Bridge navigate troubled waters before Duggan rescues underdogs back
Clare SHC final: Sixmilebridge 0-19 Clooney-Quin 1-16
Playing in their first county final since 1945, Clooney-Quin almost pulled off a sensational shock but in the end had to settle for a draw, at the end of a superb championship decider.
The underdogs lead for almost all of the game only to go behind in injury time and then grab the equaliser from a free by talisman Peter Duggan at the death.
Played in front of a crowd of 5,455, this was an epic battle as Clooney-Quin showed no sign of stage-fright from the off.
Duggan landed a free on three minutes to open the scoring and Sixmilebridge replied two minutes later with a point from play, by wing back Caimin Morey.
Clooney midfielder Ryan Taylor hit two further points in the early stages laying down a marker for what was to come.
The Bridge's centre-back Seadna Morey grabbed a fine score on the run, exhibiting no ill-effects from the hamstring injury that made him a doubtful starter, putting just one between them after ten minutes of play.
Keith Hogan, the Clooney-Quin keeper, made the first of a number of saves when he parried a shot by Shane Golden out for a '65 and moments later he stopped an overhead goal-ward swipe by Cathal Malone.
The game's only goal arrived on 19 minutes when James Corry swept through Sixmilebridge's defence, delivering to Ronan O'Donnell on the edge of the square.
The corner-forward first-timed to the net, positioning his side 1-6 to 0-4 in front. Sixmilebridge, who began as whopping 1/6 favourites, looked rattled yet their experience came to the fore and replied with three points in as many minutes.
Dominant in the air, Clooney-Quin hit three more scores before the break and retired 1-9 to 0-9 in front.
The intensity of the opening half continued after the restart.
The Bridge were thrown a life-line two minutes in, when Shane Golden was hauled down in the square. But Jamie Shanahan's poor effort was stopped with a diving save by Hogan.
The 12-times champions did draw level though by the 36th minutes, with points by Shanahan (2) and Brain Corry.
Duggan regained the lead for his side with a pointed free and then hit the crossbar from play.
It was nip-and-tuck for the remainder of the contest, with the Bridge endeavouring to overhaul the lead.
The teams were level on five occasions after that. The 41-year-old Niall Gilligan, introduced as a sub at the beginning of the second period, bagged a point on 59 minutes to make it all square, 0-18 to 1-15.
Then the impressive Seadna Morey gave the Bridge the lead for the first time 30 seconds into time added on.
But Clooney-Quin had one last throw of the dice moments later when team captain Fergal Lynch won a free in front of goal and Duggan made no mistake to set up a replay after a thriller.
Sixmilebridge: J Shanahan 0-9 (3 f, 2 '65's); S Morey 0-3; B Corry, A Morey (2f) 0-2 each; C Morey, S Golden, N Gilligan 0-1 each.
Clooney-Quin: P Duggan 0-10 (7 fs, 1 '65); R O'Donnell 1-1; M Corry, R Taylor 0-2; F Lynch 0-1.
Sixmilebridge: D Fahy; N Purcell, A Quilligan, B Fitzpatrick; C Morey,S Morey, P Fitzpatrick (capt); B Carey, K Lynch; C Malone, J Shanahan, A Morey; B Corry, S Golden, A Mulready. Subs: C Deasy for Lynch (H/T), N Gilligan for Mulready (H/T), G Whyte for Carey (48).
Clooney-Quin: K Hogan; R McNamara, S McNamara, B McInerney; C Duggan, C Harrison, P Ward; D Murphy, R Taylor; P Duggan, M Corry, D Hannon; R O'Donnell, F Lynch (capt), J Corry. Subs: M Daffy for Hannon (H/T).
Referee: A Heagney (Corofin).