CLONEEN opened their Northern junior B championship campaign with a deserved six-point victory over St Patrick’s (Ballyragget) at Canon Kearns Park.
From the outset the Clogh/Moneenroe side made the running. Centre-forward Ronan Walsh pointed after 90 seconds and they were subsequently never headed.
By the tenth minute they had raced into 0-5 to 0-1 lead. Four of those points coming from their veteran corner-forward Don Lawlor, who was causing all sorts of problems for the Ballyragget defence.
Cloneen continued to force the pace against a strangely lethargic St Patrick’s. Ronan Walsh fired over a good point in the 12th minute, a score which was followed by a Cloneen goal from their bustling full-forward Sean O’Neill to leave them 1-6 to 0-1 ahead at the end of the first quarter.
The scoring then dried up as both sides only managed a point apiece in the second quarter of the game. In the 18th minute Kevin Delaney set Don Lawlor up for a crack at goal but his effort was just off-target. Jody Phelan and Sean O’Neill exchanged points in the 26th and 28th minutes to leave Cloneen well clear at the break (1-7 to 0-2).
Despite a number of positional switches the expected St Patrick’s revival never materialised in the second half. Paul Kelly showed his football prowess in the opening minute of the new half, kicking a point in spite of some close marking from the Ballyragget defence.
By the end of the third quarter Cloneen were nine points ahead 1-10 to 0-4 and looked good for their lead. They continued to keep a tight grip on the game in the closing quarter and were still holding that nine point advantage when Alan Ruth found the Cloneen net following a Sean Mooney free in injury-time.
This was a good result for a Cloneen side with plenty of youth in their ranks. They had good performances from Eamon Mooney, Mark McGuire and Paul Kelly in a sound defence. Dean Shortall had a fine game at midfield while up front the evergreen Don Lawlor, Sean O’Neill, Ronan Walsh and Kevin Delaney were to the fore.
For a disappointing St Patrick’s goalkeeper Paddy McEvoy could not be faulted while Gerry Kennedy, Jody Phelan, Conor Bolger Sean Mooney and Alan Ruth tried hard.
Cloneen - Sean Geoghegan, Gearoid Campion, Eamon Mooney, Mark McGrath, Colm Egan, Kevin Phillips, Paul Kelly (0-1), Fergal Brennan, Dean Shortall, Kevin Delaney, Ronan Walsh (0-2), Breanaoin Buggy, Anthony O’Neill, Sean O’Neill (1-4), Donal Lawlor (0-5, 0-2 frees, 0-1 65). Subs: Paul Donnelly (0-1) for K. Brennan (inj), M.J. Feehan for A. O’Neill.
St Patrick’s - Paddy McEvoy, Dermot Brophy, John Mooney, J.J. O’Sullivan, James Morrissey, Gerry Kennedy, Alan Ruth (1-0), Conor Bolger, Sean Mooney (0-4, 0-3 frees), Brendan Brophy, Jody Phelan (0-3), John Holland, Enda Mooney, Conor Foley, Donal Brennan.
Referee – Ollie O’Neill (Barrow Rangers)