Clare Senior, Shane Golden was on fire for Sixmilebridge hitting 2-05 as they began their 2015 Championship Campaign with a win over Éire Óg after pushing on in the second half.
Éire Óg 1-10
Venue: Cusack Park.
With the sides level with twenty two minutes remaining, few of the spectators present in Cusack Park, expected that Sixmilebridge would extend their lead to twelve points at the end of the game.
David Reidy was first to register a score and it came via a free two minutes into the contest. Points from Shane Golden and Niall Gilligan put the Bridge in front with four minutes played. Liam Corry intercepted a Sixmilebridge attack with seven minutes gone and he picked out Reidy who levelled matters. Golden and Gilligan raised another white flag each to John O’Meara’s side back in the lead.
Further points from Reidy kept the Townies within an arm’s length but Conor Deasy, Pa Sheehan, Niall Gilligan, Shane Golden and Seadna Morey all pointed to extend Sixmilebridge’s lead to six points with twenty four minutes played. Brian Dolan and Brian Corry swapped scores on the twenty seventh minute before Shane O’Donnell offloaded to Thomas Downes and he fired the sliotar to the bottom left corner of Derek Fahy’s goal. Éire Óg added another score this time from Liam Corry after Downes set up the Clare U21 panellist to leave two points between the times at the break.
Seamus Durack’s Éire Óg were back on level terms when David Reidy and Barry Nugent both pointed inside the first eight minutes of the second half. Sixmilebridge responded with Shane Golden and Niall Gilligan both pointing. A cross-field pass from Shane O’Donnell fell in the direction of David Reidy and the LIT student slotted between the posts on the fifteenth minute. The Bridge responded in the best possible fashion as Alan Mulready flicked the sliotar to Shane Golden and he tucked the sliotar past Kevin Brennan.
Momentum was with the 2013 Champions at this stage and further scores were added via Niall Gilligan on the double, Cathal Malone and Pa Sheehan. Reidy popped over a free to cut the gap but Shane Golden heaped more misery on the Ennis club after making the most of a mistake in the full-back line as he picked up his second goal. Two points from Gilligan in the closing stages of the tie wrapped up the win and ensured their place in the winners section of Round Two.
Davy O’Halloran was a notable absentee from the Éire Óg panel for this clash and his presence could have made such a difference especially when the game was there to be won. On the line, the Townies seemed to get carried away in conflict with everyone and anyone as one member of management even threatened to give one County Board official “an unmerciful belt” should a row break out. Had they invested as much time working on the shooting and fitness of their side they could have claimed the spoils.
To their credit Éire Óg showed savage workrate at times and they managed to get in a number of hooks and blocks over the hour. They failed to supply Shane O’Donnell with enough ball and when a side has one of the County’s most dangerous hurlers they should do their best to have him in possession with every attack. David Reidy, Shane O’Donnell, David Neylon and Liam Corry did well for the Townies.
John O’Meara will be pleased with his Sixmilebridge charges, when push came to shove they increased their intensity and got goals at the right times to deflate the challenge of their opponents. However it seems O’Meara has yet to learn from some of the errors of 2014 as they continue to leave Seadna Morey arguably their best player at corner-back where he has little impact on proceedings and a man of Morey’s standard has the ability to win games but the decision was made to have him marking Barry Nugent.
Up front younger players such as Conor Deasy and Brian Corry are beginning to step up to the mark but some cracks are beginning to show in the spine of the Bridge team most notably a lack of pace. They showed the greater will to win and they will only build as the Championship progresses with their name certainly among the favourites. Shane Golden was superb for the Bridge while Pa Sheehan, Noel Purcell and Niall Gilligan were prominent.
Sixmilebridge: Derek Fahy, Seadna Morey (0-01), Aidan Quilligan, Tadhg Keogh, Noel Purcell, Caimin Morey, Paidi Fitzpatrick, Pa Sheehan (0-02), Kevin Lynch, Cathal Malone (0-01), Niall Gilligan (0-09 4f), Conor Deasy (0-01), Brian Corry (0-01), Shane Golden (2-05), Alan Mulready. Subs: Brian Carey for Lynch (49), Alex Morey for Mulready (55), Barry Fitzpatrick for Keogh (57).
Éire Óg: Kevin Brennan, Marc O’Donnell, Aaron Fitzgerald, David Neylon, Dara Walsh, Noel Whelan, Liam Corry (0-01), Ciarán Russell, Kevin Moynihan, David Reidy (0-07 3f 1’65), Bryan Dolan (0-01), Thomas Downes (1-00), David Durack, Shane O’Donnell, Barry Nugent (0-01). Subs: Cian Darcy for Moynihan (21), Nathan Murray for Darcy (35), Kieran Malone for Durack (39), Danny Russell for C Russell (49).
Referee: Jim Hickey (Cratloe).