Source: Clare Champion | Photo Source: John Kelly
Senior Hurling Championship Group 2 Round 3
Sixmilebridge 3-19 Wolfe Tones 0-13
A devastating second half display from holders Sixmilebridge certainly spoiled the home party in Shannon on Wednesday evening, reports Eoin Brennan.
The crisp atmosphere and ideal setting demonstrated exactly what supporters have missed since Covid centralised the majority of senior championship fixtures between Cusack Park and O’Garney Park. And for the first-half at least, the teams responded in kind, with a cracking top-of-the-table derby showdown that was level on eight occasions by the 30 minute mark.
More of the same was expected for the second period but along the fading light went Wolfe Tones’ challenge as they were unable to sustain the pace, movement and intensity of their opening half efforts and would be duly punished by a ruthless Sixmilebridge.
In all, the back-to-back champions outscored their hosts by 3-11 to 0-04 in the final 30 minutes, with incrementally sloppy Tones errors fully capitalised on with three goals through Brian Corry and a clinching late brace for Alex Morey
Following an opening round victory over Scariff, Wolfe Tones got a truer barometer of where they currently lie in the senior standings and while it was a deflating second half for the home side, it was accentuated by plenty of lessons that hopefully will be learned.
Cian O;Rourke, Rory Hayes and Darragh Lohan were best for the hosts while on the flip side, Cathal Malone, Alex Morey, Shane Golden and soon-to-be-wed Caimin Morey led the line superbly for the ‘Bridge.
Tim Crowe’s side had to be patient to weather the stern Tones storm but their discipline to never sway from their gameplan and wear down their opponents was as methodical as it was admirable to watch, particularly as they played for the final 20 minutes with only 14 men after a second yellow for Jason Loughnane.
It was all so different in the opening period as the sides went blow-for-blow, with two points the biggest lead at any stage in an utterly compelling tie. There were goal chances too as Shane Golden’s early effort was stopped by the legs of Liam Murphy while a potential game-changer for the Tones arrived in the 25th minute when Aaron Cunningham controlled a Daithi O’Connell delivery, only to flash his stinging shot just wide of the target before Jamie Shanahan inched the visitors 0-10 to 0-09 in front by the interval.
The same Wolfe Tones didn’t re-emerge for the second period though as their dipping energy levels were in contrast to a consistent Sixmilebridge who quickly exploited their flagging hosts with a 1-5 unanswered rally to the final water break, sparked by a Brian Corry goal after being teed up on the overlap by Jason Loughnane at 1-16 to 0-10.
To their credit, Wolfe tones, now with an extra man, tried everything to reshuffle their pack and re-energise their players but in an effort to chase the game, they left gaping holes at the back that the ‘Bridge filled with Cathal Malone and Brian Corry both offloading to the unmarked Alex Morey to fire two goals within the space of a minute nearing the hour mark.
The home side didn’t deserve to be on the end of such a comprehensive final scoreline but in saying that, Sixmilebridge are the champions for a reason.
Sixmilebridge: Derek Fahy; Brian Carey, Barry Fitzpatrick, Noel Purcell; Seadna Morey, Caimin Morey, Pa Mulready; Evan McInerney, Jamie Shanahan; Alan Mulready, Shane Golden, Cathal Malone; Brian Corry, Jason Loughnane, Alex Morey
Subs: Christy Carey for Fitzpatrick (60), Conor Deasy for A. Mulready (61)
Scorers: Alex Morey (2-8, 7f, 1’65); Cathal Malone (0-4); Brian Corry (1-0); Jamie Shanahan, Shane Golden (0-2 each); Pa Mulready, Alan Mulready, Seadna Morey (0-1 each)
Wolfe Tones: Pa Freeman; Daithi Lohan, Rory Hayes, Liam Murphy; Daithi O’Connell, Darragh Lohan, Barry Loughnane; Ben O’Gorman, Jack Cunningham; Dylan Frawley, Aaron Cunningham, Stephen Donnellan; Cian O’Rourke, Aron Shanagher, Dean Devanney Subs: Kevin McCafferty for Frawley (12, inj), Sean Costelloe for McCafferty (39), Jamie Roughan for O’Rourke (54, inj), Conor Carrig for Loughnane (59)
Scorers: Cian O’Rourke (0-5, 3f); Aron Shanagher (0-4); Ben O’Gorman, Aaron Cunningham, Jack Cunningham, Sean Costelloe (0-1 each)
Referee: Rory McGann (Newmarket-on-Fergus)
Best wishes to Caimin and Mary on their big day tomorrow .. Most lads have the rehearsal with their match the night before the wedding while club stalwart Caimin had a match as his rehearsal!