St Breckans 0-10 Clashmore 0-8

Despite a very good first-half performance in which they were always well on top, Clashmore’s first taste of Munster Championship football ended in disappointment when they went under to Lisdoonvarna based St Breckans at Fraher Field on Sunday.
St Breckans, like Clashmore, were a senior side until relatively recently and has the nucleus of its team made of a number of players that help capture the under-21 ‘B Football championship in Clare this year.
Just like in their last outing against Tipperary champions Kilsheelan-Kilcash a week previously, the victors showed themselves well capable in attack.
This game was the toughest that Clashmore played this year and will serve as reminder of what they are likely to experience when they return to the senior championship in 2011.
The early minutes suggested that a route could have been on the cards for the side coached by County Board secretary Timmy O’Keeffe as they fell behind to a brace of Conor Cormican points by the ninth minute, cancelling out a Karl O’Keeffe point in the second minute.
On the quarter-hour mark Clashmore were unlucky not to have taken a giant step towards securing victory when Sean Fleming was brilliantly denied a goal by Craig Flanagan who turned the ball round the post for a ’45.
From the resulting kick however Clashmore were content with taking a minor score when Cillian O’Keeffe’s effort fell short, resulting in Flanagan again managing to keep the ball out of the net but he failed to keep a grip and when it fell to Brian O’Halloran the teenage tormentor kicked the ball over for a point to level matters.
From the remainder of the opening thirty minutes there was only one side in the game. Cillian O’Keeffe gave Clashmore the lead on 18 minutes when he put over a free and inside the space of sixty seconds Sean Fleming – who was involved in practically every Clashmore movement – popped over a brace of points to give his team a 0-5 to 0-2 lead with 21 minutes played.
Moments later Clashmore were again deprived another good goalscoring chance when Flanagan managed to keep Brian O’Halloran at bay as he cut in from the stand side of the field towards the road goal and shot from close range.
From the resulting ’45 Cillian O’Keeffe went short and then collected the return pass before shooting over from thirty metres to give Clashmore a four-point lead. And when Brian O’Halloran popped over his second five minutes from the break it looked as if the men from west Waterford were going to march on to the Munster final.
However, disaster stuck just before the break as Sean Fleming appeared to go over on his ankle and had to be helped from the field of play. Up to then he was magnificent and we wondered how his absence was going to affect a side already without another key player in the shape of Declan Allen. We were soon to find out.
In added time, playing against what wind which blew at the Shandon Road venue, the Lisdoonvarna side added two points courtesy of Denis O’Driscoll and Pat Nagle – two scores which at the end made all the difference.
Trailing by three points at the break St Breckans proved to be the superior side throughout the second half.
A punched effort by Stephen Tierney and a great score from John McDonagh within five minutes of the restart had just one between the sides. Brian O’Halloran then added a point from a free for Clashmore with 20 minutes to go to leave two between the sides. Fatefully, this was to prove to be Clashmore’s only score of the half.
At the end of the third quarter Pat Nagle, St Breckans’ top scorer in their run to a Munster Final against Gneeveguilla from Kerry, left just a single point in it and just two minutes later the same player hit a free to level matters. However, that score looked highly questionable as the player appeared to play the free to himself before firing between the posts.
The same player struck twice more before the end as Clashmore, in a bid to try and get something out of the game, re-introduced Sean Fleming for the last 12 minutes but he was a shadow of the player he was before picking up his injury.
Clashmore: R Ryan; S Bourke, C Bourke, P Connery; P Dee, K Connery, E Beresford; B Murray, M Power; C Faherty, S Landers, K O’Keeffe; B O’Halloran, C O’Keeffe, S Fleming. Subs: F Walsh for S Fleming, A Trihy for B Murray, S Fleming for C Faherty, S O’Connor for A Trihy.
Scorers: B O’Halloran 0-3 (1 free), C O’Keeffe, S Fleming 0-2 each, K O’Keeffe 0-1.
St Breckans: C Flanagan; S Howley, C Howley, D Carey; S Rouine, D Considine, S Tierney; J McDonagh, S O’Connor; C Blood, S Cormican, P Nagle; J Stack, C Cormican, D O’Driscoll. Sub: N Hawes for J Stack.
Scorers: P Nagle 0-5 (2 frees), C Cormican 0-2, D O’Driscoll, S Tierney, J McDonagh 0-1 each.
Referee: P Sheehy (Kerry).