Having topped the group stages of the league, Clonad sealed the ACHL Division 2 title last Friday night with a six point win over Trumera in Portlaoise.
It took a strong final 15 minutes for them to seal the win too, after what had been a very close and tense game up to then. There was never more than one point between the teams in the first half, and they were level on seven different occasions, but it was Clonad’s ability to move into a higher gear late on which sealed them the win.
For Trumera, it was disappointing to slip out of the game late on, but they will have to work on that for the championship ahead. Only scoring six points from play was a disappointing return to, when compared to Clonad, who had 15 of their 18 points come from open play.
Clonad won’t have too much time to savour the victory either, as they will be in championship action this coming weekend against Camross, while Trumera will be looking to bounce back when they take on Park-Ratheniska.
This game took it’s time to get going, with the first score not arriving until the fifth minute. Clonad corner-forward Ray Killeen won a free 30 yards out, and captain Ross Gill provided the finishing touch from the placed ball to open the scoring.
A little over a minute later, Niall Sinnott floated over a free for Trumera to get them back level, and that would be the pattern for the rest of the half. Kevin Bergin put Clonad back in front with a fine point from the left wing, but Joey Coogan was on hand four minutes later to restore parity from 20 yards.
Clonad again took the lead, through Seoirse Conroy this time, but Sinnott again pointed a free for Trumera, before Kevin Bergin and Sinnott (from play this time) again traded scores to leave the teams tied at 0-4 apiece after 18 minutes.
Neither side could really stamp their authority on the game, as Clonad took the lead seven times only to see Trumera hit back every time, while Trumera just couldn’t get their noses in front.
Both teams manged three more points apiece, although Clonad very nearly found the back of the net. A scramble in the goalmouth saw Ross Gill get a strike away, but just when it seemed destined to cross the line, Trumera corner-back Wayne Fox dived in to clear it at the last second.
The teams were tied at 0-7 apiece at half time, and Trumera took the lead for the first time at the start of the second half when Niall Sinnott pointed a free from 21 yards out. Sinnott was inspired form early in the half, and he added another a minute later when he scored a lovely point off his left from 45 yards out.
Clonad finally came to life after four minutes when Ross Gill fired over a fine point from 35 yards out, but Cathal Brophy quickly restored Trumera’s two-point lead when he held off a couple of defenders to point from the right wing.
It would be five mintues before another score was registered, with Ross Gill pointing a free and then Martin Norton added his first of the game to level the scores at 0-10 each.
Another point apiece kept the sides level with 15 minutes to go, but from that point on Clonad outscored Trumera by 0-7 to 0-1.
That run started with a Seorise Conroy point, with Martin Norton adding another from 45 yards out and Kevin Bergin tapping over his fourth of the day to put them three ahead.
Trumera’s last score came from a Niall Sinnott free with nine minutes to go, during which time Clonad added four more. All four came from different players too, which was impressive, as they had too much in the tank for Trumera in the closing stages to run out four point winners.
It’s on to the championship now, where Clonad will now be on the hunt for a double.
SCORERS - Clonad: Ross Gill (0-3 frees), Kevin Bergin 0-5 each, Seoirse Conroy 0-4, Martin Norton 0-3, Eoin Ging 0-1; Trumera: Niall Sinnott 0-8 (0-6 frees), Cathal Brophy, Joey Coogan 0-2 each
CLONAD: James Farrell; Joe McEvoy, Sean Egan, Denis Sheeran; Paddy Norton, Paul Ging, Peter Ging; Sean Kerr, Brian Murphy; Kevin Bergin, Ross Gill, Seoirse Conroy; Ray Killeen, Eoin Ging, Martin Norton. Subs: Gary Hogan for McEvoy (half-time), John Killeen for Ray Killeen (42 mins)
TRUMERA: Ronan Kavanagh; Wayne Fox, John O’Connor, Ned O’Connor; Donnacha Dowling, Paul McSpadden, Conor Mason; Damien Lalor, James Kirwan; Cathal Brophy, Paddy Callaghan, Seamus Holland; Colm Seale, Joey Coogan, Niall Sinnott. Subs: Paddy Coogan for Seale (43 mins)
Referee: Anthony Costigan (Rathdowney-Errill)