It’s lucky 13 for Sixmilebridge as they captured another senior hurling championship title against a brave Clooney-Quin side that made them fight all the way in front of 5,892 spectators.
Clare Senior Hurling Championship Final Replay Sixmilebridge 1-20 Clooney-Quin 1-14
Bridge veteran 41-year-old Niall Gilligan, who came on as a sub in the final quarter of the drawn game, started in place of Brian Carey as expected while Seadna Morey was detailed to man-mark Peter Duggan and he did so with a man of the match performance in a game that didn’t lack intensity.
Sixmilebridge were three up after 3 minutes as Niall Gilligan, Aidan Quilligan and Cathal Malone were on target while Gilligan had a half-chance goal effort smothered by Keith Hogan.
Peter Duggan pulled back three points by the 9th as Niall Gilligan’s second point put the 2015 champions ahead 0-4 to 0-3. Duggan equalised from a 65 in the 13th minute while Sixmilebridge laid siege before a stunning point from Ryan Taylor lifted Clooney-Quin spirits.
Jamie Shanahan responded in the 21st minute before Shane Golden took the lead point in the 23rd. The game was level for the fourth time from Duggan’s free.
A wonderful catch by Alex Morey sent Conor Deasy on his way to scoring over a huge effort. Again Duggan’s close-range free levelled matters for the fifth time as half-time loomed. Alan Mulready and Shane Golden, with his second point, rounded off the first half scoring leaving Sixmilebridge 0-9 Clooney-Quin 0-7.
At the start of the new half, another Jamie Shanahan free sent the Bridge three clear. The decisive score of the hour came from a long ball that was snapped up by Brian Corry who flicked past goalkeeper Keith Hogan.
Shanahan added a point to make it 1-11 to 0-7 with six minutes played of the half. Peter Duggan sent over a 65 to reduce the deficit to 6 points but Alan Mulready kept up the pressure with his second point after the ball rebounded off a post.
Jimmy Corry struck back immediately before star forward Shane Golden won a free which Shanahan converted. Fergal Lynch, Michael Corry, Peter Duggan and Alan Mulready, with his third, were on target as Clooney-Quin needed a goal to be competitive entering the final ten minutes.
Shane Golden’s fourth score and a smart effort from Shanahan put their side 1-17 to 0-13 ahead. By now Clooney-Quin were depending on frees as goal opportunities were proving elusive.
Peter Duggan’s point from a 54th minute free was cancelled by Bridge sub Cathal Lynch. Now seven points were once again the gap.
Brian Carey and David Kennedy entered the fray for the final minutes as Golden clocked up his fifth point. Brian Corry hit over his side’s last score before Michael Corry lifted Clooney-Quin spirits with a goal deep into injury time.
When referee Rory Hickey sounded the long whistle, the Canon Hamilton was on its way back to Sixmilebridge for the third time this decade. Best for the champions were goalkeeper Derek Fahy, Noel Purcell, man of the match Seadna Morey and captain Paidi Fitzpatrick. Up front, those who impressed included Shane Golden, Alan Mulready, Niall Gilligan and Brian Corry.
When Clooney-Quin reflects on the 2017 season, they will look back on an impressive body of work indicating that this side has the potential to push on if it can strengthen its scoring capacity. Shane McNamara, Peter Duggan, the Corry brothers and Ryan Taylor were amongst the leaders for Clooney-Quin.
After the game, the Canon Hamilton Cup was presented to Sixmilebridge captain Paidí Fitzpatrick by county board chairman Joe Cooney. Sixmilebridge will proceed to the Munster Club semi-final against the winner of Thurles Sarsfields and Ballygunnar.