Athenry march on

 

Athenry, the All-Ireland club hurling champions, were comfortable winners of the Connacht title at Athleague yesterday although the final was far from one-sided. felt in the Galway camp.

Early exchanges mainly involved freetakers Eugene Cloonan and Mickey Cunniffe, with Athenry on top 0-5 to 0-2 when Four Roads were reduced to 14 men after goalkeeper Adrian Tully brought down Donal Moran. Referee Seamus Weldon had no hesitation in brandishing the red card, having earlier issued yellow cards to Roscommon defenders Paul Connolly and Padraig Mannion.

Eugene Cloonan had the resulting penalty saved but David Donohue was on hand to follow up and find the net.

However, just before half-time Four Roads scored an almost identical goal when Cunniffe failed to convert a penalty after Damien Lohan was taken down but Paul Glennon netted from the rebound.

Second-half points from Ray Mulry and Cunniffe kept the Roscommon titleholders in touch, but the reigning champions had begun to pull away with pointed frees from Moran and Cloonan by the time they got through for Cloonan's conclusive second goal.

Athenry: M Crimmins; E Keogh, J Keane, J Feeney; B Higgins (0-1), B Feeney, P Hardiman; J Hardiman, B Hanley; D Higgins, P Higgins, D Moran (0-7, six from frees); C Moran (0-1), E Cloonan (1-4, four from frees), D Donohue (1-1). Subs: J Rabbitte (0-1) for D Higgins, MJ Quinn for J Hardiman, D Carroll (0-1) for Donohue.

Four Roads: A Tully; P Mannion, P Connolly, P Lohan; N Cunniffe, M Mulry, G Coyle; L Gately, T Lennon; M Cunniffe (0-6, from frees), D Lohan, P Glennon (1-0); J Mannion, R Mulry (0-1), B Mannion. Subs: K Gately for J Mannion, C Naughton for Glennon.

Referee: S Weldon (Westmeath).