This weekend saw the return of the Clare Senior Hurling Championships and there have been some notable shocks to kick off the opening round.
Reigning Champions, Sixmilebridge suffered their defeat since 2014 as they lost out to Crusheen in a close battle. It finished 1-14 to 0-16. Fergus Kennedy struck the all-important goal with nineteen minutes on the clock. The sides were level and the close nature of the contest continued into the second half.
With nine minutes remaining, Sixmilebridge held a two point advantage. However four scores in succession for John Carmody’s side from Paddy Vaughan, Jamie Fitzgibbon and two from Colin Vaughan gave the Blood and Bandages a massive boost heading into the final few moments. A late 65 from Sixmilebridge was waved wide despite strong protestations from the Bridge setup. Crusheen’s strong finish proved to be crucial as they held out for a one point win.
In the first of two games at Cusack Park, Feakle produced another surprise as they had two points to spare over 2014 Champions, Cratloe winning 1-15 0-16. Conor McGrath and Cathal McInerney were two big losses for Joe McGrath’s side. Feakle will be ecstatic with their first round win and Oisin Donnellan’s goal on the forty fourth minute gave them a lead they would never let go of.
Goals win matches and that was the case in Shannon as Clooney/Quin edged past Inagh/Kilnamona 4-13 to 1-19. Martin Duggan played a key role with the London resident hitting 2-01 over the hour. Inamona paid the price for a lacklustre first half in which they were fortunate to find themselves only five points behind.
Kevin Hehir led the North Clare’s side revival in the second half with some excellent scores. They led by a point following a long range effort from Tomas Kelly on the forty seventh minute, however Duggan fired home for his second goal to put Clooney ahead. Once more Inamona fought back and managed to level matters only for Peter Duggan to fire home for their fourth goal.
A strong performance for O’Callaghans Mills was enough to see them past Whitegate 2-16 to 1-13. Heading into the tie, the Mills were the fancied outfit and found themselves eight points ahead at the break.
In the opening game of the Championship, Clarecastle finished with four of the final five points to overcome Tulla 0-19 0-17.