Clare Senior Football Championship Round 3 Preview

Clare Senior Football Championship Round 3 Preview

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Six games are down for decision in the Clare Senior Football Championship at the weekend and the stakes are high for all teams involved.

The eight teams left in the race for Jack Daly along with the two teams that will be fighting tooth and nail for their senior status will be known once this weekend’s action concludes.

Round Three:

Ennistymon vs Cooraclare 18:00 on 23/08/14 at Quilty:
Two teams that yet to hit their peak face off in the first fixture of the weekend. It’s a winner take all clash with the victor advancing to the quarter finals and the loser exiting the championship. Despite a large amount of underage silverware being perched in Ennistymon in recent years, they have failed to carry that success into their senior side. So far in their campaign they suffered a heavy defeat against Doonbeg in Round One, coming up seventeen points short. They did bounce back and defeated St Breckans 2-14 to 0-06 to book their spot in Round Three. That win will count for nothing if they cannot get past Cooraclare on Saturday evening. The North Clare side will be looking to Laurence Healy, Joe Dowling, Ciaran Devitt and Michael Mc Donagh to get them over the line in this one. Cooraclare will be no pushover and the ten time champions will be doing their best to bounce back following their four point loss at the hands of County Champions, Cratloe. The Milesians have been consistently reaching the quarter finals for the last five years and they want that trend to continue. In order to do that, they must get past Ennistymon. For this to work, they need to go all out in an attempt to put scores on the board, so far in their 2014 campaign they have hit 2-19. When the Milesians bow out of the championship it’s because they haven’t put enough scores on the board. It was four points when they lost to Doonbeg in last year’s quarter final, six points they managed when falling to St Josephs Doora Barefield in 2012, 1-03 when it was Kilmurry Ibrickane in 2011, so therefore it’s imperative they keep the scoreboard ticking. It’ll be up to Rory Donnelly, Declan Mc Mahon, John Looney, Thomas Downes and Andrew O Neill to lead the Milesians’ charge. It’ll be a nip and tuck affair that could go either way, if Ennistymon’s young guns are ever going to perform at senior level, they need to be getting regular wins in the championship and they should just about get another at the weekend.

Éire Óg vs Lissycasey 13:00 on 24/08/14 at Cusack Park:
Two of the semi-finalists from 2013 go head to head in what many are labelling the tie of the round. Also simmering in the background is the fact that the last man to bring Jack Daly back to the County town, Alan Malone is part of the Lissycasey management along with Barry Donnelly who was part of the Townies management set-up at the time. Immediately after the draw was made, Éire Óg selector, Mattie Murphy came out and said it would be a massive advantage for Lissycasey having two men who know so much about their squad. Since then, they have had plenty of time to plot their opponents’ downfall so that can be no excuse once the final whistle sounds. Neither has had an easy journey so far in 2014, the Townies had the beating of County Champions, Cratloe in the first round but let it slip and took a while to get going against Liscannor the last day out. On the other hand, Lissycasey had six points to spare over Liscannor in Round One before bowing down to Clondegad in the previous round. One of the positives of a defeat is that it shows area of weakness and teams can then build on these weaknesses. The Townies took too long to get going in both of their matches this year and they will need to be firing on all cylinders from the get go if they want to advance to the last eight. The James Hanrahan managed side will be hoping Dean Ryan, Shane Daniels, David O Halloran, Dara Walsh and Ciaran Russell continue to play the way they have been as of late. Lissycasey tired in the final thirty when they came up five points short of Clondegad. They have conceded a total of forty two frees in their two championship outings this year and if they add to this tally on Sunday afternoon, they will be punished by the free-taking of Stephen Hickey. Lissycasey will be relying on Niall Kelly, Joe Hayes, Seamus Collins and Conor Finucane to give them something to celebrate about. This tie should be an entertaining one but the Townies should have enough to get their campaign back on track.

O Currys vs St Josephs Doora Barefield 17:45 on 24/08/14 at Kilmihil:
A quarter final is the prize for the winning side in this affair. This one is simply going to boil down to whichever team, performs best on the day. Ollie Quinlan has returned to the O Currys side following his honeymoon while it has been speculated Doora Barefield will be without Jarlath Colleran until his commitments with the Clare U-21 hurlers subside. Add in the fact that Alan O Neill has yet to feature for the Parish and they’re minus two of their stronger players. O Currys were unlucky in their first round tie against Miltown who were hell bent on ensuring they were victorious in order to preserve their senior status. They had one point to spare in the previous round when they overcame Kilrush Shamrocks. O Currys exited the championship at this stage last year and they will be determined to go one step further in 2014. In order for that to be achieved they will need Sean Haugh, Ger Quinlan, Eoin Brew, Michael O Shea and Mark Roche at their very best. The Parish also exited the championship at this juncture last year when they fell down to Lissycasey after extra time. Mark Rafferty will be hoping his side will have learned from that day aswell as the defeat to Doonbeg in Round Two. Doora Barefield have yet to recover following the County Final defeats of 2011 and 2012, while they know they’re capable of reaching the big day it’s another thing to actually get there and perform well on the day. They’ve yet to hit the ground running in 2014 and Sunday is the day for them to do so. Stephen Collins, Kevin Dilleen, Christy O Brien and Sean Flynn will need to steer the Parish ship at the weekend. While Doora Barefield are being tipped as many people’s favourites for this one, the hunger of the O Currys men along with the experience of Ger Quinlan should be just enough to ensure they cause an upset.

