Football: Under 21A Championship Preliminary Round
St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield 1-14 Kilrush/Killimer 0-07 At Gurteen
St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield finally warmed to their task to ease past the challenge of Kilrush/Killimer on home soil on Friday night. Despite almost 20 first half scoring opportunities, the hosts failed to display their dominance on the scoreboard as they kicked ten wides and passed up three glorious goal opportunities which kept a threadbare Kilrush/Killimer side, led by the lively Davy Foran, in the contest at 1-2 to 0-4 by half-time.
They did rid themselves of any ringrustiness in the new half however, outscoring the visitors by 0-12 to 0-03 to book a quarter-final spot against the North Clare amalgamation, Clann Lir this weekend where they will require a more accurate scoring radar.
In a frantic preamble, Kilrush’s chief threats Liam Madigan and Davy Foran combined for the letter to fly kick at goal, an effort that was expertly caught by goalkeeper Niall Duggan who would make several crucial saves over the hour.
Despite a flurry of early wides, St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield did settle with a goal in the next passage of play as Darragh Duggan won back possession before brilliantly disguising a pass to the unmarked Conor Kearns to find the net in the fifth minute.
Four more wides would be magnified as Foran got Kilrush/Killimer off the mark with a brace of points. Indeed, such was the attacking threat of the Killimer forward that he would eventually tie up the game by the 21st minute after two more points sandwiched a Seamie Nugent response at the other end while also seeing a Niall Ellis shot again repelled by the obstinate Duggan.
The home side did inch ahead by the break after Darragh Duggan collected a rebound off the upright to tee up Sean Murphy for a stinging effort that just cleared the crossbar at 0-5 to 1-2.
St Joseph’s were a transformed side in the second period however, helped by the attacking probes of the Hannan twins, Tom and Jack, the kick-out proficiency of primary ball winner Eoin Hanrahan and the injection of fresh legs from the bench as substitute Keelan Butler kicked the first two points of the half.
Conor Brannock swapped points with Foran whose effort on goal just went the wrong side of the crossbar while down the other end, another replacement Eoghan Thynne was unlucky to see his shot deflected away for a ’45.
Kilrush/Killimer’s best chance of a lifeline came in the 40th minute when a trademark Niall Ellis burst picked out Foran only to see his shot saved by Duggan while Mark Shannon’s rebound was taken off the line by the impressive Darragh O’Shea.
St Joseph’s would never look back after that scare, kicking seven of the next eight points through Brian Guilfoyle (2), Conor Brannock (2), Seamie Nugent, and substitutes Cian Barron and Cullen McCabe, the latter also seeing a goal chance stopped by goalkeeper Stephen Ryan having previously denied Kieran Thynne with his foot.
At 1-12 to 0-06, it was effectively game over despite another Kilrush/Killimer effort smothered by defender O’Shea. Brannock and McCabe completed the scoring in the final minutes as St Joseph’s march on to the last eight of the Under 21A Championship with the worthwhile benefit of a game under their belts in contrast to next opponents Liscannor/Kilfenora/Michael Cusack’s who are making their competitive bow.
St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield
Niall Duggan; Cathal O’Brien, Peter Collins, Darragh O’Shea; Jack Hannan, Tom Hannan, Colum Devine; Eoin Hanrahan (Captain), Conor Kearns (1-0); Seamie Nugent (0-2), Darragh Duggan, Brian Guilfoyle (0-2); Kieran Thynne, Sean Murphy (0-1), Conor Brannock (0-4 3f) Subs Keelan Butler (0-2) for Murphy (HT), Eoghan Thynne for D. Duggan (HT), Cian Barron (0-1) for Kearns (35, inj), Cullen McCabe (0-2) for K. Thynne (43), Niall O’Brien for Nugent (47), Keith Shea for Guilfoyle (52)
Stephen Ryan; Robbie Hall, Aidan Reynolds, Damien Carey; Billy Clancy, Jack Callinan, Keelan Cunningham; Niall Ellis, Ray Glynn; Mark Shannon, Davy Foran (0-6), Craig McKernan; Davy Downes, Liam Madigan (0-1), Luke Clancy Subs Ryan Ellis for L. Clancy (38), Clancy for Madigan (60, Black Card)
Man of the Match
(St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield)
Referee Jarlath Donnellan (Wolfe Tones)