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Ben Brady/INPHO Ballyea and Éire Óg players battle for possession in the Clare SHC final.
# Still On Top
Deasy goal proves crucial and Tony Kelly posts 0-4 as Ballyea retain Clare title
Ballyea are Clare senior champions for the fourth time after narrowly edging out Éire Óg.

Ballyea 2-14

Éire Óg 1-16

Páraic McMahon reports from Cusack Park, Ennis

A FOURTH CLARE SHC title is the reward for Ballyea after they edged out Éire Óg in a keenly contested affair to get their hands on the Canon Hamilton. It is the second year in a row that they have won the senior title by a single point.

Robbie Hogan’s charges led for the bulk of the opening half, getting a great start with an Aaron Griffin goal. However, Danny Russell struck the last score of the half to see the sides retreat at the interval all square.

Niall Deasy struck to the roof of the net on the restart to ensure the first score of either half was a green flag but Éire Óg responded immediately with David Reidy kicking the sliotar over the line following a blunder in the Ballyea back line.

This was used as a propeller by the Ennis club who added six of the next nine points to lead by four points with forty six minutes on the clock.

Crucially for Matt Shannon’s side they added just 0-02 in the final ten minutes of normal time and the five extra minutes played at the end.

On the other side, Ballyea dug their way back and hit the final four points without reply to once again demonstrate their immense battling qualities and refusal to lie down. Tony Kelly may be better noted for his skill with the ball in the hand and abundance of magical scores but it was his hook on Shane O’Donnell with sixty one minutes played that served as a match-defining moment, the turnover was fetched by Paul Flanagan who found Cathal O’Connor and the Clare footballer made no mistake in adding his second point to level matters.

Niall Deasy converted a free which he won himself to push Ballyea ahead on sixty three minutes. The next attack saw a chance for Éire Óg to equalise but David Reidy who stood up to take his first free of the encounter just missed the target, meaning that it will Ballyea to welcome St Finbarr’s to Clare for the Munster club semi-final on November 20th.

Hooks, blocks and tackles have long been the mantra of this admirable Ballyea team and never was it better demonstrated than Kelly’s exceptional hook in the dying moments. Teak tough at the back, they had sterling showings from Brandon O’Connell, Gearoid O’Connell, Jack Browne while Paul Flanagan managed to somehow keep Shane O’Donnell scoreless, Aaron Griffin, Niall Deasy, Cathal O’Connor and Kelly also stood out for the winners.

Oran Cahill was a standout performer for Éire Óg who will be bitterly disappointed to have this win slip from their finger tips. Michael Moloney, Liam Corry and Cian O’Dea also got through vital work for the Ennis club but their inability to build the supply of ball to their danger men will be among the regrets when they reflect back on the contest.

Scorers Ballyea: Niall Deasy (1-06 6f), Tony Kelly (0-04 1’65), Aaron Griffin (1-01), Cathal O’Connor (0-02), Martin O’Leary (0-01).

Scorers Éire Óg: Danny Russell (0-11 9f 1’65), David Reidy (1-00), Darren O’Brien (0-02), Oran Cahill (0-01), Michael Moloney (0-01), Gavin Cooney (0-01)

Ballyea

1: Barry Coote

2: Brandon O’Connell

4: Paul Flanagan

3: Peter Casey

5: Gearoid O’Connell

6: Jack Browne

7: James Murphy

9: Stan Lineen

12: Morgan Garry

14: Niall Deasy

33: Gary Brennan

11: Pearse Lillis

13: Mossy Gavin

8: Tony Kelly

15: Aaron Griffin

Subs:

17: Cillian Brennan for Garry (23) (inj)

10: Cathal O’Connor for Gavin (34)

19: Martin O’Leary for Lillis (54)

Éire Óg

1: Phillip Walsh

2: Jarlath Collins

6: Aaron Fitzgerald

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4: Niall McMahon

7: Liam Corry

3: Ciaran Russell

5: Oran Cahill

8: David Reidy

9: Cian O’Dea

10: David McNamara

13: Gavin Cooney

12: Michael Moloney

14: Danny Russell

11: Shane O’Donnell

15: Darren O’Brien

Subs:

17: Aidan McGrath for Russell (44) (temporary)

Russell for McGrath (47)

Referee: Jarlath Donnellan (Wolfe Tones)

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