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O'Donnell points way for Crusheen

Crusheen made it through to this year's final thanks to a one-point victory over Sixmilebridge at Cusack Park, Ennis, on Saturday afternoon.

Corner-forward Conor O'Donnell proved to be the Crusheen hero when he struck the winning score in the final minute of normal time.

The winners hit four wides in the final quarter, but a Fergus Kennedy equaliser on 59 minutes, followed by O'Donnell's effort 30 seconds later, edged Crusheen into the final.

Bridge trailed by 0-7 to 0-6 at the break, but within 90 seconds of the restart they held a one-point advantage, thanks to two quick Caimin Morey scores. Reliant for the most part on the free-taking of veteran Niall Gilligan, this young Sixmilebridge outfit conceded to a more experienced and better balanced Crusheen team.

Scorers -- Crusheen: G O'Donnell, P Vaughan (0-3f) 0-3 each, C O'Donnell 0-2, T Meaney, D Forde, J Meaney, G O'Grady, F Kennedy 0-1 each. Sixmilebridge: N Gilligan 0-8 (0-7) D Morey, M Morey 0-2 each.

Crusheen -- D Tuohy; J Brigdale, Cronan Dillon, A Brigdale; P Vaughan, Cian Dillon, C O'Doherty; F Kennedy, T Meaney; G O'Donnell, J Meaney, D Forde; C O'Donnell, G O'Grady (capt), P Meaney. Subs: A Tuohy for P Meaney (37).

Sixmilebridge -- D Fahy; J Fennessy, T Keogh, R McNamara; R Conlon, A Quilligan, Paidi Fitzpatrick; S Golden, T Morey; S Morey, R Shanahan, B Culbert; D Morey, C Morey, N Gilligan (capt). Subs: D Morey for Culbert (26), Paul Fitzpatrick for McNamara (39), B O'Connor for Conlon (49), A Liddane for T Morey (53), D O'Connor for S Morey (60).

Ref -- R Hickey (Clare).

Holders Cratloe and 2008 champions Clonlara will have to do it all again following an exciting draw at Cusack Park yesterday.

A somewhat dull opening half saw Cratloe lead by 0-8 to 0-5, with their impressive corner-forward Conor McGrath proving a handful, hitting six fine points.

The youngster's influence waned a little in the second period, though, and by the 40th minute Clonlara had established a 0-11 to 0-9 lead.

Cratloe were thrown a lifeline mid-way through the half when Cathal McInerney found the net and going into injury-time, the sides were level (0-14 to 1-11).

Sub Conor Ryan put Cratloe ahead, but with the last action of the game, Clonlara's Paul Nihill landed a huge free from inside his own half to set up a replay.

Scorers -- Cratloe: C McGrath 0-7 (0-3f), C McInerney 1-1, S Collins, S Chaplin, E Boyce, C Ryan 0-1 each. Clonlara: D Honan 0-3 (0-2fs), T Lynch, C O'Connell, P Nihill (0-2f), D Madden (0-1f), J Conlan 0-2 each, N O'Connell (0-1 '65'), D O'Donovan 0-1 each.

Cratloe -- S Hawes; P Gleeson, B Duggan, D Ryan; J O'Gorman, M Hawes, L Markham; E Boyce, S Chaplin; S Collins, J Enright, D Browne; C McGrath, C McInerney, P Collins. Subs: G Ryan for S Collins (38), C Ryan for Enright (45), B Gleeson for Boyce (64).

Clonlara -- G O'Connell; P Collins, J Moloney, S Nihill; P Nihill, D O'Donovan, N O'Connell; T Lynch, C O'Donovan; J Conlan, C Galvin, W Slattery; C O'Connell, D Honan, C Fennessy.

Subs: P O'Hare for Fennessy (21), D Madden for Slattery (36).

Ref -- G Hoey (Killenena)

Irish Independent