Sixmilebridge 3-18 Cratloe 1-13
Pitted as the round of the Championship to date neutrals will be disappointed the game failed to spark to life with the Bridge getting off to a flying start with aBrian Corry goal which gave them a cushion throughout the game. The Bridge had 3 changes from their win over County Champions Ballyea which included a full revammp of their midfield pairing with Conor Deasy and Alex Morey replacing Carey and Lynch while Alan Mulready replaced Cathal Lynch upfront.
Some mouthwatering matchups appeared when the teams lined out most notably county stars Seadna Morey on Conor McGrath - Freetakers Jamie Shanahan and Conor McGrath opened the accout for both teams before Jamie again from a placed ball edged the Bridge in front. A long ball was well gathered by the Cratloe goalie who saw his clearance blocked down by the pouncing Brian Corry who still had work to do to finish the ball to the Cratloe net which was followed up by a Jamie 65 to put the Bridg 1-03 to 0-01 up on 7 minutes.
Alan Mul added a point from play before Gilly got his tradmark point off the left practically inside in the stand to put us 1-05 to 0-01 up half way through the first half. Cathal Malone replicated Gillys feat on the opposite wing when he sailed a beauty over from under the shadow of the seated stand to put 7 points in it. Liam Markham, McGrath and Sean Collins added pints for Cratloe with Shanahan and Malone replying to leave the score at SMB 1-09 Cratloe 0-05 at half time with Cratloe due to have the wind advantage in the second half.
Conor McGrath gave Cratloe hope with 2 quick points to reduce it to 5 only for Shanahan to respond with 2 of his own before Alex Morey replicated the skills of Joe Canning in Croke PArk last weekend with a side line cut pointed from 50 metres. Cathal McInerney and Conor McGrath tacked on 4 points to reduce the margin again to 4 on 40 minutes: 1-12 0-11. With Cratloe hitting their purple patch the Bridge badly needed a score to settle them again and up stepped Alan Mulready to rattle the Cratlow net and restore a 7 point lead mid way through the second half. Gavin Whyte was introduced in place of Niall Gilligan who was carrying an injury into the game while at the same time Cratloe had their best goal chance from Podge Collins who was denied with a full length diving save by Derek Fahy who had a fine game between the posts for the Bridge.
With 8 minutes remaining the Bridge played some slick passes in a slow build up which eventually saw the ball land into Gavin Whytes paw and he mnade no mistake in raising a green flag and finsihing out the game as a contest. The Bridge introduced a number of subs including Curly Lynch who scored a fine point. Cathal McInerney got a goal for Cratloe at the end following a fine save from Fahy but the Bridge defence were slow to react to the rebound.
The Bridge now go into the hat with Clooney/Quin, Newmarket and the winners of Tulla and Clonlara for the semi final draw. While no individuals stood out on the night management will be happy with the team effort but know another big improvement will be required to progress past the next stage.
Team: Derek Fahy; Noel Purcell (Vice), Aidan Quilligan, Barry Fitzpatrick; Paidi Fitzpatrick (Capt), Seadna Morey, Caimin Morey; Alex Morey (S/L), Conor Deasy; Cathal Malone (0-03), Jamie Shanahan(0-10 (8F, 1 65)), Alan Mulready (1-01); Brian Corry (1-00), Shane Golden, Niall Gilligan (0-01).
Subs: Gavin Whyte (1-00) for Gilligan, Kevin Lynch for Mulready, Cathal Lynch (0-01) for Golden.