Defending champions Inagh-Kilnamona seen off the challenge of Wolfe Tones  in a most entertaining game that was decided by two dismissals. Ironically Jason McCarthy’s first half exit and the early second half dismissal of Aron Shanagher caused this contest to swing in both directions.

Clare U2A1 Hurling Quarter Final: Inagh Kilnamona 3-15 Wolfe Tones 3-10

Defending champions Inagh/Kilnamona got the defence of their title off to a high scoring victory in this quarter final played in difficult weather conditions in Gurteen. Over the course of a game with six goals and eight yellows cards and two reds, referee Ger Hoey had to be most alert.

Aron Shanagher opened the scoring for the Shannon lads from a free after three minutes. Jason McCarthy smashed a great effort at the Shannon goal which Aaron Diviney saved but a free had been awarded and this was sent over by Evan McInerney for Inagh/Kilnamona’s opening score.

Brilliant block by Kevin Justice on Darren Cullinan.

Brilliant block by Kevin Justice on Darren Cullinan.

Aidan McCarthy struck for 1-1 with a goal of the highest quality before David Mescall stretched the lead with his side’s second goal in the 7th minute. Both McCarthy and Evan McInerney were actively involved in creating this goal. Further scores for Evan McInerney, Aidan McCarthy and Eoin Fitzgerald surged Inagh/Kilnamona eight points clear at the end of the first quarter.

A key moment in the game came when Jason McCarthy, who had been booked earlier, was sent to the line in the 20th minute following an altercation involving players from both sides. The incident seemed to motivate Wolfe Tones who proceeded to close the gap with points from Aron Shanagher.

Inagh/Kilnamona’s cause was not well served with a number of costly wides in the second quarter before they produced a strong finish to the first half with scores from Evan McInerney (2) and Aidan McCarthy to lead by 2-8 to 1-3 at the interval.

Conor Shanagher kickstarted an admirable fightback for the Shannon men with the opening point of the new half before older brother Aron and Ben O’Gorman added further minors to narrow the deficit to five points after five minutes of pay in the new half. Aidan McCarthy and Dean Devanney swopped points before Aron Shanagher received his marching orders after a second yellow card, this totally stunted Wolfe Tones fightback just as they appeared to be getting on top of their opponents.

Immediately following Shanagher’s sending off Darren Cullinan turned the tide with Inagh/Kilnamona’s third goal to once again stretch their lead to eight points clear. To their credit, when it appeared that their opponent would dominate the final quarter, Wolfe Tones ignited a mini-revival with a fine goal from Jack Cunningham plus points from Ben O’Gorman while Aidan McCarthy responded with two frees.

Jack Cunningham scores another goal for Wolfe Tones.

Jack Cunningham scores another goal for Wolfe Tones.

Try as they might though, Shanagher’s absence had put the result beyond Wolfe Tones to traverse as they needed four goals to draw level. While they did manage a number of point efforts Inagh/Kilnamona did enough to stay ahead. David Fitzgerald, Jack Cunningham and Aidan McCarthy were all on target by the 57th minute as Inagh/Kilnamona held a nervous lead, 3-13 to 2-10.

Brian O’Connor doubled on a high ball sending it to the net closing the Inagh/Kilnamona lead to three points but that was as good as it got with the winners producing two late scores to seal their passage to the last four.

The reigning champions were served well by Keith White, David Fitzgerald, Cian McInerney, Aidan McCarthy, Evan McNamara, David Mescall, Shane McInerney and Eamonn Foudy. Wolfe Tones allowed their opponents to dictate the first twenty and last 15 minutes which cost them any chance of success. Their best included Conor Shanagher, Ben O’Gorman, Aron Shanagher until his dismissal, Kevin Justice, Jack Cunningham in the second half and Rory Hayes.

The Under 21A championship semi finals were played on Friday night last under lights. Wins for Inagh/Kilnamona and Feakle/Killanena have set up a repeat of last year’s decider that was won by Inagh/Kilnamona.

INAGH/KILNAMONA: Eamonn Foudy, Colin Shannon, Shane McInerney, Keith White, Austin Kerin, David Fitzgerald (0-2), Cian McInerney, Eoin Fitzgerald (0-1), Eoin Leyden, Stephen Foudy, Jason McInerney, Darren Cullinan (1-0), Aidan McCarthy (1-6), Evan McNamara (0-4), David Mescall (1-2). Subs: Tom Barry for Mescall, Dylan McGirr for Cullinan, Cillian Roughan for McNamara.
WOLFE TONES: Aaron Diviney, Shane Nihill, Dara McMahon, Blaine O’Sullivan, Ben O’Gorman (1-3), Rory Hayes, Kevin Justice, Conor Shanagher (0-1), Cian Pettigrew, Brian O’Connor, Aron Shanagher (1-3), Jack Cunningham (1-1), Dean Devanney (0-1), Jamie Divilly (0-1), Cian O’Rourke. Subs: Brian Conway for Mulvihill, Darragh Lohan for O’Sullivan, Dylan Frawley for Divilly, Ronan Dooley for Pettigrew.
Referee: Ger Hoey (Killanena)