Madden's sharp shooting brings 89-year Clonlara famine to an end
Clonlara 1-12 Newmarket-on-Fergus 1-9
Outsiders Clonlara bridged an 89-year gap to capture only their second Clare Senior Hurling title, when they broke fancied Newmarket's hearts in a spirited final at Cusack Park, Ennis yesterday.
With both sides fielding youthful selections, it was Newmarket who took the early initiative with a Martin Murphy goal inside the second minute.
Slow to settle, the eventual winners soon found themselves 1-2 to 0-1 adrift, but a purple patch over a five-minute spell yielded a goal and four points to give Clonlara a three-point advantage by the 24th minute.
Man-of-the-match Tommy Lynch popped up to score the Clonlara goal in the 23rd minute after Newmarket corner-back Anthony Kilmartin stumbled at a vital moment.
Lynch took full advantage and one-handed to the net from the edge of the square. Newmarket rallied before the break, though, and two points for the ever-threatening Shane O'Brien and free-taker Paudie Collins kept them in contention. Clonlara went in at the interval leading by 1-5 to 1-4.
Newmarket stormed into the second half and three quick scores regained the initiative for the Blues. O'Brien pointed within 20 seconds of the throw-in and Collins added two more to leave his side 1-7 to 1-5 ahead by the 34th minute.
A John Conlan point for Clonlara helped to dispel early-half cobwebs and a pair of scores by full-forward Donal Madden regained the lead for the south-east Clare club.
This lead was never again overturned as Clonlara knuckled down to produce a gritty and forceful display.
With four minutes left on the clock and trailing by just two points, Newmarket made what could possibly be termed a fatal mistake by replacing midfielder and free-taker Paudie Collins.
He was called ashore in favour of attacker Bernard Gaffney and when two frees were missed later in the game by Colin Ryan it appeared that their tactical switch had misfired.
Clonlara finished strongly and when Darach Honan hit the last point of the game on the hour, history in the making was imminent.
Scorers -- Clonlara: D Madden 0-7 (5fs), T Lynch 1-0, D Honan, J Conlan 0-2 each, N O'Connell 0-1. Newmarket: P Collins 0-7 (5fs), M Murphy 1-0, S O'Brien 0-2.
Clonlara -- G O'Connell; S Nihill, J Moloney, P Collins (capt); N O'Connell, D O'Donovan, P Nihill; D Conway, C O'Donovan; J Conlan, P O'Hare, T O'Donovan; D Honan, D Madden, T Lynch. Subs: B Moloney for O Hare (44).
Newmarket -- K Devitt (capt); B Clancy, S Kelly, A Kilmartin; E Barrett, James McInerney, A Barrett; M O'Hanlon, P Collins; M Murphy S O'Brien, Jim McInerney; E Kelly, D Barrett, C Ryan.
Subs: E Hayes for E Kelly (half-time), P Kilmartin for A Barrett (37), S Arthur for O'Hanlon (44), B Gaffney for Collins (57).
Ref -- G Hoey (Killanena)