Ballyea reached the semi-final of the Canon Hamilton for the first time since 2013 after a flawless individual performance from Tony Kelly.
Jamesy McConigley reports from Cusack Park
Venue: Cusack Park
In the battle of two sides tipped to reach the business end of the Clare SHC it was Robbie Hogan’s side that prevailed the stronger of the two in today’s duel.
After just 15 minutes on the clock, Donal Tuohy’s free helped Crusheen into a cushy six point lead on a scoreline of 0-07 to 0-01 but Ballyea didn’t panic. Youth combined with experience alleviated Ballyea back into contention, Gary Brennan and Tony Kelly scoring 1-06 in 15 minutes putting them in front at the interval, 1-09 to 0-07. The goal came at a perfect time just before Rory Mc Gann sounded the half time whistle.
Both sides exchanged scores but Ballyea’s started to widen the gap courtesy of Tony Kelly’s hurley on the resumption. Colin Vaughan had a glorious chance to cut the deficit, thankfully for Kevin Sheehan’s sake his attempt flew past the post.
Niall Deasy became more and more influential with his lung busting runs and fired over two gorgeous points mid-way through the second half. It wasn’t just great showing from Ballyea’s forwards, Jack Browne, Gearoid O’Connell and Joe Neylon kept Fergus Kennedy and co at bay for the second half. While Crusheen knocked on the door on numerous occasions, Ballyea held firm running out winners by seven points.
Ballyea: Kevin Sheehan; Joe Neylon, Jack Browne, Brian Carrig; Paul Flannagan, Gearoid O’Connell, James Murphy, Paul Flanagan; Stan Lineen, Tony Kelly; Niall Deasy, Gary Brennan, Cathal Doohan; Damien Burke, Eoghan Donnellan, Patjoe Connelly. Subs: Pearse Lillis for Damien Burke, David Egan for Patjoe Connelly, Martin O’Leary for Eoghan Donnellan.
Scorers: Tony Kelly (0-10 5F), Gary Brennan (1-01), Niall Deasy (0-02), Eoghan Donnellan, Pearse Lillis, David Egan, Gearoid O’Connell (0-01 each).
Crusheen: Donal Tuohy; John Brigdale, Gerry O’Grady, Jason Greene; Ciarain O’Doherty, Cian Dillon, Cathal Dillon; Shaun Dillon, Alan Brigdale; Pat Vaughan, Gearoid O’Donnell, Alan Tuohy; Jamie Fitzgibbon, Fergus Kennedy, Colin Vaughan. Subs: Cillian Mullins for Pat Vaughan, Darragh O’Doherty for Gearoid O’Doherty, Patrick O’Grady for Fergus Kennedy, Joe Meaney for Alan Tuohy, Mark Perrill for John Brigdale.
Scorers: Ciarain O’Doherty (1F) and Colin Vaughan (3F) (0-3), Jamie Fitzgerald (0-02), Fergus Kennedy, Donal Tuohy (F), Alan Tuohy, Gearoid O’Doherty (0-01).
Referee: Rory McGann (Newmarket-on-Fergus)