Clonlara 3-20 O Callaghans Mills 2-11
Venue: Cusack Park
A total of 3-11 from County star, John Conlon was crucial to the Clonlara cause as they booked their spot in the semi-final of the Clare Senior Hurling Championship.
Despite a poor start, Clonlara slowly found their feet and managed a comfortable twelve point win for a finish. The Mills were on top in the beginning of this affair but Clonlara got goals at critical stages which took the wind out of their sails.
Conlon opened his account with just over a minute played from a placed ball. O Callaghans Mills equalised with a point from Clare senior hurling captain, Patrick Donnellan. Two frees on the trot from Adrian Flaherty pushed the Mills into the lead with five minutes played. Conor Rocky Cooney added to that lead on the seventh minute as he slotted straight between the sticks. A further point from Cooney lifted the Mills faithful as it pushed the gap to four. Conlon and Flaherty exchanged scores with thirteen minutes gone.
A brace of 1-02 from John Conlon in the space of three minutes put Clonlara back into the lead. Flaherty levelled matters with eighteen minutes played but two points from Conlon and one from Colm Galvin pushed Clonlara back ahead. Substitute Aidan O Gorman goaled for O Callaghans Mills with twenty eight minutes played to leave the minimum between the sides. Cormac O Donovan raised a white flag for Clonlara to leave it 1-09 to 1-07 at the interval.
County minor, Ian Galvin was first off the mark following the resumption and his effort sailed over the crossbar with less than a minute played. Adrian Flaherty lowered the gap with a pointed free shortly after. Three points from Conlon along with one from Colm Galvin went unanswered as Clonlara put six between the sides with eight minutes gone. The Mills came back into it when wing back, Ciaran Cooney flicked the sliotar past Ger O Connell in the Clonlara goal.
Adrian Donovan lowered the gap even further with eleven minutes on the clock. Tommy Lynch got his only score of the day on the twelfth minute to add to Clonlara’s lead. A Nicky O Connell free found John Conlon and the ‘postman’ knew exactly what to do as he delivered the ball straight to back of the Mills onion sack. Two points on the trot from Ian Galvin with eighteen minutes gone gave the champions of 2008 real breathing space. Aidan O Gorman and Nicky O Connell exchanged scores to leave eight between the sides with twenty gone. Conlon with another brace of 1-02 in the space of four minutes put the icing on the cake. Aidan O Gorman got the final score of the tie when his free sailed straight between the sticks.
The Mills men will be very disappointed with their inconsistent performance. This time last year they suffered a one point defeat following extra time to Clonlara at the same stage, this time round it was twelve points and there was no need for extra time as Clonlara were by far the better team. The fact that four of the starting forwards for O Callaghans Mills were substituted says it all as there was no real threat in the front six. They weren’t as effective with possession compared to their opposition and it’s a reality check for the team that were considered dark horses for the championship at the beginning of the year. Conor Rocky Cooney, Patrick Donnellan, Ciaran Cooney and Bryan Donnellan did well for the Mills.
Despite a shaky start in this tie Clonlara still find themselves in the last four in the race for the Canon Hamilton. They had a gameplan and it worked a treat, when in possession Clonlara always aimed to have John Conlon as the final destination for the pass, there was no hit and hope approach, just intellectual hurling. Their slow start is something Kevin Galvin and his management team will look at, as they lost their first five puckouts and that is something they will be punished for the next day. They hit a total of thirteen wides and this number will have to decrease for their semi-final outing. John Conlon, Colm Galvin, Darach Honan and Cillian Fennessy did best for Clonlara.
Clonlara: Ger O Connell, Cillian Fennessy, Shane O Brien, Pat O Hare, Nicky O Connell (0-01 1f), Oisin O Brien, Domhnall O Donovan, Tommy Lynch (0-01), Colm Galvin (0-02), Neill Ryan, Darach Honan, Cormac O Donovan (0-01), Ian Galvin (0-03), John Conlon (3-11 5f), Cathal O Connell (0-01). Subs: Seamus Downey for Ryan (42:44), James Hastings for I Galvin (52:40), Michael O Loughlin for C O Connell (54:33), Paul Nihill for C O Donovan (56:55), Senan Nihill for O O Brien (56:55).
O Callaghans Mills: John Cooney, Gerry Cooney, Sean O Gorman, Eoin Mc Inerney, Ciaran Cooney (1-00), Bryan Donnellan, Niall Donovan, Patrick Donnellan (0-01), Conor Rocky Cooney (0-02), Conor Cooney, Adrian Flaherty (0-05 4f), Jonathan Lyons, Jamie Lynch, Adrian Dononvan (0-01), Aidan Fawl. Subs: Aidan O Gorman for Lyons (23:06), Eoghan Mc Grath for Lynch (42:44), Colin Crehan for Flaherty (42:44), Mike Mc Grath for S O Gorman (49:49), Gary Neville for Conor Cooney (53:53).
Referee: Ger Hoey (Killanena).