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Clare hurling legend conjures virtuoso performance as Sixmilebridge claim title

39-year-old Niall Gilligan racked up 13 points as his side got the better of Clonlara.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Sixmilebridge 1-21

Clonlara 0-15

SIXMILEBRIDGE STAMPED THEIR authority on the Clare Senior Hurling Championship with a second title in three years in Cusack Park, Ennis this afternoon.

And in similar circumstances to their 2013 derby final victory over Newmarket, this time experienced talisman Niall Gilligan secured the bragging rights over another neighbouring side Clonlara.

In all, the 39 year old was unerring with 13 points over the hour, 12 of which came from placed balls as a more consistent Sixmilebridge overpowered their lacklustre opponents.

Shane O' Brien with Cathal Malone Clonlara's Shane O' Brien is shackled by Cathal Malone of Sixmilebridge Source: Gareth Williams/INPHO

Gilligan began with the opening three points of the game before Alex Morey added a goal to put  the ‘Bridge six clear by the eighth minute. The hardworking Cathal O’Connell did finally get Clonlara off the mark in the next passage of play in a second quarter fightback but Gilligan’s placed balls ensured that his side would hold a 1-8 to 0-8 half-time lead.

While Clonlara have proved a second half team throughout the championship, this time they would have no answer to a confident Sixmilebridge, with eight more Gilligan points in the second half ensuring that Clonlara could never get near enough to trouble the leaders.

Clonlara did carve out several late goal chances but efforts from Colm Galvin, John Conlon and Micheál O’Loughlin would all be repelled as Sixmilebridge completed the perfect championship season and are only a Clare Cup Final away from the perfect domestic season of 15 straight wins.

Scorers for Sixmilebridge: Niall Gilligan 0-13 (12f); Alex Morey 1-0; Jamie Shanahan, Shane Golden 0-2; Brian Corry, Caimin Morey (1), Brian Carey, Danny Morey 0-1 each

Scorers for Clonlara: Micheál O’Loughlin 0-7 (4f, 2’65); Cormac O’Donovan, Cathal O’Connell, Nicky O’Connell (f), Colm Galvin 0-2 each

Sixmilebridge

1. Derek Fahy

2. Barry Fitzpatrick
3. Aidan Quilligan
8. Seadna Morey

5. Noel Purcell
6. Caimin Morey
7. Paidi Fitzpatrick

15. Jamie Shanahan
9. Brian Carey

10. Cathal Malone
11. Conor Deasy
12. Shane Golden

20. Brian Corry
14. Niall Gilligan
13. Alex Morey

Subs:
17. Pa Sheehan for Deasy (42 mins)
19. Danny Morey for Corry (53 mins)
4. Tadgh Keogh for Purcell (59 mins)
18. Kevin Lynch for A. Morey (59 mins)
21. Sean Lynch for Shanahan (62 mins)

Clonlara

1. Ger O’Connell

4. Cillian Fennessy
3. Garrett Kennedy
4. Shane O’Brien

5. Neil Ryan
6. John Conlon
7. Oisin O’Brien

8. Domhnall O’Donovan
12. Cathal O’Connell

17. Ian Galvin
11. Cormac O’Donovan
14. Colm Galvin

15. Darach Honan
9. Nicky O’Connell
13. Michael O’Loughlin

Subs:
10. Paraic O’Loughlin for Ryan (Half-Time)
22. David Fitzgerald for I. Galvin (49 mins)
18. Pat O’Hare for C. O’Donovan (49 mins)

Referee Ambrose Heagney (Corofin)

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