Ennistymon defied the odds to overcome Kilmurry/Ibrickane and book their place in the quarter-finals of the Clare Senior Football Championship.
Venue: Cusack Park
Cathal Crowe’s Ennistymon led from start to finish in this contest as they took another big scalp in the Clare SFC having previously defeated 2014 County Finalists Éire Óg in the first round.
When all is said and done Kilmurry/Ibrickane can have no grievances with the result as they were the inferior team on the day and failed to match their opponents when it came to the utilisation of possession with several shots dropping short whereas Ennistymon constantly passed to teammates and this approach paid dividends.
David Davenport was first on the scoresheet with the tie less than a minute old after receiving a pass from Sean McConigley and splitting the posts. Kilmurry/Ibrickane responded with Peter O’Dwyer pointing on the third minute. Davenport added to his account and two frees in succession from Danny Rouine increased their lead to three points with eight minutes played.
Ian McInerney kicked over a 45 and O’Dwyer added his second score of the day before Micheal Devitt ventured up into the Ennistymon attack and finished off a well-worked move with a strike off his right boot. Two frees from Danny Rouine gave his side a 0-07 0-04 lead at the interval.
It took six minutes for the first score of the second half and what a score it was with Rouine pointing from thirty yards out almost on the sideline of the Southern Stand which is currently undergoing construction. Keelan Sexton got Kilmurry/Ibrickane out of the traps on the forty eighth minute with a placed kick.
Having sustained a broken shoulder in the first round defeat to Cratloe, Sexton was a welcome return for the Bricks and he added a further free and one from play, these scores along with one from substitute Noel Downes who made his presence known had the sides level with eleven minutes of normal time remaining.
Enda Ralph stepped up with the all-important goal on the fifty sixth minute. Cathal McConigley sent a cross-field pass to Sean McConigley who held up his marker and offloaded to David Davenport and he found Danny Rouine whose quick handpass fell into the hands of Kevin Hehir. Hehir with the ball in hand fooled the Kilmurry/Ibrickane defence with a side-step and passed to the on-rushing Enda Ralph with the corner-forward firing the ball to the bottom left corner of Peter O’Dwyer’s goal to the delight of the Ennistymon masses.
An excellent score from Cathal McConigley had the men from the market town leading by four points with fifty eighth minutes on the clock. Now with the bulk of possession Kilmurry/Ibrickane attempted to claw their way back but the best they could muster was a point from Keelan Sexton as time ran out on their 2015 Championship bid with Ennistymon marching into the quarter-finals.
It is the first time since 2006 that Kilmurry/Ibrickane will not be in the draw for the quarter-finals of the Clare SFC. Their shooting and use of the ball being one of the main reasons why. Over the hour they hit ten wides and in comparison to Ennistymon’s five it proved to be crucial, they also wasted opportunities by floating the ball in towards the square when a point would have been a wiser option.
Only two points were scored from play by the Bricks attackers and management may regret leaving Noel Downes on the line for so long as he showed some flair in attack which was lacking throughout. At times it looked like the thirteen time Champions could steal it up until Enda Ralph goaled but they were without the killer instinct that has served them well so many times before. Thomas O’Connor and Peter O’Dwyer stood out for John Conole’s men while Keelan Sexton was a constant threat up front.
After a one year hiatus, Ennistymon return to the quarter-finals of the Clare SFC and for many of their younger players it will be their first appearance in the last eighth. Although they faded out of the second half allowing Kilmurry/Ibrickane back into proceedings, they kept their nerve and refused to press the panic button.
Substitutes made a big difference for the victors adding fresh legs, none more than Cathal McConigley who added a super point on the fifty eighth minute while also sending the cross-field pass that created Enda Ralph’s goal. Every time the ball went towards the Ennistymon full-forward line there was a possibility of a score and immediate danger was sensed, going forward they will need to maintain this but also got more scores from their forwards with only two starting forwards registering on the scoreboard. Sean McConigley, Danny Rouine, Lawrence Healy, Michael O’Loughlin, Kevin Hehir and Noel Sexton were very influential for the winners.
Ennistymon: Noel Sexton; Michael O’Loughlin, Lawrence Healy, Enda Ralph (1-00); Daire Crowe, Michael Devitt, Adam Ralph; Michael McDonagh, Kevin Hehir; Joe Dowling, Joey Rouine, David Fitzgerald; Danny Rouine (0-05 4f), Sean McConigley, David Davenport (0-02). Subs: Cathal McConigley (0-01) for Fitzgerald (41), Francis O’Loughlin for Devitt (46), Michael Leigh for Dowling (49), Ciaran Vaughan for A Ralph (53), Ciaran Devitt for Crowe (60).
Kilmurry/Ibrickane: Peter O’Dwyer; Darren Hickey, Martin McMahon, Ciaran Morrissey; Shane Hickey, Enda Coughlan, Thomas O’Connor; Ian McInerney (0-01 1’45), Peter O’Dwyer (0-02); Michael Hogan, Michael O’Dwyer, Stephen Moloney (0-01); Johnny Daly, Keelan Sexton (0-04 2f 1’45), Evan Talty. Subs: Mark McCarthy for Daly (22), Noel Downes (0-01) for Hogan (42), Keith King for P O’Dwyer (57), John McNamara for Talty (57).
Referee: John Hannon (Michael Cusacks)