Category: Archive

Club Roundup: Holders Athenry dash Dunloy hurling dream

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Athenry (Galway) 3-20Dunloy (Antrim) 1-10 Dunloy’s dream of another All-Ireland club hurling final appearance died when they were comprehensively beaten by reigning champions Athenry at Parnell Park. The Antrim side battled well, but following a fast start, they found it hard to sustain the tempo and to contain the scoring talents of Eugene Cloonan. Once Athenry settled into their stride, the result was never in doubt as Cloonan helped himself to a stunning total of 1-11 that included six frees, and the promising David Donohue chipped in with 1-2. Cathal Moran was also a thorn in Dunloy’s side while the contributions of Joe Rabbitte, Brendan Keogh and Brian Hanley were vital to the Athenry success story. Trailing by 1-11 to 0-6 at the interval, Dunloy were hit by a Moran goal early in the second half and soon the margin was 13 points. Even though Seamus McMullan provided a chink of light with a goal, it only spurred Athenry on to a further burst of scoring. "I knew it was going to be tough," said Dunloy’s manager, Seamus Boyle, "but I never expected to lose by 16 points. A few of the lads have said they might pack it in now." As for Athenry, there was absolutely no talk of quitting as the road leads to Croke Park on St. Patrick’s Day.Sixmilebridge (Clare) 2-13Graigue-Ballycallan (Kilkenny) 1-16 Although the two protagonists might have been left frustrated after failing to resolve last Sunday’s compelling All-Ireland club hurling semifinal, the 7,000 or so spectators who will return to Thurles this weekend won’t be complaining. This game had a whiff of summer about it as a superb playing surface and some excellent scores produced genuine value for money. In simple terms, it turned out to be a contest between two marksman, Niall Gilligan of Sixmilebridge and Adrian Ronan. Gilligan hit seven frees and crashed home an important goal, but it was Ronan who really caught the eye with a total of 1-5 from play. Although he was guilty of a couple of wides, D.J. Carey’s former schoolmate scored a brilliant goal and then popped up to angle over the equalizing point in the closing seconds. At one stage it looked as though the Kilkenny champions would go on to register a comfortable victory after facing the wind during the first half and winding up only a point, 1-6 to 0-8, in arrears. But Sixmilebridge put on a typically defiant performance as John O’Connell, Christy Chaplin and John Reddan all performed well, but they were unable to contain the skill of Ronan, who struck for his goal after 41 minutes. Eddie O’Dwyer sent a high ball into the Sixmilebridge square, Ronan jumped to make the catch ahead of the defense and then cracked the ball past Davy Fitzgerald. That was the catalyst for Graigue to move into a 2-point lead, but the match took another twist when Gilligan drove home a goal from a narrow angle to put the Clare side a point ahead. Gilligan doubled that advantage with a free. However, the Kilkenny men responded with two more points before Reddan scored what looked like the match-winning point. Ronan thought otherwise to earn Graigue a deserved draw. "We missed a few chances," he said, "and we weren’t playing our usual game but we got back into it well. We’re still there and hopeful we’ll come on from this."

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