Goals were the difference as St Josephs Doora/Barefield kept their Championship hopes alive with a three point win over Wolfe Tones.
St Josephs Doora/Barefield 2-08
Wolfe Tones na Sionna 0-11
Despite having the majority of possession in the tie, Wolfe Tones still ended up on the losing side and now face a tough test to avoid relegation to the Intermediate grade which they were promoted from last year.
Captain, Gary Leahy was first off the mark with a free inside the opening minute but a shot from the right foot of Christy O’Brien levelled matters on the third minute. The resulting kickout was won by Sean Flynn who ran at the Tones defence and offloaded to a free Alan O’Neill with the Clare Senior football panellist firing to the back of the net.
Subsequent white flags from O’Neill and O’Brien extended Doora’s lead to five points with eight minutes played. The Shannon side replied with five unanswered points courtesy of the Leahy brothers, Gary and Darragh plus the equalising score from corner-forward Brian O’Connor.
Alan O’Neill pushed the Parish back in front with a tidy effort off his right foot on the twenty first minute but an excellent free from Gary Leahy had the sides’ level pegging once more with twenty five minutes on the clock. Christy O’Brien and Ivor Whyte pushed Barefield back in front with a white flag each and Leahy pointed another free to leave the minimum separating the sides at the break.
Colm Clancy’s Doora/Barefield got the perfect start to the second half when Eoin Hanrahan fisted the ball past full-back Stephen Tuohy to an unmarked Alan O’Neill who blasted to the bottom left corner of Ciarán Argue’s net.
Gary Leahy and Christy O’Brien exchanged frees with forty three minutes on the clock. A long-range effort from Chris Dunning brought the gap to three points with ten minutes of normal time remaining. Ivor Whyte and Leahy swapped scores towards the finish of the game and try as they might, the Shannon side couldn’t hammer home any goal chance and had a call for a penalty shot down when Darragh Leahy appeared to be fouled close to the goal to allow St Josephs hold out for the vital win.
Wolfe Tones just hit three scores in the second half and even though they had the bulk of possession they failed to supply their dangerous full-forward line with a proper supply of ball. Had they done this, they would find be preparing for a Round Three game with their Senior status secure. It took Brendan Hughes and his management too long to realise the damage being done by Alan O’Neill by making a change while the decision to take off one of their better players in Brian O’Connor also raised eyebrows.
The Tones gifted their opponents too much space in attack and crucially their inability to get a goal in attack played an integral part in their exit from the Championship. They must now regroup and prepare for what will be a battle in the relegation semi-final. Gary Leahy, Sean Brennan, Darragh Leahy and Brian O’Connor were prominent for the 2014 Intermediate Champions.
Doora/Barefield were more economical in front of goal as they took their chances hitting only three wides over the hour. However as they prepare for the third round they will need to look at creating more chances. They were outscored by their Shannon counterparts 11-10 but their killer instinct in front of goal got them over the line.
Although they didn’t contribute on the scoreboard, the substitutions brought in by Colm Clancy and his selectors made an impact as they brought fresh legs to proceedings and won the breaks around the middle of the field. Only three players scored for the Parish and this figure will need to increase if they’re to be successful in Round Three. Alan O’Neill, Christy O’Brien, Sean Flynn and Paudie Nugent did best for Doora/Barefield.
St Josephs Doora/Barefield: Niall Duggan; Phillip Ryan, Kevin Dilleen, Martin Brooks; Paudie Nugent, Stephen Collins, Conor O’Brien; Eoin Hanrahan, Brian Dilleen, Declan Malone; Sean Flynn, Ivor Whyte (0-02), David O’Brien; Alan O’Neill (2-02), Christy O’Brien (0-04 1f). Subs: Luke Brannock for B Dilleen (40), Ger Fannin for Collins (40) (Inj), Cathal Duggan for D O’Brien (46), Cathal O’Sullivan for Hanrahan (53) (Inj).
Wolfe Tones na Sionna: Ciarán Argue; Steven Carroll, Stephen Tuohy, Ross O’Connor; Colm McCaul, Sean Brennan, Aaron Brennan; Barry Murphy, Johnny Bridges; Jamie Roughan, Kevin Cahill, Chris Dunning (0-01); Darragh Leahy (0-01), Gary Leahy (0-08 7f), Brian O’Connor (0-01). Subs: Patsy Keyes for Bridges (26) (BC), Jack Kelly for Tuohy (44), Brendan Hughes for Cahill (46), Bryan Conway for B O’Connor (55), Daniel Gallery for R O’Connor (59).
Referee: Jim Hickey (Cratloe)
Gallery of pictures taken by John Meyler.