Clare Champion Report Friday 2nd October 1987.
Clarecastle Makes History – Loughnane shines in defeat.
Clarecastle, The holders 0-15, Feakle 0-11.
A combination of tremendous fitness and determination, together with some shrewd switches at vital times paved the way for a deserved victory by Clarecastle over Feakle in the Clare Senior hurling Championship final at sunny Cusack Park on Sunday. While the expected high standard of play did not materialise, the attendance of 10,070, which paid record gate receipts of £17,288 witnessed a hard fought contest in which there were some fine passages of play and some great individual performances. At the end of the sixty minutes play, Clarecastle were worthy winners. They took control at the turn of the final quarter and were well on top for the remainder of the game, and when the referee sounded the final whistle, supporters of the Magpies celebrated in style. After all, they had just retained the County Senior Hurling title for the first time in their history and in doing so; they set a number of records.
Clarecastle have now completed the Minor and Senior Hurling Championship double for the second year in succession. Last Sunday’s goal keeper, Pat Healy, has been a vital cog in all four successes. While Healy, Alan Neville and Anthony Daly earlier this year won Harty Cup and All-Ireland Colleges medals with St. Flannan’s College. In addition to this they are still in the running for a number of other titles. On top of all that is the fact that Clarecastle are this year celebrating the Centenary of the founding of their Club and to do so with all of these victories to their credit, makes it all the more sweeter.
As suggested in the preview last week Clarecastle’s great experience played a vital role in Sunday’s victory. Their defence was superb as is evidenced by the manner in which they shut out the threat of the Guilfoyle brothers and Val Donnellan. In the third quarter when Donnellan looked as if he might be about to stamp his authority on the game Clarecastle acted quickly and made what proved to be a vital switch. Experienced John Callinan was switched from attack to centre back in place of Paddy Quin and Kenny Morrissey was introduced to the attack. Callinan was superb in the final quarter, while the speed of Morrissey and George Power, who was introduced at half time together with Alan Neville who completed the half forward line now, caused numerous problems for the losers. And yet another reason for celebration in Clarecastle this week is the fact that for a second year in succession they were led to senior honours by full back Anthony Scanlon. Scanlon’s play was an inspiration to his colleagues and was primarily responsible for holding Tommy Guilfoyle scoreless.
Feakle, despite being on the pitch some fifteen minutes before the start, made a rather nervous start and were behind after six minutes on a score line of no score to 0-03. Points in the opening two minutes from Gerard O’Loughlin and Kenneth Power gave Clarecastle, who had Philip Colleran at centre back and not George Power as listed on the programme, a great start, and this lead was extended in the sixth minute when Tom Howard pointed from a ninety metre free.
Eight minutes had elapsed before Feakle opened their account and it was Donnellan who scored first for them when he pointed from a thirty metre free. Exchanges were hard and play was held up for over a minute when Victor O’Loughlin suffered a facial injury following a clash with Paul Callinan as they clashed for an overhead ball. A couple of minutes later, O’Loughlin was booked following a clash with Callinan and in the next couple of minutes the Clarecastle mid-fielder was fortunate enough not to have been sent off as referee Quinn spoke to him on two occasions. By the end of the first quarter, Feakle had drawn level after points from Mike Callinan and Val Donnellan. The winners quickly went back in front with points from Callinan and Victor O’Loughlin. However, Donnellan from a free and substitute John Tuohy, who replaced Mike Daly four minutes from the break, levelled for the second time.
In the first minute of injury time Donnellan pointed from a sixty-five to give Feakle the lead for the first time in the game and leave the score at 0-06 to 0-05.
For the second half, Clarecastle introduced George Power at centre forward in place of Philip Colleran who had failed to make any impression against the outstanding Ger Loughnane. Within thirty seconds of the restart, Donnellan sent over a great point from play but again Clarecastle hit back with points from Gerard O’Loughlin and Tom Howard, a sixty-five, levelled matters for the third time in the game with six minutes gone in the second half.
