Sixmilebridge 1-22 Ballyea 0-19
Branded as the tie of round 2 following the draw the Bridge and Ballyea did not dissappoint in Cusack Park on Saturday evening in a high tempo championship encounter. Underage rivalry with some cracking encounters at U16, Minor and U21 coupled with the fact that both clubs have been the most recent winners of the Canon meant that a huge interest was associated with the game.
While Michael Flatley is due in Ennis Sunday afternoon to open the Fleadh, one could have been excused for thinking he was lining out at midfield for Ballyea given the way Tony Kelly was gliding around the stage that is Cusack Park. Kelly helped Ballyea open a 4 point lead inside 2 and a half minutes showing why his side were recently crowned Munster club champions.
The Bridge slowly came up to the pace of the game and on 20 minutes Gilly had the sides level at 7 points a piece much to the relief of the Bridge supporters before the winners edged ahead by 10 to 9 at half time. Ballyea lost a half back to a second yellow card on 45 minutes and the introduction of Alex Morey for the Bridge had immedate effect with a quick thinking free to Morey which he scored help settle him into the game followed by one of the scores of the game over his shoulder.
As the Bridge emptied the bench with the introduction of 3 fresh forwards Alan Mulready showed super vision to pick out Jamie Shanahans run and the Clare senior hurler made no mistake in putting the ball past Kevin Sheehan to ensure the win. Shanahan and Mulready added one each from play to give us a 6 point win and ensure our spot n the last 8.
In what was a very sad and emotional week where life and hurling was put into perspective - a huge well done to all the lads who did their village and club proud with their performance and especially to DM's friends who made the difference when introduced and definetly made him proud.
SMB: Derek Fahy; Noel Purcell, Aidan Quilligan; Barry Fitzpatrick; Caimin Morey, Seadna Morey, Páidí Fitzpatrick; Kevin Lynch (0-1), Brian Carey; Cathal Malone (0-4), Jamie Shanahan (1-7, four frees), Cathal Lynch (0-1); Brian Corry (0-1), Shane Golden (0-2), Niall Gilligan (0-2).
Subs: Conor Deasy (0-1) for Qulligan (inj, 20); Alex Morey (0-2) for Lynch (50), Alan Mulready (0-01) for Corry (53), Gavin Whyte for Gilligan (59).