NEIGHBOURS KILMALEY AND Ballyea completed the line-up for the Clare Senior Hurling Championship semi-finals in a fortnight’s time after powering to victories in this afternoon’s quarter-final double header in Cusack Park, Ennis.
They join Saturday’s last eight victors O’Callaghan’s Mills and Cratloe in tomorrow night’s draw at Clare Headquarters in Clareabbey.
Three years on from their last semi-final appearance that remarkably included relegation in the intervening period, Kilmaley are back in the last four after easing to a 1-21 to 1-08 victory over neighbours Éire Óg in a surprisingly one-sided curtain-raiser.
The Ennis side were contesting their third successive quarter-final and fourth in five years but their wait to bridge a 15 year gap to their last penultimate stage appearance continues for another season after sorely underperforming in Sunday’s curtain-raiser.
Despite facing into the blustery conditions, intermediate champions Kilmaley hit the ground running, and aside from a sixth minute Danny Russell equalising goal, had it predominately their own way with a clinical blend of movement and scoring power that Éire Óg simply couldn’t match.
County senior Mikey O’Malley raided for four points amidst six different scorers as Kilmaley built up an 0-11 to 1-02 advantage by the 23rd minute.
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
Éire Óg did lift themselves with three of the next four points, two from captain David Reidy, but any hopes of a recovery were dashed deep in injury-time when fellow county panelist Mikey O’Neill grasped a Cian Moloney offload to billow the net.
Indeed, with Daire Keane rifling a shot off the post in the next passage of play, Éire Óg were fortunate to only trail by 1-13 to 1-05 at the break.
That was soon remedied on the restart when Moloney (2), O’Malley, Tom O’Rourke and Sean O’Loughlin grabbed unanswered points to nudge Kilmaley 1-18 to 1-05 clear by the turn of the final quarter, with Ciaran Russell providing the Townies’ only real resistance.
With the result beyond doubt, Kilmaley matched David Reidy’s mini-revival to complete a 13 point victory that could have been much greater only for Kilmaley to strike seven second half wides.
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Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO
1-13 from Niall Deasy would inspire 2016 champions Ballyea to a 1-19 to 0-16 triumph over Inagh-Kilnamona who were competing in their first quarter-final in five years.
In contrast to the opening tie, the second match was far more evenly matched, with the sides level on eight occasions before Deasy’s 39th minute goal finally put clear daylight between the sides.
Sandwiching three points from Tony Kelly, Eoghan Donnellan and Deasy’s seventh placed ball of the hour, it boosted Ballyea to a six point cushion, a margin that they would manage to hold until the final whistle in spite of Inagh-Kilnamona’s repeated attempts at goal.
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Clare senior Deasy also fired eight first half points with the wind at their backs including an injury-time ’65 to edge Ballyea 0-10 to 0-09 clear by the break.
However, despite a bright restart from Inagh-Kilnamona with points through David Fitzgerald and Niall Arthur, their hopes were dashed with that goal after Pearse Lillis had delivered an inch perfect ball over the top for Deasy to crash past county team-mate Patrick Kelly at 1-15 to 0-12.
Two Niall Arthur 20 metre frees were stopped while a Gerry Coote flick was also repelled this time by goalkeeper Barry Coote as a determined Ballyea held on for victory.
Results — Clare senior hurling quarter-finals
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