Two goals from Jamie Richardson helped Claughaun to a thrilling 2-7 to 0-11 win over St Mary’s-Sean Finns in the Limerick IFC semi-final on Saturday.
When things were going their way early on, Claughun were playing their best football of the season as they won almost every kickout, attacked with speed and purpose and used their physical advantages to prevent their opponents from opening up their game.
The Hoops got the dream start when Tim Byrnes’s free from the throw-in dropped short and footblock from the resulting goalmouth scramble led to Jamie Richardson slotting home the resulting penalty. And before their stunned opponents could settle themselves, Richardson struck again when collecting Jamie McGarry’s fisted attempt off the post and driving past Johnny Mooney. Nor did he end there as he added a point before Eoghan O’Connor’s free got Rathkeale off the mark.
But Claughaun were still dominating the exchanges as Cian Byrnes collected everything around the middle, leading to Gary Bateman sending over a pair before Eoin O’Donnell’s reply and then Tim Byrnes, from a free and from play, stretching the lead to nine. However, their forwards lost their edge and their middle men dropped back as the half drew to a close and opportunities missed through a pass or a stride too many were punished when Finns started running at them on the break. Taking their chances, O’Connor converted a pair of frees and Mark O’Sullivan struck from distance before O’Connor brought the score to 2-5 to 0-6.
With Seán Sheehan adding new energy to midfield, the Rathkeale rumble continued on the restart as O’Sullivan pointed within a minute.
Although Philip Judge replied, the City side failed to capitalise on Finns’ run of missed opportunites and settled for containment rather than piling bodies forward on the break. Slowly, the gap began to crumble as O’Donnell, Keith Harnett and Gary Enright brought it back to two by the three-quarter mark.
But Claughaun held firm over the closing minutes and even losing Jack Molyneaux and Philip Judge late on to second yellow cards wasn’t enough to let the Rathkeale side back in. They play Pallasgreen in the final next Saturday.
SCORERS - Claughaun: Jamie Richardson 2-1 (1-0 pen), Tim Byrnes 0-3 (2 frees), Gary Bateman 0-2, Philip Judge 0-1; St Mary’s-Sean Finns: Eoghan O’Connor 0-5 (4 frees), Eoin O’Donnell, Mark O’Sullivan 0-2 each, Keith Harnett, Gary Enright 0-1 each.
CLAUGHAUN - Tony McCarthy; Sam Mullins, Gareth Kennedy, Robbie Hannon; Philip Judge, Jack Molyneaux, Emmet Harty; Cian Byrnes, Pat McGarry; Jamie McGarry, Adrian Healy, Gary O’Connor; Gary Bateman, Tim Byrnes, Jamie Richardson. SUBS: Tom O’Grady for Emmet Harty (38 mins), Matthew Graham for Gary Bateman (58 mins), Lee O’Mara for Gary O’Connor (58 mins).
SEÁN FINNS - Johnny Mooney; Adrian Stackpoole, Gary Enright, Seán O’Shea; Paul White, Patrick Sheahan, Darren Jones; Damien Quaid, Keith Harnett; Barry O’Riordan, Mark O’Sullivan, Trevor Nolan; Eoin O’Donnell, Seán Sheehan, Eoghan O’Connor. SUBS: Stephen Power for Barry O’Riordan (40 mins), Seán White for Trevor Nolan (50 mins), Timmy Hogan for Gary Enright (61 mins).
REFEREE - Mike Meade (Ballylanders).