouled, having been located by a long delivery from Damien Browne.
Those who thronged into the stand in Lissycasey and the umbrella-sheltered crowd opposite were by now enthralled as a county final place was delicately poised.
Kilmurry supporters winced when Mark McCarthy was blocked down, after he had played a quick one-two from a free, won by Niall Hickey. A minute later, Hickey combined with Johnny Daly to set up the winner, which ultimately secured Kilmurry’s place in the October 16 final.
Cratloe didn’t give in though and it took superbly disciplined defending from Shane Hickey to keep Cathal McInerney goal side of him, while shortly after that, Liam Markham shot wide from play, when perhaps Cratloe should have tried to hold possession and work another free.
Stretched at times, the Kilmurry full-back line held up well, even if they gave away some scoreable frees. Peter O’Dwyer was the pick of the midfielders on view, muscling Conor Ryan out of it and showing that experience mixed with work rate is a potent force.
Mark McCarthy scored two lovely points, Michael Hogan worked exceptionally hard for Kilmurry in the half-forward line, while Michael O’Dwyer finished his goal very coolly. Noel Downes started well but faded, while Daly and Niall Hickey combined to win it from the bench. Kilmurry have yet to move fluently this year and their 10 wides tally underlines where their problem is. Still, it’s not a bad problem to have as they prepare for Sunday week’s final.
Liam Markham gave it everything for Cratloe, driving forward frequently from wing-back, while Seán and Podge Collins came much more into the game in the second half.
Cathal McInerney and Markham’s free taking was flawless on a day when Cratloe didn’t step back from the challenge but just couldn’t obtain sufficient space in which to inflict game winning damage.

Kilmurry: Peter O’Dwyer; Shane Hickey, Darren Hickey, Martin McMahon; Ian McInerney, Evan Talty, Declan Callinan; Paul O’Connor, Peter O’Dwyer (captain); Mark McCarthy, Michael Hogan, Stephen Moloney; Enda Coughlan, Noel Downes, Michael O’Dwyer.
Subs: Keith King for Ian McInerney (48), Johnny Daly for Noel Downes (54), Niall Hickey for Michael O’Dwyer (54) and Michael O’Dwyer for Stephen Moloney (60).
Scorers: Michael O’Dwyer (1-0), Mark McCarthy (0-2), Ian McInerney (0-2f), Noel Downes, Enda Coughlan and Johnny Daly (0-1 each).

Cratloe: Jamie Joyce; Seán Chaplin, Barry Duggan, David Ryan; Óige Murphy, Michael Hawes, Liam Markham; Conor Ryan, Brendan Bugler; Wes Deloughrey, Seán Collins, Seán Hynan; Cathal McInerney, Conor McGrath, Podge Collins.
Subs: Padraig Chaplin for Wes Deloughrey (38) and Damien Browne for Seán Hynan (48).
Scorers: Cathal McInerney and Liam Markham (0-4f each) and Podge Collins (0-1).

Referee: Rory Hickey (Éire Óg).