Wolfe Tones secured their place in Round Three of the Clare SFC with a three point extra-time win over St Josephs Doora/Barefield.
Páraic McMahon reports from Michael O’Hehir Park
Wolfe Tones 1-10
St Josephs Doora/Barefield 0-10
Venue: Michael O’Hehir Park, Cratloe
These sides met at the same stage of this competition on this weekend last year. In that outing Doora/Barefield prevailed by three points but today Wolfe Tones exacted their revenge and once more the difference between the sides was three points.
Neither outfit played to their best and upon reflecting on the game both sets of players will certainly agree. It was a game that could have went either way; Wolfe Tones the stronger team in the first half failed to push on in the second thirty while Doora/Barefield once they got in control allowed their opponents back into the game. Then in extra time the Parish held a one point lead at the break but they failed to score in the second period allowing the Shannon side to snatch victory.
It took eleven minutes for the first score of the game and it came from a Gary Leahy free. Doora/Barefield opened their account on the eighteenth minute via a Christy O’Brien spot kick. Leahy added a further two points while Jack Carrigg also scored as Christy and David O’Brien did likewise to leave it 0-05 0-03 in favour of the Tones at half-time.
Declan Malone kicked a fine score with the second half just two minutes old but Wolfe Tones went three clear as Gary Leahy and Chris Dunning raised white flags. Four points without reply saw Doora/Barefield take the lead for the first time in the game with fifty three minutes on the clock. A glorious goal chance fell to Daniel Gallery and his shot sailed to the right of the goal and with that it looked like the tie was over.
However the Tones regrouped and in the next attack they were awarded a free which Gary Leahy kicked between the posts to send the game to extra time.
Substitute Johnny Bridges made the most of space in the St Josephs’ defence to slot over the first score of extra time. Doora/Barefield replied with scores from Christy O’Brien and Cathal O’Sullivan to hold a one point advantage at half-time.
Crucially they would fail to score in the second period of extra time. The vital score of the game was got by corner-back Ross O’Connor on the seventy fifth minute, he received an excellent cross field pass from Darragh Leahy and with only Niall Duggan to beat, he kicked to the bottom right corner of the net. Daniel Gallery added a point to seal the win for the Tones.
Having secured promotion from the Intermediate ranks in 2014, Wolfe Tones realise the importance of retaining their Senior status. That’s the big positive they can take from today’s game along with their ability to force the game to extra-time and eventually win it. John Riordan’s side had strong performances from Sean Brennan, Tino Nzvaura, Aaron Brennan and Ian Collins while Gary Leahy continues to be their main man in attack.
They have a lot of work to do for their Round Three clash in two weeks time but the main thing for them is that they’re still in the championship. It’s progress from last year where they competed in the relegation final, in order to go further they need to score more, in their two championship games this year they have scored 1-18 which is what they will need to get alone if they’re to advance to the last eight.
A slow start and a non-existent finish pretty much sums up St Josephs Doora/Barefield. It took them eighteen minutes to register a score in the first half and then as the game was in the melting pot they couldn’t score in extra time. They needed leadership to drive them on at these crucial stages but unfortunately for them it was nowhere to be found.
St Josephs had sixteen wides in the game, some of them were poor but in other cases it’s refreshing to see players try to score given the fact that we went the first eleven minutes of the game without a single score. However it is their misses from placed balls, four in total that proved costly. Only two of their forwards got on the scoresheet which won’t win knockout championship games. Conor O’Brien, Declan Malone and David O’Brien did well but the Parish are in danger of becoming a dual Intermediate club.
Wolfe Tones: Paul Tuohy; Colm McCaul, Stephen Tuohy, Ross O’Connor (1-00); Craig O’Brien; Ian Collins, Sean Brennan, Aaron Brennan; Tino Nzvaura, Barry Murphy; Chris Dunning (0-01), Terry Dougan; Jack Carrig (0-01), Gary Leahy (0-06 5f), Brian O’Connor. Subs: Darragh Leahy for B O’Connor (37), Daniel Gallery (0-01) for A Brennan (44) (BC), Johnny Bridges (0-01) for Carrig (56), Sean Costelloe for Dougan (64), Brian O’Connor for Costelloe (70), Jack Carrig for Murphy (79) (Inj).
St Josephs Doora/Barefield: Niall Duggan; Conor O’Brien, Kevin Dilleen, Kevin Meaney; Kevin Harrington, Declan Malone (0-01), Paudie Nugent; Leo Duggan, Mark Hallinan, Tom Hannon; Sean Flynn, Alan O’Neill, Greg Lyons; Christy O’Brien (0-06 6f), David O’Brien (0-02). Subs: Phillip Ryan for Lyons (HT). Cathal O’Sullivan (0-01) for Flynn (60), Luke Brannock for Hannon (60), Ger Fannin for Meaney (65) (BC), Stephen Collins for L Duggan (68), Enda Lyons for C O’Brien (78).
Referee: Jim Hickey (Cratloe)