Cratloe dig deep to pip Ballinacourty and complete a remarkable achievement

Within 24 hours Clare club win their first senior county football title – and then go on to book a place in the Munster final

Cratloe 1-10 Ballinacourty 0-11

Back in action after less than 24 hours, newly crowned Clare champions Cratloe booked a place in the Munster Club decider against Dr Crokes of Kerry, when they saw off the challenge of Waterford title-holders Ballinacourty in a thrilling game at Cusack Park yesterday.

On Saturday Cratloe, with seven of Clare’s All-Ireland hurling winners in their starting line-up, created history by winning their first senior football crown when they defeated Doonbeg by 0-10 to 0-7.

The South East Clare men had to put the champagne on ice on Saturday in order to fulfil their representative duties yesterday. Their victory in an entertaining game completed a great weekend for the dual-club who won the Clare senior hurling title in 2009.

Tight opening
In a tight opening half, Ballinacourty put it up to the Clare champions and led by 0-6 to 0-5 at the break.

Cratloe probably should have been in front at this stage but Sean Collins spurned a goal chance midway through the half when he blazed over in front of goal following a good pass by Conor McGrath.

Patrick Hurney for Ballinacourty broke the deadlock of a first half in which the sides were level on five occasions, when he fired over a point to edge his side in front at the half-time whistle.

Within two minutes of the second period Cratloe were in for the game’s only goal by Conor McGrath. He first-timed to the net from a good Cathal McInerney hand pass and put his team 1-5 to 0-6 in front.

But the Waterford outfit hit back immediately with three points by Patrick Hurney (2) and Sean O’Hare, signifying the closeness of the contest.

McInerney levelled matters in the 39th and Podge Collins put Cratloe in front on 43 minutes. Another McInerney free put two between them before scores by Shane Briggs and Sean O'Hara of Ballinacourty had them level again.

Cratloe secured victory late on with points by Liam Markham and Conor McGrath, but the game ended of a sour note when McGrath and Ballinacourty's Richie Foley were shown straight red cards for an incident.

After the game Cratloe team-boss and newly appointed Clare manager Colm Collins, father of Sean and Podge, said: "They are an incredible bunch of players . . . They showed great fighting spirit. It was a tremendous display and I was never prouder of a team as this one, in my life. Over 48 hours we are in a Munster final – I'm over the moon."
CRATLOE: P De Loughery, S Chaplin, B Duggan, D Ryan, M Óg Murphy, M Hawes, E Boyce, F Lynch, C Duggan, C Ryan, P Collins (0-1), L Markham (0-2), C McInerney (0-4, 0-2 frees), S Collins (0-1), C McGrath (1-2). Subs: S Hynan for Boyce (40 mins), B Bugler for Murphy (inj, 53 mins).
BALLINACOURTY: S Enright, B Looby, S Briggs (0-1), D Collins, R Foley, S O'Hare (0-2), C Moloney, J Hurney (0-1), G Hurney, J O'Mahoney (0-1), M Fives, M Ferncombe (0-1), M O'Halloran (0-1), J O'Brien, P Hurney (0-4). Subs: S Donovan for O'Brien (half-time), J Power for O'Halloran (43 mins).
Referee: D O'Mahony (Tipperary).