Clarinbridge cruise to title glory with surprising ease

Clarinbridge 0-28

Oranmore/Maree 2-10


AARON Niland led the scoring exhibition last Wednesday as the Galway minor star contributed 16 points for Clarinbridge on their way to a fourth county under 20 A hurling title at Duggan Park.

A pulsating first half had the teams all square on five occasions before the victors finished with four unanswered scores. But they took full control after the restart, outscoring their opponents by 0-12 to 0-4.

Oranmore/Maree will be disappointed with their second half effort but shouldn’t be too despondent. Many of this team only claimed minor silverware last year and with seven already established as senior regulars, they should be back in contention in 12 months.

This was an eagerly anticipated tussle and the opening 30 minutes lived up to the hype. Clarinbridge got things moving with Josh Ryan striding up the field for the first score after just 10 seconds.

They were favourites in the ‘Oyster Derby’ and continued with a Niland free. Liam Leen, also making an impression, set up Darragh Kearney out right on five minutes before pointing himself 60 seconds later for a 0-4 to 0-0 lead.

Oranmore/Maree didn’t get off the mark until the seventh minute through a Rory Burke free. With that score, they settled and Burke played a key part in the first goal.

Last year’s county winning minor captain ran at the opposing defence given any chance and he gained ground on nine minutes before offloading to his left. Ruben Davitt was waiting and he drilled into the net for the equaliser.

Clarinbridge responded with Niland taking Kearney’s pass for his first of seven from play. Another free on 13 minutes had them 0-6 to 1-1 up.

However, Oranmore/Maree were threatening. Burke went on the run again, this time down the right, and got the shot in but keeper Chris Callanan was equal to the task. However, the rebound fell perfectly for Colm Burke who swung first time and the league champions led by a point.

Conor Butler added a score on 14 minutes before Niland replied with a free. A Rory Burke placed ball made it 2-3 to 0-7 but Clarinbridge struck three in succession to overturn the deficit.

Pictured: Oranmore/Maree’s Anthony Keady comes under pressure from Daragh Counihan and Dylan Dunne of Clarinbridge during the County U-20 A Hurling Final at Duggan Park last Wednesday. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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