Éire Óg 1-11 Kilmurry Ibrickane 0-09
The Jack Daly Cup will reside in Ennis for the first time since 2006 after Éire Óg deservedly held off the stubborn challenge of defending champions Kilmurry Ibrickane to clinch Clare Senior Football Championship honours.
Despite contesting their first senior final in seven years, Éire Óg managed to lead from start to finish, with Mark McInerney's 17th-minute goal providing decisive daylight for their young side to prosper.
Indeed, McInerney's flicked goal after great work from Einne O’Connor was quickly followed by points from Conall Ó hAiniféin and captain Gavin Cooney to flesh out a minimum first quarter lead into a 1-05 to 0-02 cushion by the 21st minute.
Clinical at one end, crucially the Ennis side, trained by Limerick’s Seanie Buckley, proved watertight at the other to maintain their remarkable record of not conceding a goal in the championship.
First goalkeeper Nathan Murray repelled a Keelan Sexton shot before full-back Aaron Fitzgerald produced an even more spectacular stop in injury-time to tip a Daniel Walsh attempt over the crossbar at 1-06 to 0-04.
Many thanks to our sponsor Cruises, Seanie & all the Lyne family. We will see ye later on!!!! pic.twitter.com/4ySKtDt2gZ— CLG Éire Óg Inis (@CLGEireOgInis) November 7, 2021
In such a low-scoring contest, that chasm remained until the final quarter when Kilmurry Ibrickane’s top-scorer Sexton earned and converted three consecutive frees to lower the arrears to just two at 1-08 to 0-09.
Despite momentum now firmly behind the holders who were bidding for a fourth senior crown in six seasons, Éire Óg did manage to stem the tide thanks in the main to the defensive triumvirate of Ciaran Russell, Aaron Fitzgerald and Einne O’Connor.
With the clock ticking inexorably down and Kilmurry Ibrickane becoming increasingly frustrated, Éire Óg countered with the final three points of a compelling contest, with Clare senior hurler David Reidy demonstrating all his experience to fist over a brace of points before substitute Eimhin Courtney finally sealed the honours for an elated Ennis outfit.
Éire Óg: Nathan Murray; Manus Doherty, Aaron Fitzgerald, Ronan Lanigan; Ciaran Russell, Conall Ó hAiniféin (0-01), Einne O’Connor; Darren O’Neill, David McNamara; Niall McMahon, David Reidy (0-02), Aidan McGrath (0-01); Mark McInerney (1-00), Gavin Cooney (0-05, 3f), Philip Talty (0-01).
Subs: Ikem Ugwueru for McMahon (39), Dara Walsh for Talty (48), Tadhg Connellan for McGrath (53), Eimhin Courtney (0-01) for McInerney (59), Conor O’Halloran for Reidy (64).
Kilmurry Ibrickane: David Sexton; Jason McCarthy, Mark Killeen, Darren Hickey; Enda Coughlan, Ciaran Morrissey (0-01), Darragh Sexton; Daniel Walsh (0-01), Aidan McCarthy; Keelan Sexton (0-05, 4f), Michael O’Dwyer (0-01), Andrew Shannon; Martin McMahon, Daryn Callinan (0-01, 1f), Eamonn Bracken.
Subs: Mark McCarthy for Callinan (39), Colin Brigdale for Coughlan (48), Coughlan for Morrissey (51), Joe Campbell for Bracken (57).
Referee: Jim Hickey (Cratloe).