Clarinbridge claimed their first Galway senior hurling championship by dethroning reigning All-Ireland club champions Athenry in dramatic fashion at Ballinasloe on Sunday. Former Galway star Darragh Coen scored a point from a disputed free deep into injury time to secure a deserved one point (0-18 to 2-11) victory for Clarinbridge in front of almost 10,000.
Clarinbridge were never intimated by the pre-match favourites and raced into a four point lead inside the first seven minutes as Athenry failed to match the industry, precision and hunger of their unfancied opponents. The eventual winners held a commanding 0-10 to 0-05 lead at the interval, but two second half goals from Donal Moran and Joe Rabitte drew Athenry level to set up a nervous finale.
However, with the sides inseparable going into injury time, Clarinbridge were awarded a free on the 21 when forward Mark Kerins was adjudged to have been fouled after collecting a pass from midfielder Brian Carr. The experienced Coen kept his nerve and notched his eighth point of the game to secure a memorable victory, and consign Athenry to their first championship defeat since the 1999 All-Ireland semi-final with Doora Barefield.
CLARINBRIDGE: L O'Donoghue, M Spellman, A Quinn, G Spellman, J Cannon, M Donoghue, L Madden, D Coen (0-8, 6 frees), B Carr, P Coen (0-1), M Kerins (0-4), A Kerins (0-2), C Coen (0-1), D Forde, D Donoghue (0-2)
ATHENRY: M Crimmins, E Keogh, D Cloonan, J Feeney, B Higgins, B Feeney, P Hardiman, MJ Quinn, B Hanley, J Rabbitte (1-1), P Higgins, S Donoghue (0-1), D Moran (1-0), E Cloonan (0-8, 6 frees), D Donoghue (0-1). Subs: C Moran for Hanley (31 mins), G Keane for Quinn (60 mins)
Filed by Shane Murray