History for Ballyea as they secure first-ever Clare hurling title
BALLYEA POWERED TO their first-ever Clare senior hurling title after finally shaking off Clonlara with the last three points to end a titanic 120 minute battle.
In a reverse of the drawn game, it was Ballyea who led the way for the majority only to be reeled in by a John Conlon equalising goal approaching the final quarter.
Crucially however, Ballyea never let their opponents get ahead as after swapping points twice in the closing stages, they finished with successive scores from man of the match Niall Deasy, substitute Damien Burke and talisman Tony Kelly to complete a historic afternoon.
With Gary Brennan their chief target man at full-forward, Ballyea hit the ground running to surge 1-4 to 0-1 clear by the 10th minute, book-ended by 1-2 for the All Star football nominee.
Indeed, Clonlara were fortunate to only be trailing by six at this stage as goalkeeper Ger O’Connell had pulled off three important saves to keep his side in this replay.
Niall Deasy battles with Cormac O’Donovan.
Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO
Clonlara finally settled with points from Cathal O’Connell, John Conlon and Micheál O’Loughlin only to be rocked once more by a second Ballyea goal when Deasy soloed through to push his side 2-4 to 0-4 clear by the end of the opening quarter.
The rebuilding work was predominantly carried by full-forward Conlon who earned frees for O’Connell to reduce the arrears to just three by the break at 2-5 to 0-8.
It had to take Conlon’s 41st minute goal set-up by a Colm Galvin lineball to finally gain parity however at 2-09 to 1-12.
However, any doubts that Ballyea would wilt would be banished as Deasy and Kelly led a late surge to become the tenth different winner of the Clare SHC in the past 13 seasons.
Scorers for Ballyea: Niall Deasy 1-3 (1f); Gary Brennan 1-2; Tony Kelly 0-4 (1f, 1’65); Pat Joe Connolly, Joe Neylon, Brian Carrigg, Jack Browne, Damien Burke 0-1 each
Scorers for Clonlara: Cathal O’Connell 0-8 (7f); John Conlon 1-1; Colm Galvin 0-2; Micheál O’Loughlin, Nicky O’Connell (1f), Darach Honan 0-1 each
1. Kevin Sheehan
4. Brian Carrigg
3. Jack Browne
2. Joe Neylon
6. Paul Flanagan
5. Gearoid O’Connell
7. James Murphy
8. Tony Kelly
9. Stan Lineen (Captain)
10. Niall Deasy
13. Pat Joe Connolly
12. Cathal Doohan
17. Martin O’Leary
11. Gary Brennan
15. Pearse Lillis
18. Damien Burke for O’Leary (44)
19. David Egan for Connolly (54)
1. Ger O’Connell
2. Cillian Fennessy
7. Domhnall O’Donovan
29. Garrett Kenned
9. Cormac O’Donovan
5. Nicky O’Connell
6. Neil Ryan
3. Oisin O’Brien
8. Colm Galvin
15. Michael O’Loughlin
10. Darach Honan
13. James Hastings
18. Ger Powell
14. John Conlon (Captain)
11. Cathal O’Connell
27. Shane O’Brien for Ryan (24)
17. Pat O’Hare for C. O’Donovan (39)
12. Paraic O’Loughlin for O’Hare (58)
23. David Fitzgerald for Galvin (61)
Referee: Damien Fox (Clooney-Quin).
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