Munster Club Senior Football Championship The Nire 1-13 Cratloe 2-8 After extra-time Cratloe's hopes of a Munster senior club championship double were dashed in extra-time at Fraher Field by The Nire.
Before a 2069-strong attendance, the Waterford champions advanced to their second provincial decider after 80 absorbing minutes, during which the sides were never separated by more than a goal.
Cathal McInerney and Shane Walsh exchanged points in the second and sixth minutes respectively, a feat replicated by Podge Collins and Jamie Barron before the 10th minute had elapsed.
But Cratloe took a crucial early advantage after the lively McInerney fisted a Podge Collins pass into the net following a poor kick-out by Nire goalkeeper Tom Wall.
Yet The Nire didn't hit the panic button, with captain Shane Ryan stroking a fine 13th-minute point following excellent support from Maurice O'Gorman.
Things got even better in the 17th minute when
coolly slotted the ball into the Cratloe net having latched on to an inch-perfect Barron pass. But back came Cratloe with another goal from the very next attack, as Podge Collins and Conor McGrath combined to send
through to finish the ball beyond Tom Wall.
Again, The Nire responded superbly through Gleeson and Barron, who each pointed within a minute of each other to level matters up eight minutes from the break.
Cathal McInerney struck a fine 27th minute free from 40 metres to edge Cratloe ahead, but a deep run by centre-back Brian Wall, latching onto a Barron pass, drew The Nire level in the 29th minute. And while parity had been restored, the Waterford side lost influential half-forward Michael O'Gorman to a black card during injury-time.
The Nire began the second half much the brighter, and were two points clear with five minutes thanks to a brace of Shane Ryan frees.
For the next 10 to 15 minutes, the hosts had much the better of proceedings, but didn’t make that count on the scoreboard, as Cratloe found a second wind.
McInerney converted another free on the three-quarter mark and the lively Podge Collins brought them level in the 48th minute, and suddenly it was The Nire’s legs that looked decidedly more leaded.
McInerney struck a further brace of points to send the Clare men two points clear with seven minutes remaining, but The Nire dug deep, with the Shane Walsh rifling a shot just over the crossbar in the 57th minute.
Just before the end of normal time, Barron’s pass picked out Gleeson, who sent the fixture into extra-time with a 30-metre strike.
Both sides remained level at the extra-time break after points from Cathal McInerney and Shane Walsh, but The Nire were to finish the stronger, as Walsh and Wall kicked what proved the winning scores in the second period. THE NIRE: T Wall; J Walsh, T O'Gorman, M Moore; D Wall, B Wall (0-2), S Lawlor; C Guiry, S Walsh (0-3); Michael O'Gorman, Maurice O'Gorman, J Barron (0-3); C Gleeson (1-2), L Lawlor, S Ryan (0-3; 0-2 frees). Subs: K Guiry for Michael O'Gorman (black card, half-time), J Guiry for J Walsh (53 mins), D Ryan for Moore (56 mins), A Lawlor for K Guiry (Black card, 77 mins). CRATLOE: P de Loughrey; S Chaplin, B Duggan, S O'Leary; D Ryan, M Hawes, E Boyce; J Galvin, F Lynch; C Ryan (1-0), S Collins, L Markham; C McInerney (1-6; 0-2 frees), C McGrath, P Collins (0-2). Subs: D Collins for Boyce (Black Card, 32 mins). Referee: Derek O'Mahoney (Cork).