Sixmilebridge 0-21 Cratloe 0-15
Sixmilebridge won their fourth Clare Senior Hurling Championship title since 2013 as they saw off neighbours Cratloe by 0-21 to 0-15 in Cusack Park in Ennis this afternoon.
Having contested nine of the previous ten finals between them, Cratloe and Sixmilebridge's first Garneyside derby final meeting promised much but ultimately underdelivered in terms of drama as the 'Bridge dominated the 2014 champions after recovering from a nervy start.
Strong performances from chief marksmen Cathal Malone, Alex Morey and Brian Corry were bolstered by the dominance of spare defender Caimin Morey, as the Davy Fitzgerald-trained side produced a nine-point turnaround.
On the flip side, back-to-back final defeats for Cratloe was compounded by a leg injury for 2013 All Star Conor McGrath midway through the opening half that visibly hampered his influence.
Having been given a new lease of life as a midfield general throughout their five-match run to the final, captain McGrath's absence from the centre was sorely felt as their bright start was diminished by a resurgent 'Bridge.
With the aid of the conditions, Cratloe pulled 0-06 to 0-02 clear by the tenth minute, thanks in the main to braces from Shane Gleeson and Rian Considine.
However, McGrath's injury coincided with a sea change in proceedings as Alex Morey and Cathal Malone inspired a blistering turnaround, with Sixmilebridge scoring seven of the next eight points to hit the front for the first time at 0-09 to 0-07 by the 20th minute.
A late McGrath effort on goal was denied by goalkeeper Derek Fahy to protect that two-point gap until the break at 0-11 to 0-09, albeit that Cratloe did regain parity only three minutes into the second half after a brace of Shane Gleeson frees.
Seeking a third ever Clare title, Cratloe couldn't sustain that momentum despite the best efforts of breakthrough county senior Diarmuid Ryan, with a better balanced Sixmilebridge wrestling back control with another six-point purple patch to open up a 0-17 to 0-12 lead with 15 minutes remaining.
Cratloe's last hope of a reprieve arrived in the 52nd minute when Podge Collins slalomed through to tee up centre-back Ryan, only for his powerful strike to flash wide of the left post.
A relieved Sixmilebridge would not look back as they matched Cratloe points on two more occasions before the versatile Cathal Malone provided the insurance point to seal a perfect championship record and a 14th Clare Senior Hurling Championship crown.
Sixmilebridge: Derek Fahy; Brian Carey, Noel Purcell, Barry Fitzpatrick (0-01); Pa Mulready, Caimin Morey, Seadna Morey; Evan McInerney, Paidí Fitzpatrick; Jason Loughnane (0-01), Shane Golden (0-01), Jamie Shanahan (0-02); Alex Morey (0-08, 0-07f), Cathal Malone (0-04), Brian Corry (0-02)
Subs: Conor Deasy (0-02) for Loughnane (Half-Time), Alan Mulready for Corry (59 mins), Kevin Lynch for A. Morey (60 mins), Niall Gilligan for Shanahan (62 mins), Cathal Lynch for McInerney (62 mins)
Cratloe: Gearoid Ryan; Martin 'Óige' Murphy, Mikey Hayes, Shane O'Leary; Damien Browne, Diarmuid Ryan (0-03), Liam Markham; Conor McGrath (0-01), Enda Boyce (0-01); Shane Gleeson (0-05, 0-03f), Billy Connors (0-01, 0-01f), Sean Collins; Podge Collins, Cathal McInerney (0-02), Rian Considine (0-02)
Subs: Sean Chaplin for Connors (HT), David Collins for S. Collins (38), Jack McInerney for McGrath (51)
Referee: Niall Malone (Éire Óg)