Ballyea booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Clare Senior Hurling Championship while wins for Inagh/Kilnamona, Tulla and Cratloe ensured the trio kept their Championship hopes alive.
Twelve points from 2013 Hurler of the Year, Tony Kelly helped Ballyea on their way to victory as they claimed a 0-22 1-14 win over neighbours Kilmaley. The Claret and Amber held a six point lead at half-time but Kilmaley captain, Kenneth Kennedy struck a goal to ensure a tight finish. Ballyea eventually prevailed to return to the quarter-finals, the stage at which they exited the competition in 2014 while simultaneously sending Kilmaley into Round Three.
Reigning Champions, Cratloe suffered a fright as they eventually shook off the challenge of Whitegate to advance to Round Three. In a tight first half, Shane O’Rourke goaled for Whitegate while Cratloe stayed level courtesy of Conor McGrath points. Joe McGrath’s side edged out the depleted East Clare men for a finish with a Gearoid Considine goal giving them some breathing space as it ended 1-23 1-17 in their favour. This victory leaves Cratloe in the third round and Whitegate fighting for survival.
Clarecastle are headed for a relegation battle after losing to Inagh/Kilnamona 3-18 0-21. A sloppy first half from the Magpies saw them concede two goals with Conor Tierney and Sean McConigley raising green flags. Despite a better second thirty, Inamona held out for the six point win.
In the East Clare derby, a late finish from Tulla saw them pip rivals Feakle by two points with a 1-12 0-13 win. Niall Bolton and Trevor Vaughan picked off late injury time points and along with Michael Murphy’s goal sent the 2007 Champions on their way to Round Three. Feakle will rue a missed penalty and their second half showing as despite leading at the break, they bowed out of the Championship and find themselves fighting to stay in the grade they got promoted to last year.
Clareabbey is the venue tomorrow evening at 18:30 for the quarter-finals and Round Three draws.