Lee guides Clarinbridge to league title after extra-time

Clarinbridge 2-29

Sarsfields 1-24


By Ivan Smyth at Kenny Park

CLARINBRIDGE came through an extra-time thriller against Sarsfields to be crowned Division One senior hurling league champions at Kenny Park on Friday evening.

Gavin Lee produced a Man of the Match display as Clarinbridge hung tough in normal time before their greater energy reserves powered them over the line. The winners were without Aaron Niland and Shane Ryan, while Sarsfields were unable to call upon Kevin Cooney, Darren Morrissey and Alex Connaire.

The sight of Joseph Cooney hobbling off in extra time is a concern. The inter-county star looked in noticeable discomfort from the start of extra time before trudging off in the 69th minute. Gavin Lee stood up to the task for Clarinbridge as arguably his vision and ability to facilitate the attack was even more impressive than the 1-5 he nabbed on the evening.

Although nobody from the South Galway club will be getting carried away after this triumph, Clarinbridge possess impressive depth particularly in defence. Sean Murphy is a quality operator and revelled as a spare man in extra-time while TJ Brennan was resolute at full back. Further up the field, David Lee impressed with four points from play in an honest display.

From a Sarsfields point of view, they will not be pressing the panic button even with question marks over the fitness of key personnel. Joseph and John Cooney, John Cosgrove and Darragh Donohue impressed as they appeared a step ahead for most of normal time. However, they missed a guilt edged chance to give themselves a buffer in injury-time.

After Adam Donohue tapped over a routine free to push his side a point ahead on the hour mark, the full forward had a glorious chance after fine work by John Cosgrove to increase the advantage, but he snapped at the close range effort and sent it wide.

Pictured: Paddy Mac Carthaigh of Sarsfields is about to be challenged by Clarinbridge’s Alan Armstrong during the Division One senior hurling league final at Kenny Park. Photos: David Cunniffe.

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