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Keane Inspired Kilmaley end Champions’ Reign
-Fitzpatrick’s goal the clincher-
By Seamus Hayes (Article Courtesy of Patsy Doohan)
Clare Champion, Friday August 30, 1985


INSPIRED by an outstanding Tommy Keane at centre back, Kilmaley decisively and deservedly ended Sixmilebridge’s reign as Clare and Munster senior hurling champions when they had a six-point win at Cusack Park on Sunday evening. Kilmaley should have won by this margin a week earlier but they faded near the and they made no mistake on this occasion and are now through to the county senior hurling final for the first time in their history.

Those of us - and there were many - who felt that Kilmaley’s display in the drawn game a week earlier was a flash in the pan, were silenced. Displaying a determination reminiscent of the Clare team of 1977 and ‘78, they matched the Bridge in every department in the early stages before taking control throughout the field in the second half.

That the Bridge officials were angry with referee John Brett’ handling of the game was quite obvious, but they cannot deny that Kilmaley were deserving winners. The Bridge started well and applied early pressure when playing with the aid of the breeze but the Kilmaley defence was rock solid with the half back trio of Pat and Tommy Keane and Niall Romer in superb form.

The Bridge were 0-4 to 0-2 in front at the break and within a minute of the restart they added a point but them Kilmaley took control and with Keane giving what must surely be his best performance ever, they took the game to the champions. After ten minutes they had drawn level and were two points in front at the turn of the final quarter. The Bridge made switches all over the place but to no avail, as Kilmaley bad their sights firmly set on the county final. Yes, Kilmaley had the champions reeling and it was the Bridge side that displayed inexperience.
In fairness it must be said that the sending off of Gerry Mclnerney was a major blow to the Bridge. Kilmaleys Martin Darcy, who also received his marching orders with Mclnerney following an off the ball incident, was a loss to the winners but one wonders if the Bridge forward line would have done better had Mclnerney not been sent for an early shower.

The Bridge did most of the attacking in the opening ten minutes but their forward line failed to make any worthwhile headway against a superb Kilmaley back line. Kilmaley opened their account at the end of the first quarter when Gerry Kennedy pointed from, a free at which stage the Bridge had two points on the scoreboard. It was 0-4 to 0-2 for-the holders at the break and all but one of those scores had come from placed balls.

Within a minute of the resumption, Eamonn Healy stretched the lead to three points but the champions weren’t to score again until a minute from the end. With Tommy Keane now really taking control, Kilmaley got on top and points from Gerry Kennedy pointed his fourth free shortly afterwards to put his team in front for the first time and this was quickly followed by a Martin Meehan point.

SUPERB GOAL

The score of the match and the score which really sank the Bridge hopes came twelve minutes from the end when Séamus Fitzpatrick, sporting a nasty facial injury following an accidental clash in the first half, dodged his way past three defenders to hand pass a superb goal. The Bridge protested that the Kilmaley man stepped over the end line as he soloed in for the score but the umpires had no doubt.
Six minutes from the end I the Bridge were awarded a penalty but an inspired Keane saved and, without I taking the ball into his hand, delivered a tremendous clearance. Martin Meehan, Gerry Pyne and. Gerry Kennedy added further points to put their side eight points clear with three minutes to go and there was no doubt now. P. J. Fitzpatrick did have a goal for the losers a minute from time but Kilmaley continued to dominate and closed the scoring with a good point from Séamus Fitzpatrick.

It was a great performance from Kilmaley with all members of the team playing an important role. The defence was particularly impressive with the half back trio in top form. Noel McGuane was rock solid at full back with Paddy Hill effecting some fine clearances while Capt., P. J. Kennedy bringing of a couple of great saves. If Keane was the ‘Man of the Match’, then his club mate, Séamus Fitzpatrick wasn’t far behind. The live wire Fitzpatrick was here there and everywhere, especially in the second half and his goal was a tremendous effort. Pyne was another to have a very fine second half while Gerry Kennedy’s accuracy from frees was important.

That Sean Stack is an extremely important player for Sixmilebridge was emphasised once again as his absence was sorely felt. Danny Chaplin was at centre back but later moved to attack before being replaced. Jamesy Keogh, Noel O’Gorman and John Brennan tried hard throughout, while John O’Connell showed a few lovely touches in the second’ half, while behind them goalkeeper Pat Collins could not be blamed for the defeat. Team Capt., Pat Morey, worked hard at midfield but elsewhere they made little or no impression. Incidentally, the omission of Kieran O’Shea from the starting line up was surprising, as was the decision to replace second half substitute Jimmy Morey just ten minutes after his introduction.

KILMALEY: P. J. Kennedy(Capt.), Martin Darcy, Noel McGuane, Paddy Hill, Niall Romer, Tommy Keane (0-1),Pat Keane, Eugene McMahon and Martin Cahill, Gerry Kennedy (0-5) frees, Gerry Pyne (0-2), Michael Murphy, Seamus Fitzpatrick(1-1), John Mungovan, Martin Meehan (0-2). Substitute: Michael Killeen for Murphy.

SIXM1LEBKIDGE: 
Pat Collins; Jamesy Keogh, Noel O’Gorman, John O’Connell; Martin Corry, Danny Chaplin, John Brennan, Pat Morey (Capt.) Flan Quilligan, John Chaplin (0-1) Tommy Morey, Seamus Cusack (0-3); Eamon Healy (0-1) Mike Quaine, Gerry Mclnerney

Subs.: Jimmy Morey for Quaine; John Kelly for Jimmy Morey; P. J. Fitzpatrick (1-0) for D. Chaplin.

Sixmilebridge had a total of thirteen wides, ten of which came in the first half. Kilmaley had ten wides, five in each half. Kilmaley were awarded twelve frees, seven in the second half, while the Bridge received a total of eight, four in each half.

CONTROVERSY OVER REFEREE’S RECISIONS

John Brett’s handling of Sunday’s game, together with the many, many incursions by officials from both sides onto the pitch, has provoked widespread discussion While Bretts handling of the drawn tie raised a number of question is, it wasn’t surprising when he was appointed for the replay as it’s G.A.A. policy not to change referees for replays.
On Sunday last the Feakle man found a lot of difficulty in keeping up with the play and this led to most of the problems as many of his decisions, made while he was a long way from the scene of the incidents, incensed Bridge supporters and officials.
The announcement at half time by Co. Secretary, Des Crowe, that the second half would not resume until ALL mentors and substitutes from both clubs went to their respective dugouts and remained there, met with a lot of criticism. It’s being argued that this is contrary to rule and that teams are allowed two officials on the line to make changes etc. Co. Secretary, Des Crowe, told me there is no rule to state this. He said Sunday’s announcement didn’t deprive trainers from being oil the sideline. I understood that Board Chairmen, Robert Frost, visited both dressing rooms at the interval to inform the clubs of the ruling.
There were many occasions in the first half when both camps were guilty of having quite a number of officials on the pitch. This could not be allowed to continue but surely a referee has power to have the offenders removed from the enclosure. Within a few minutes of the resumption, mentors, bottle carriers, etc., were back on the line and while there may not have been as many incursion onto the pitch, the half time announcement did little to resolve the problem.
John Brett’s report to the Hurling Board on the game is eagerly awaited.



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