Kilmurry Ibrickane sealed their place in the final of the Clare SFC with a comfortable win over Cooraclare.
Kilmurry Ibrickane 2-11
Venue: Shanahan McNamara Memorial Park, Doonbeg
Due to such a large crowd wishing to get into the GAA grounds at Doonbeg throw-in time was delayed almost ten minutes such was the tailback of traffic approaching Shanahan McNamara Memorial Park in the West Clare village. Unfortunately for spectators the game that unfolded wasn’t worth the wait as a flat encounter between Kilmurry Ibrickane and Cooraclare was their reward for attending the game.
Between both teams a total of six scores were hit in the opening half. It took twelve minutes for the first of these which came via the boot of Kilmurry Ibrickane wing-forward Niall Hickey. Rising star Keelan Sexton kicked over three placed balls while Ian McInerney did likewise from distance.
Cooraclare registered just one point in the first half with Damien Burke reacting quick after a Rory Donnelly shot was saved. They were reduced to fourteen men on the twenty seventh minute as Andrew O’Neill picked up a second yellow card and was shown the line by referee Pat Cosgrove.
Trailing by five points and a man down it was always going to be difficult for Cooraclare to force their way back into proceedings. That task became even tougher inside the opening five minutes of the second half as Kilmurry Ibrickane added 1-01. Sexton slotted over a free while Michael O’Dwyer palmed to the net.
Further efforts from Noel Downes, Sexton, Johnny Daly and Peter O’Dwyer increased the distance between the sides. The Milesians improved their scoring rate in the second half with Pearse Lillis and Jack Morrissey both adding white flags.
Rory Donnelly’s quick thinking caught Kilmurry Ibrickane off guard as his well struck quick free kick snuck past Ian McInerney in additional time. However his strike was cancelled out at the other end as Keelan Sexton raised a green flag at the other end to bring his personal tally to 1-05 and nudge the Bricks into their first County Final since 2012.
As they look to build on this display Horse Moloney’s men will need to become more clinical and ruthless. They had an opportunity to kill off the Cooraclare challenge and while they didn’t let them back into the game they never buried them when they had the chance. Kilmurry Ibrickane had the work done and the only concern for them is the lack of a really tough test on their journey to the final.
Having lost out to Miltown in the County Final of 2015, equalling their previous campaign was always going to be difficult. When all is said and done they were sixty minutes away from repeating the same feat. If they’re to progress the Milesians need to come up with an approach that allows them to be so defensive but crucially ensures they’re not limited at the other end.
Kilmurry Ibrickane: Ian McInerney; Mark Kileen, Darren Hickey, Ciaran Morrissey; Steven Moloney, Martin McMahon, Darragh Sexton; Mark McCarthy, Keith King; Niall Hickey, Shane Hickey, Michael Hogan; Michael O’Dwyer, Enda Coughlan, Keelan Sexton. Subs: Noel Downes for Hogan (HT), Declan Callinan for Morrissey (HT), John McNamara for N Hickey (44), Peter O’Dwyer for O’Dwyer (47), Thomas O’Connor for McCarthy, Johnny Daly for Coughlan.
Cooraclare: Killian Roche; Declan McMahon, Andrew O’Neill, Niall Kelly; Thomas Donnellan, Fergal Lillis, James Burke; John Looney, Sean O’Donoghue; Hugh Donnelly, Damien Burke, Jack Morrissey; Rory Donnelly, Cathal Lillis, Pearse Lillis. Subs: Tadhg Lillis for H Donnelly (37), Conor Marrinan for C Lillis (41), Keith Marrinan for T Lillis (43), Dermot Tubridy for Kelly (52), Michael McMahon for Burke (55).
Referee: Pat Cosgrove (Corofin)