Sixmilebridge 1-12 v Cratloe 2-17
Senior Hurling Championship Round 1 @ Cusack Park
The seniors hurlers got off to a bad start to the 2012 championship yesterday evening after this eight point defeat to near neighbours Cratloe. In what was a repeat of last years' semi final, this match was expected to be a close affair but once Cratloe goaled in the 15th minute they would remain ahead by a three points or more for the rest of the game. It must be said that the 'Bridge were poor, only registering 1-2 on the day from play compared to 2-11 for their opponents, and this loss leaves them with it all to do if they are to progress from this group. Sixmilebridge handed debuts to Noel Purcell and Kevin Lynch in the half back line after impressive showings in the league.
It took four minutes for the games first score which arrived through a Niall Gilligan free. Conor McGrath and Damien Browne cancelled this score out to send Cratloe into an early lead. The game was not free flowing in the first half with a number of frees awarded, Caimin Morey and McGrath swapped frees by the 10th minute. Wing forward Damien Browne was afforded too much space shortly after to split the posts for Cratloe. Sixmilebridge full forward Caimin Morey seemed to score a perfect point from out near the sideline in the 12th minute with one of the umpires signalling a point, however the other one declared it wide and after consulation with the referee it was ruled out. Then came the first Cratloe goal when Cathal McInerney was allowed race through the 'Bridge defence after 15 minutes to have a shot at goal. It was straight at 'Bridge keeper Derek Fahy, who did well to block it, but neither he or his defenders could keep it under control as McInerney made no mistake from the rebound. Cratloe's chief marksman Conor McGrath had a point from play a minute later before Caimin Morey replied with a placed ball.
Shane Golden was at the forefront of 'Bridge attacks, while at the back Tadgh Keogh stood out, it was Golden who got the first 'Bridge score from play when he burst his way through to fire over a good score before Caimin Morey added a free. The score now stood 1-5 to 0-5 in favour of Cratloe with the 'Bridge in need of a few scores before half time. However, these scores went the other way as McGrath had three more frees on the board in replay to a Caimin Morey sixty five.
The early moments of the second half saw Sean Collins get off the mark with Damien Browne adding to increase the Cratloe lead to seven. Sixmilebridge brought on a few substitutes to try and change things as they badly needed a goal. Niall Gilligan fired over a free only for Browne and Cathal McInerney to split the posts. The 'Bridge were handed a lifeline in the 43rd minute when a Declan Morey effort for a point out near the sideline landed into the right hand corner of Sean Hayes' net. They needed to kick on from here but this they did not do as Cratloe started to create plenty space for themselves and tack on further scores. McGrath and Caimin Morey traded placed balls before the match was well and truly sealed in the 46th minute.
A good passing movement by Cratloe aided to by poor 'Bridge marking saw them manouvere a chance for Damien Browne who was all alone with Fahy to beat. The latter did manage to get a touch to it but it deflected off his hurley and rolled into the net. The loose marking continuted with defenders Conor Ryan and Enda Boyce afforded chances to send over scores. Gilligan and Caimin Morey had further scores for the 'Bridge with McGrath and Morey exchanging the final scores of the game.
This result makes progression to the quarter finals obviously harder with two further games against Clonlara and St. Joseph's Doora/Barefield to come. They will need to win both these games to ensure a last eight spot. They now face a long break with the second round not down for decision until the second week of August.
Sixmilebridge: Derek Fahy; Tadgh Keogh, Paidí Fitzpatrick, Paul Fitzpatrick; Noel Purcell, Seadna Morey, Kevin Lynch; Robert Conlon, Shane Golden (0-1); Pa Sheehan, Niall Gilligan (Capt) (0-4; 0-3fs), Declan Morey (1-0); Danny Morey, Caimin Morey (0-7; 0-6fs, 0-1 65), Jamie Shanahan.
Subs: Rory Shanahan for Sheehan (half-time), John Fennessy for Lynch (35 mins), Alan Mulready for Danny Morey (45 mins), Trevor Purcell for R.Shanahan (injury) (57 mins).
Cratloe: Sean Hayes; John O'Gorman, Barry Duggan (Capt), Enda Boyce (0-1); Conor Ryan (0-2), Michael Hawes, Liam Markham; Sean Chaplin, Martin Oige Murphy; Podge Collins, Sean Collins (0-1), Damien Browne (1-4); Cathal McInerney (1-1), Conor McGrath (0-8; 0-6fs), Aidan Browne.
Subs: Shane Gleeson for A.Browne (37 mins), A.Browne for Duggan (61 mins).
Referee: Ambrose Heagney (Corofin).