Ballyea are one step away from claiming the Canon Hamilton after they outclassed a passionate Feakle in the semi-finals of the Clare SHC.
Jamesy McConigley reports from Cusack Park
Venue: Cusack Park
Feakle had the better of the early exchanges and were ahead 2-1 in the opening 5 minutes courtesy of two Shane McGrath placed balls. Both sides traded scores before Patjoe Connelly and Tony Kelly tagged on a further two to leave Ballyea ahead for the first time in the game. Feakle then replied with a crucial score on the thirteenth minute from the stick of Colin Nelson who struck low to the corner of the Ballyea net.
Ballyea responded again and left the sides level with a Kelly point and an awesome score from Niall Deasy. The teams swapped further scores to leave the sides level at the break.
On the resumption Ballyea burst out of the blocks with five unanswered points coming from Eoghan Donnellan and two each from Deasy and Kelly to push the gap out to five. But try as the might Ballyea could not shrug off the threat of a defiant Feakle who came back at their opponents with three points via McGrath (2) and a crowd pleasing one from midfielder Ger Hanrahan.
Robbie Hogan’s men then took control once more and pushed on with the chunk of these coming from the deadly duo of Deasy and the ever reliable Kelly. But as faith would have it the similar pattern of the game continued as Feakle struck for a goal, a low shot was brushed nicely into the path of the grateful Martin Daly who duly obliged and smashed into a gaping empty net, this left two in it with three minutes to go.
To their credit Ballyea never panicked and held their nerve when they added points from Martin O’Leary and a monster free from Deasy. Feakle did reply with a late free but it was too little too late for the East Clare men as an impressive Ballyea side, trained by Kilnamona native Fergal Hegarty marched into the Final for the first time since 2003 where they will await the winners of Cratloe and Clonlara who do battle in the other semi-final.
Ballyea: Kevin Sheehan; Joe Neylon, Jack Browne, Brian Carrig; Paul Flannagan, Gearoid O’Connell, James Murphy; Stan Lineen, Tony Kelly; Niall Deasy, Gary Brennan, Pearse Lillis; Cathal Doohan Eoghan Donnellan, Patjoe Connelly.
Feakle: Eibhear Quiligan; James Noonan, Evan Mc Mahon, Henry Hayes; Killian Bane, Eoin Tuohy; Shane Mc Grath, Ger Hanrahan; Oisin Donnellan, Gary Guilfoyle, Raymond Bane; Steven Conway, Colin Nelson, Martin Daly.
Referee: Johnny Healy (Smith O’Briens)
All pics by Martin Connolly