2014 County finalists Éire Óg stumbled out of the Championship with a two point defeat against a hungrier Lissycasey outfit.
Éire Óg 0-06
In a very low-scoring and for the best part a dull affair, it was the men from Lissycasey who claimed their spot in Round Three of the Clare Senior Football Championship after springing to life in the second half as they outscored their opponents seven points to three.
These sides met in the 2014 Championship with Éire Óg claiming a 3-16 to 0-06 win. In the intervening twelve months, Lissycasey have managed to overturn the score by twenty one points and their highly defensive system and workrate coupled with the lack of grit on display from the Townies behalf allowed them to do so.
Eimhin Courtney was first off the mark with a free on the tenth minute, he was on target seven minutes later from a placed ball to increase Éire Óg’s lead. Conor O’Halloran opened his account on the twenty fifth minute with a fine score from distance. Lissycasey got their first score of the tie on twenty seven minutes via the left boot of Enda Finucane with a stunning strike which left the Ennis club two ahead at the break.
A well worked Éire Óg move at the beginning of the second half started with Conal Ó hAiniféin who kicked in the direction of Eimhin Courtney and a blistering turn from the lively corner forward left him with the time and vision to find Davy O’Halloran who spilt the posts.
Freetakers Enda Finucane and Courtney traded scores to leave three between the sides four minutes in. Finucane added a further free before Niall Kelly landed a nice score on the forty sixth minute after receiving a handpass from Paul Nagle. Another placed ball from Finucane had the sides level pegging with over ten minutes of normal time remaining.
Two excellent scores on the trot from Conor Finucane edged Lissycasey ahead. Paddy O’Malley picked up Éire Óg’s first score in twenty four minutes to leave the minimum between the sides but Mikey O’Neill sealed the win with a white flag on the sixtieth minute.
Throughout the contest, Éire Óg hit fourteen wides which equalled the total amount of scores got by both teams. Having come so close to clinching the Jack Daly in 2014, the Townies never hit the heights they were capable of climbing this year with two very disappointing defeat to Ennistymon and Lissycasey ending their run.
A scene that captured the essence of the Townies’ mood was the two minute and fifty second cameo made by substitute James Woods. Woods entered the fray in place of Sean Corry and less than three minutes later found himself back on the sideline having received a black card for dragging down Paul Nagle. The former Clare minor did his defensive duty by preventing the danger but it surmised Éire Óg’s disposition, one contaminated by frustration. They are now in a relegation battle where they will come up against teams with all guns-blazing and while they will be expected to avoid the drop, so far this far they’ve been lacking the ammunition that is required.
Going into the game, Lissycasey wore the underdogs tag and rightly so, their display against St Breckans didn’t inspire confidence but in this encounter they showed the workrate and fight that was lacking in abundance the last day. They learned from that day and made ten changes to their team; both positional and in personnel. The players that were added to the mix made a huge difference.
Aidan Daly incorporated a very defensive game-plan and while this limited the amount of Éire Óg scores in the second half, consequently it hindered the total damage his own attackers could cause with just Michael O’Malley lining out in the full-forward line. A one-man inside line may not suffice in Round Three. Mikey O’Neill, Enda Finucane, Cathal Doohan, Ryan Griffin and Páraic McNamara were to the fore for the 2007 County Champions.
Lissycasey; Joe Hayes; Páraic McNamara, Ryan Griffin, Gerry Moran; Cathal Hill, Enda Finucane (0-04 3f), Matt O’Shea; Cathal Doohan, Brian Cahill; Alan Nagle, Barry Lynch, Niall Kelly (0-01), Mikey O’Neill (0-01), Conor Finucane (0-02); Michael O’Malley. Subs: Seamus Collins for Cahill (34), David Talty for Lynch (37), Paul Nagle for Nagle (44).
Éire Óg; Barry Ryan; Conor O’Halloran (0-01), Conor Brennan, Liam Corry; Sean Corry, Shane Daniels, Dean Ryan; Ciarán Russell, Darren O’Neill; Eoin Glynn, Barry Toner, Conal Ó hAiniféin; Eimhin Courtney (0-03 3f), Davy O’Halloran (0-01), Paddy O’Malley (0-01 1f). Subs: James Woods for Corry (46), Aidan McGrath for Woods (49) (BC).
Referee: Pat Cosgrove (Corofin).
Gallery of pictures taken by John Meyler.