Donnellan again put Feakle into the lead with a great point from play. The Feakle centre forward was coming much more into the game and Clarecastle immediately moved Callinan to centre back instead of Paddy Quin. In the tenth minute of the half Feakle were awarded a penalty when Tommy Guilfoyle was fouled in the square but Val Donnellan’s rasping shop went over the bar putting his team two points to the good. This was a let off for Clarecastle as a goal at that point would have really put tremendous pressure on them. Veteran of the Clarecastle side, thirty nine year old Paschal Russell, now sprang to life and showed a clean pair of heels to his opposite number. He tormented the losers defence from here to the finish. Russell sent over two points one from a free, to level matters for the fourth time with thirteen minutes to go. Ger O’Loughlin and Alan Neville added points to put their side two points clear and from here on Clarecastle were clearly the better side. Donnellan reduced the deficit to the minimum with eight minutes remaining but Clarecastle now had the upper hand in most positions and points from Ger O’Loughlin, Russell, a free, Howard, a sixty-five, and Neville. The speed of Morrissey, George Power and Neville was now causing all sorts of problems for the Feakle men as Clarecastle piled on the pressure. Feakle had the last score of the game in the final minute when Donnellan blasted a twenty metre free over the bar but it was too late to prevent Clarecastle from retaining the crown.
The Magpies defence was superb all through giving little score to a highly rated Feakle forward division. Those of us who had expressed doubt about the Clarecastle full back lines ability to have the upper hand on their opponents were certainly silenced. Frank Roughan, Anthony Scanlon and Barney Lynch dominated all throughout. Pat Tuohy was Clarecastle’s outstanding player for the sixty minutes while Tom Howard must have finally proved that his best position is wing back. Paddy Quin did reasonably well at centre back but Callinan was superb when he moved to this position. The mid-field exchanges were even with Feakle enjoying the upper hand in the early stages before Clarecastle got on top in the second half. Up front, Paschal Russell was a revelation. Ger O’Loughlin again, made a handsome contribution while Alan Neville, George Power and Ken Morrissey all played vital roles.
Feakle’s man of the match was unquestionably Ger Loughnane at centre back who even if he did tire at the closing minutes would have been a leading contender for a man of the match award. Indeed it was most surprising that there was no such award on offer. Had there been one it would surely have gone to Loughnane or Clarecastle’s Pat Tuohy. Seamus McGrath had a fine first half for the Feakle men but he had to play second fiddle to Paschal Russell after the break. Van Donnellan also did well, contributing all but two points of his team’s total, but the rest of the forward line was disappointing. Donal McGrath, Paul Callinan, Eibher Slattery and both John Tuohys had their moments but lacked consistency.
Scores – Clarecastle – Ger O’Loughlin0-04, Paschal Russell 0-03,(two from frees), Tom Howard 0-03, (one free two sixty-fives) , Alan Neville 0-02 and Victor O’Loughlin and Kenneth Power 0-01 each.
Clarecastle Team – Pat Healy, Frank Roughan, Anthony Scanlon (Captain) Barney Lynch, Tom Howard, Paddy Quin, Pat Tuohy, Roger McMahon, Victor O’Loughlin, John Callinan, Philip Colleran, Kenneth Power , Ger O’Loughlin, Paschal Russell , Alan Neville.
Subs – George Power for Philip Colleran, Ken Morrissey for Paddy Quin, Christy Martin for Kenneth Power.
Referee – Michael Quinn, Ennis.
Talking Point after the game.
Action must be taken
One of the main talking points this week about the County Hurling Final Day at Cusack Park wasn’t about any incident on the field of play. It concerned an ugly brief incident involving players and mentors from both sides which took place as the teams made their way to the dressing rooms at half time. As a result of the incident which took place in the tunnel, referee, Michael Quinn, made his way to both dressing rooms to speak to a number of people. In the Feakle dressing room he booked a player. The Ennis official is to be complemented on noting the incident in view of the fact that the skirmish took place in the tunnel. Incidentally, Clarecastle Team Manager, Patrick Moloney, had to receive a number of stitches as a result of the head wound received in the incident. It’s likely that the Clare Hurling Board will investigate the incident when they receive the referees report on the matter.
A Blow to Clarecastle
Amidst all the celebrations there was some disappointment in Clarecastle this week with the realisation that sterling corner back Frank Roughan is immigrating to Australia. 21 year old Roughan has been outstanding in the victories of the past two years and was strongly fancied to win a place in the Clare Senior Hurling Panel for the forthcoming National League. While the Magpies have a very strong panel of players available to them the loss of Roughan will be a blow. Minor Captain, Anthony Daly, a member of the senior side earlier in the championship ties will be strongly fancied to win this spot for the weekends cup tie against Sixmilebridge.