Kilmurry Ibrickane vs St Senans Kilkee 18:45 on 24/08/14 at Doonbeg:
Former Taoiseach and President of Ireland, Éamon de Valera once said “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”. That is quiet appropriate heading into this tie. Kilmurry Ibrickane along with the whole county were stunned when the Saints were victorious by one point when these sides met in Round One. It’s the one team that the Aidan Maloney managed Kilkee side would have been hoping to avoid, while Dermot Coughlan’s Kilmurry Ibrickane have been chomping at the bit to get their revenge. One of the key reasons why Kilkee were victorious was due to the constant rotating they did but David Russell at midfield was crucial to their victory. Since then, the Bricks have welcomed back Peter O Dwyer to the middle of the field and it will be left to him to ensure Russell isn’t as dominant this time round. Aidan Maloney won the tactical battle the last day as he pinpointed the weaknesses of his native club, the big test for him is to repeat that success but no doubt he’s going to have to do something different. The Bricks recovered with a vengeance in Round Two as they demolished Shannon Gaels. The Saints were disappointing the last day out as they slumped to a fourteen point defeat against Miltown. Kilmurry are without Enda Coughlan for the remainder of the year with a cruciate injury but they’re well known for being a well-balanced side and it’s now that others are getting their chance to impress. They will be hoping Martin Mc Mahon, Shane Hickey, Keelan Sexton, Mark Mc Carthy and Peter O Dwyer impress at the weekend. It’s a big ask of Kilkee to overcome the Bricks twice in one year but their victory in Round One will count for nothing if they can’t repeat the dose. It’ll be up to David Russell, Darragh Kelly, Michael O Shea, Barry Harte, Kevin Larkin and Evan Garvey to get the Saints over the line. While Kilkee have defied the odds already this year it appears to be asking too much of them to do it once more but they won’t go down without a fight.

Relegation Semi-Finals:

St Breckans vs Shannon Gaels 12:00 on 24/08/14 at Miltown:
At the beginning of each year no team dreams of being in this position, some take it game by game while others declare that they’re going to reach the summit, no team ever talks of competing in the relegation play offs. Unfortunately that is what both these camps have been dealt with, following successive defeats in this year’s championship. Not since their return to the senior ranks in 2011 have St Breckans made it to the knockout stages, yet they’ve survived each scare so going into this tie they’ve experience of being in a position where their backs are to the wall. Something that would have been mentioned in the lead up to this game would have been Shannon Gaels refusing to rearrange a league fixture between these sides which saw St Breckans relegated and they will be all out for revenge at the weekend. The men from Lisdoonvarna and Doolin need to utilise their possession and cannot afford to waste it at the weekend. This will be essential to seeing whether or not they hold on to their senior status. St Breckans will be looking to Denis O Driscoll, Aidan Davidson, Pat Nagle and Stephen Tierney to keep them in the senior ranks. The Gaels have been poor so far in this year’s championship. While they ran Doora Barefield close in the first round, they suffered at heavy defeat when they faced off with Kilmurry Ibrickane in Round Two. They have only scored nine points so far in the championship and this is a main factor as to why they find themselves in this position. This clearly shows they have yet to find someone capable of feeling the boots of retired talisman, John Paul O Neill. The Gaels will need solid performances from Frank Cleary, Fergal Kenny, Shane Tubridy and Michael Coughlan. While it’s great to see Cork legend, Amy O Shea managing the Shannon Gaels team, it won’t be enough to save them from a relegation final as St Breckans should have enough to come out on top.

Liscannor vs Kilrush Shamrocks 13:30 on 24/08/14 at Miltown:
This has the makings of a exciting contest, there is no major gap in the standards between either side while the fact that it is a relegation semi-final adds to the excitement. Neither John Mc Donagh nor Jimmy Murray will need to say much to get their sides motivated for this tie. When it comes to a predicament like this, a team quickly finds its leaders; it will come down to who’s willing to do more in order to get their side out of the mess they find themselves in. Liscannor could use the easy option of cursing their luck in the draws having been paired against championship contenders Lissycasey and Éire Óg in their journey so far but they’ll just be focused on coming out of Miltown on Sunday afternoon with a win and senior status secured. The 2010 County Finalists will be looking to Alan Clohessy, Ronan Slattery, Darren Nagle and the Considines for guidance at crucial stages in this one. The Shams have the most senior championships won out of all the teams in the county, but that’s history now and counts for little as they fight to hold on to their senior status. John Hayes made a return to the Shams the last day out for the first time in 2014, but it could be too little too late on his part. Kilrush will need to limit the amount of frees they concede as Alan Clohessy will take advantage of their fouls, so far they have conceded thirty seven frees and the Liscannor men will be happy if they continue to add to that. The Shams will be relying on Chris Dixon, Jim Young, Rory O Connor and Cian Murray to set the pace. It’ll go right down to the wire but having played better opposition in their 2014 campaign, Liscannor should shade it.

Quarter Final Draw:
Cratloe vs O Currys/St Josephs Doora Barefield
Doonbeg vs Ennistymon/Cooraclare
Clondegad vs Kilmurry Ibrickane/St Senans Kilkee
St Jospehs Miltown vs Éire Óg/Lissycasey

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