SMB v Clarecastle played in Clarecastle Friday 21st June 2019
Our U14’s brought the curtain down on their 2019 campaign in this “Plate” competition initiated by Bord na nÓg, to give the 4 teams beaten at Qtr final stage a chance to finish their season on a more upbeat note. The ‘Bridge U14’s had a good campaign overall but endured a frustrating night in the Qtr final defeat v Eire óg and so found themselves looking to put in better performances in the Plate semi-final v Cratloe that went to a replay, and the final last Friday v Clarecastle in their own pitch(decided by a toss for venue).
Clarecastle Club Runaí Louise Casey deserves special mention for producing a momento of both squad lists for those in attendance Friday night. Kudos also to Referee Paul Howard who gave the occasion genuine respect by having 2 other refs(Wayne King and Robert Harte) as Linesmen as well as having his own 4 umpires in attendance also.
The ‘Bridge started in a lively fashion and had a couple of goal chances early on, and from a loose clearance after one such goalmouth scramble, Lee Mulready caught it and sent it over the bar. The ‘Bridge then had a goal after 10 mins when a long delivery towards Clarecastle’s goalie saw Lee Mulready get very close to getting a touch on it in flight and this was enough to force the goalie to make a reaction save and as the ball rolled invitingly around the square, Finn Murphy swept it home. Clarecastle scored a goal themselves within 2 minutes when Gavin Hehir pressurised stand-in Goalie Daniel Chaplin and hit a good ground stroke home. The magpies were then quick to follow up with an Evan Price point from play and then scored a controversial goal. A head high shot from the right hand side was being allowed “wide” by Bridge goalie Daniel and seemed to hit the side netting outside the post, but the ball entered the back of the net, through a gap in the side netting. So while the umpire nearest it was happy it went wide, the other umpire signalled a goal and the referee went with that call as the ball nestled in the back of the net. Will “net-eye” now have to be introduced along with Hawkeye?!!
This seemed to rattle the Bridge lads and Clarecastle tacked on another 2 points from Michael Sweeney and an Oisin Whelan free to leave the score 2-3 to 1-1 after 20 mins. However the Bridge were to finish the half stronger as their midfield pairing of Josh Dillon and Matthew O’Halloran exerted control. A strong run and good pass from Dillon set up Fionn Hayes for a point in the 21st minute. 2 minutes later Dillon latched onto a pass from wing back Jack Phelan who broke through several tackles himself and Josh then found Dara Fitzgerald this time with a well timed pass for another point. Fitzgerald then pointed a free after strong direct running at the Clarecastle defence from other wing back Jayden Scullion forced a foul. The Bridge tacked on another point through Fionn Hayes after taking an accurate Matthew O’Halloran pass. Just before half time Clarecastle responded with another Gavin Hehir point from play at full forward and an Oisin Whelan free to leave HT score at 2-4 to 1-5 in favour of Clarecastle.
The Bridge resumed the 2nd half in more livelier fashion and were quick to force a 65 which Dara Fitz converted. Points then followed from play through Matt O’Halloran and Fionn Hayes twice, and Lee Mulready got a very good score after catching a long free out of defence and splitting the posts. Magpies replied with 2 pointed frees from Oisin Whelan but the Bridge struck for a decisive goal in the 14th minute. A speedy solo run down the wing from Brendan Carey saw him look up and place a long hand pass across the goals to Eamonn Breen whose shot was superbly saved by Fionn Morgan, but Carey – like every good forward - had stayed moving and was on hand to bury the rebound.
Bridge tails were up now and they could have got another goal but Dara Fitz’s effort from close range went over the bar having been set up by a strong run from Finn Murphy. Dara Fitz tacked on 2 well struck frees and the lads were well in control. At the other end Oisin Whelan carried the fight with 2 good points from play but the Bridge were in strong command of the middle third as Fiachra O’Braoin at centre back was continuing his excellent form of all-season, by storming onto whatever Clarecastle clearances managed to come through his midfield duo.
Another strong run through the heart of the home team’s defence from Finn Murphy saw him pick out Eamonn Breen with a well timed accurate stick pass and this gave Breen the chance to pick his spot in the corner of the net. Fionn Hayes added on 2 more points from play and Clarecastle finished out the remaining minutes with points from Gavin Hehir and Michael Sweeney. Final scoreline SMB 3-16 to Clarecastle 2-11.
In addition to the above mentioned, Daniel Chaplin in his unusual role of stand-in goalie for the holidaying Mark Sheedy, settled in to give the team a solid platform with good handling and long clearances from frees and puck outs. Outside him, Jack Holloway has really grown into his new surrounds at Full back in recent weeks and was rock solid all through.
After the game Runaí of Bord na nÓg Iomaint An Chláir Pat Gavin, presented Joint Captains Dara Fitzgerald and Fionn Hayes with the trophy and the lads paid tribute to the Referee, their Coaches and Teammates and the Clarecastle players and their club for hosting the final.
Most of these players will now turn their attention to the U15A and Academy team competitions in the coming weeks, which have been brought forward to earlier in the season due to the knock-on effect of the Clare Minors’ progress to the Munster final and All-Ireland series, on the local U16 and Minor Championships.
The U13A and Academy team Leagues will commence as normal around mid-August.
Sixmilebridge: Daniel Chaplin, Jack Lee, Jack Holloway, Paddy O’Reilly, Jayden Scullion, Fiachra Ó’Braoin, Jack Phelan, Matthew O’Halloran, Joshua Dillon, Brendan Carey, Fionn Hayes, Dara Fitzgerald, Finn Murphy, Lee Mulready, Eamonn Breen – Subs Introduced: Sean O’Sullivan, Evan Neenan, JJ O’Reilly, Darren Hurley, Noah Sheehan
Remaining subs: Evan Griffiths, Calum Phelan, Jack O’Halloran, Harry Chaplin, Ben O’Connell