Tomas Glancy drives a shot at the Cluainin posts. Photo by Willie Donnellan
Both teams may have been shorn of a lot of star players but Carrick-on-Shannon underlined their dominance with a comprehensive win over Cluainin last Sunday.
With both Leitrim standard bearers contesting the Dermot Molloy Sligo Hurling League Shield Final, Carrick made the most of their strength in depth to repeat their championship victory over the north Leitrim men.
With both teams struggling to field a full complement of players, the game was reduced to 13-a-side but it did little to stem the Carrick tide once Paddy McGoldrick got their first goal after just six minutes.
Cluainin battled away but they were unable to match the physical power nor the stickwork of the champions who just had too much strength and made the most of the opportunities that came their way.
Any time Cluainin tried to fashion a goal chance, Carrick were able to clear, get a hook in and work the ball away. Nearly any time Carrick got a good chance, it ended up in the net as their pressure on the Manor last line of defence paid off.
Truth to tell, there is little you can really tell from this game other than Carrick’s strength in depth is significantly deeper than their Cluainin rivals.
The Manor men were missing county stars Gavin O'Hagan and Karl McDermott while the three Poniard brothers were a big miss as was James O'Brien but Carrick were without Clement Cunniffe, Conal Maguire, Colm and Enda Moreton while Liam Moreton was held back due to a hand injury so this game was nowhere near full strength.
It brings to an end an emotional and testing year for Carrick hurlers but one they ended very much the best in Leitrim.
Cluainin actually had the first two chances but shot costly wides before a great run from James Glancy saw him recover from a block from James Rooney before firing over. Six minutes later, Paddy McGoldrick availed of a defensive slip-up to drive the ball to the Manor net.
The hard working Gavin O’Brien would add a nice point two minutes later before Fintan McKiernan put over a free, all inside the first ten minutes.
Cluainin opened their account with a 70 yard Micheal Dolan free and he followed up with another a minute later but another brilliant James Glancy point after a surging run kept the pressure on.
Carrick keeper Colin Moran made a good save when Rossa O’Snodaigh broke clean through but a goal did come, unfortunately for Cluainin, at the other end when Fintan McKiernan fought well to force home a spilt ball from a Danny Byrne shot.
A minute later, the sliothar was resting in the Cluainin net once more when good work from O’Brien saw him cross the ball from the corner and Niall Flanagan did the rest, scoring from a very tight angle.
James Glancy and James Rooney swapped points, the Manor man actually seeing a powerful shot tipped over the bar by Colin Moran but Carrick weren’t long in responding, Niall Flanagan tapping home an easy goal after Fintan McKiernan did well to rob the keeper.
Micheal Dolan put over a third free but the half ended with James Glancy scoring again to leave Carrick 4-6 to 0-4 in front at the break, although Gavin O’Brien did miss what looked like a certain goal just before halftime.
Cluainin started the second half strongly with good points from Rooney and Clive Beattie but Carrick, now switching around their players, saw Tomas Glancy see a shot tipped over the post before he brilliantly flicked a high delivery to the Manor net on seven minutes.
Rooney added another point before Danny Byrne scored from distance while sub Daithi Hughes swapped scores with Dolan (free). Carrick, however, in control and they hit three on the trot from Byrne, Flanagan and O’Brien to extend their lead to 19 points.
Kevin Clerkin and Micheal Dolan (free) reduced that gap with good scores but just in a demonstration of Carrick’s strength, sub and Lory Meagher 15 Award winner Liam Moreton quickly batted over two points and Daithi Hughes added another to leave 20 points between the teams at the final whistle.
GAME AT A GLANCE
Main Man: Micheal Dolan & James Rooney fought a lonely battle for an overwhelmed Cluainin with most of the big performances in Carrick red. James Glancy was exceptional as was Cathal McCrann, Colin Moran, Conor Beirne & Vinny McDermott while Gavin O'Brien, Fintan McKiernan and Niall Flanagan were always dangerous upfront.
Talking Point: In a test of strength in depth, Carrick passed with flying colours as their strength in depth proved just too much for Cluainin to handle despite starting without players like Clement Cunniffe and the Moreton brothers.
Turning Point: Paddy McGoldrick's goal on six minutes put Carrick in control but two goals in the space of a minute from Fintan McKiernan and Niall Flanagan killed off this game completely.
Ref Watch: Gus Chapman had an uneventful game but in the one flare up, he dealt with it sensibly and fairly, speaking to both players rather than issuing cards.
Highlight: The very first point of the game was a superb effort on the run from James Glancy, overcoming a block and a tight angle to score a wonderful point on the run.
Lowlight: Both teams struggling to find players is disappointing while the paltry amount of spectators doesn't speak well of the support in the county for the game.
TEAMS & SCORERS
Scorers: Niall Flanagan 2-1; James Glancy 0-4; Fintan McKiernan (f) & Tomas Glancy 1-1 each; Paddy McGoldrick 1-0; Gavin O’Brien, Liam Moreton & Daithi Hughes 0-2 each. Danny Byrne 0-1
Team: Colin Moran, Conor Beirne, Steven O'Sullivan, Dessie Beirne, Cathal McCrann, Vinny McDermott, Tomas Glancy, James Glancy, Fintan McKiernan, Gavin O’Brien, Danny Byrne, Niall Flanagan, Paddy McGoldrick. Subs: Liam Moreton, Daithi Hughes & Hughie Glancy for McCrann, J. Glancy & Sullivan (HT), McCrann, J. Glancy & Sullivan for T. Glancy, McKiernan & Byrne (44)
Scorers: Michael Dolan 0-5, 5f; James Rooney 0-2; Kevin Clerkin & Clive Beattie 0-1 each
Team: Ethan Clancy, Patrick Clerkin, Andrew Loughlin, Cian Killelea, Patrick Clancy, Michael O’Brien, James Rooney, Kevin Clerkin, Michael Dolan, Michael McKeon, Martin Monaghan, Rossa O’Snodaigh, Clive Beattie. Sub: Michael Feely for Monaghan (8)
Referee: Gus Chapman (Sligo)