Clonguish won the Longford Senior Hurling Championship title for the first time since 2006 when they scored a well deserved win over Wolfe Tones in the county final at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Saturday evening last with corner-forward Karl Murray grabbing a crucial goal just before the break.
Brendan Burke, who started at full-back but was soon switched to the attack in a number of positional changes, played the perfect ball into Murray who made no mistake in finding the back of the net from point-blank range and the Mostrim outfit were always fighting a real uphill battle thereafter.
Impressive Clonguish forward Joe O’Brien inflicted most of the damage in the first half in firing over a total of six points and four of those scores were excellent efforts from play as the man-of-the-match made a major impact in the hurling final that was watched by an attendance in the region of 200.
Wolfe Tones were depending heavily on Eoin Donnellan to remain in contention and the former Longford Slashers hurler accounted for all of Edgeworthstown five points in the first half. After landing the opening score of the game when on target from play in the 4th minute, Donnellan proceeded to convert three frees and landed a well struck ‘65’ in first half stoppage time.
But the considerably younger Clonguish side were generally in control and were full value for their fairly comfortable 1-7 to 0-5 lead at half-time with former county footballer Paddy Dowd also getting his name on the scoresheet for the men in green.
Dowd worked hard to create the room for himself to land a fine point while Wolfe Tones had a goal chance when a shot from Mark Cassidy was cleared off the line by Clonguish defender John O’Brien in the 30th minute.
Although Mostrim made the better start to the second half their cause was certainly not helped when Eoin Donnellan failed to convert three frees in quick succession and Clonguish gradually extended their advantage through a brace of frees that were fired over by the consistently accurate Joe O’Brien in the 43rd and 45th minutes respectively.
Wolfe Tones were now in deep trouble and while they managed to close the gap with a point apiece from Donnellan (free) and Benny Stakem (a very good score), back came Clonguish with a fine strike from Karl Murray who shot over the bar in the 53rd minute.
But Mostrim were thrown a lifeline with a badly needed goal in the 55th minute. The alert Jimmy Connell got the vital touch to finish the ball to the net after a free from Eoin Donnellan was blocked down and that put the pressure on Clonguish who were now in danger of letting the title slip from their grasp.
Wolfe Tones were awarded another free in the 58th minute, with Donnellan electing to shoot over the bar to leave just two points separating the sides, but Clonguish did not panic with Joe O’Brien clearing the danger in dropping back to help out his defence with time almost up to consolidate their grip on the JJ Duignan Cup.
CLONGUISH GAELS: John Minnock; Stephen Connolly, Brendan Burke, Rory Breslin; Paul Barden (Junior), John O’Brien, Gerard Moore; Anthony Watters, Paddy Corcoran; Paddy Dowd (0-1), Thomas Prunty, Ciaran Finnucane; Ciaran Corcoran, Joe O’Brien (0-8, four frees), Karl Murray (1-1).
Sub:- Raymond O’Brien for C Corcoran (58 mins).
WOLFE TONES: John Nolan; Sean McNally, Thomas Stakem, Sean Browne; John Cullen, Benny Stakem (0-1), John Gaffney; Martin Coyle, John Lynam; Eoin Donnellan (0-7, five frees, one ‘65’), Jack Lynn, Luke Kelly; Paddy Cullen, Mark Cassidy, Jimmy Connell (1-0).
Subs:- Keelan Cox for L Kelly (20 mins); Joe Dempsey for J Gaffney (39 mins).
Referee: Derek Heffernan (Westmeath).
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