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Ronan's goal decisive as Kilmaley take title
By Seamus Hayes 
Kilmaley 1-5 Meelick 0-7

Martin Ronan has scored some important goals for Kilmaley in this season's junior A hurling championship and none more so than his strike in Sunday's final replay with Meelick at Cusack Park. 
Playing at right corner forward, Ronan caused quite an amount of problems for the Meelick defence which was altered shortly before half time in an effort to curb him. 
The teams were locked together at 0-3 each and, after ten scoreless minutes it looked as if this would he the situation at the interval. Ronan had other ideas and, four minutes from referee- Tom Stackpoole's signal for the break, he made the breakthrough to score what would be the game's only goal. 
It was a win Kilmaley just about deserved but they had to survive quite a number- of anxious moments before they could celebrate. 
Three weeks ago, they had let an eight point lead slip as they failed to score in the final twenty minutes. While they didn't manage as big a lead at any time in the replay. they failed to score in the final eighteen minutes during which time their supporters and mentors (Pat Keane (manager) Martin Meehan (coach) Gerry Kennedy and John Carmody) experienced many anxious moments 
Both sides made two changes in personnel from the drawn match while they each had number of positional changes. In Kilmaley's case, the positional changes were a big success, in particular, the decision to play Michael Murphy at wing back where he turned in all excellent performance. 
Kilmaley were without Ciaran O'Loughlin and Noel Clancy, both of whom picked up injuries in the drawn game. O'Loughlin is still out of action but Clancy was able to play the final quarter. Meelick were without Michael O'Grady and Patrick Finnucane with the latter called into action just before half time. 
Scores were much harder to come by on this occasion as the final tally confirms Meelick went in front after two minutes when Syl Dolan pointed and Kilmaley had to wait a further five minutes to equalise through Martin Ronan. 
The winners went in front for the first time in the tenth minute when Conor Sexton pointed from a '65 but he missed a number of good chances from placed balls alter this. Two pointed frees by Barry Dolan had Meelick back in front as the game went into the second quarter but Dick Pyne who made a number of good catches for the winners around the midfield area, restored parity soon afterwards with a good effort. 
Kilmaley had the better of matters at this stage but while they did most of the attacking, they missed quite a number of opportunities. Four minutes from the break they made the breakthrough when Martin Ronan found the net after Meelick goalie James Duffy had saved well from Pat Healy. This left the .score at 1-3 to 0-3 at half time. 
Meclick thought they had levelled again when a Declan Sherlock shot from midfield ended up in the net but the match official ordered a free out penalising Syl Dolan for a foul on goalkeeper Joe Hayes. 
In an effort to curb Ronan, Meelick now switched John Callinan from right to left corner back and they introduced Patrick Finnucane in place of Anthony O'Grady. Ronan continued to be a danger and, two minutes into the second half, it took a great save from James Duffy to deny the Kilmaley forward a second goal. 
After Conor Sexton scored form a 20m free to put Kilmaley four pints clear, Meelick were dealt a huge blow ten minutes into the second period. They were reduced to fourteen players when referee Tom Stackpoole dismissed John Callinan after his attention was called, by an umpire, to an incident in the Meelick goalmouth, which left Pat Healy needing attention. 
Soon after play resumed, Ger Commane stretched Kilmaley's lead further with a superb point from a free, all of 95m out. Little did Kilmaley realise it then, but this was to be their final score. 
Barry Dolan pulled one back for Meelick when he scored from a free as the third quarter drew to a close and then, as the South East Clare side threw caution to the wind Alan Markham notched the best score of the game when he burst out of defence to score a magnificent point. 
Meelick made a number of changes and they piled on the pressure. Kilmaley goalie Joe Hayes did well to deprive Cathal Sherlock with seven minutes remaining before Syl Dolan pointed to leave two between the sides with five minutes remaining. 
The losers now had Alan Markham in attack and when he, unmarked, won possession in front of goal, Kilmaley hearts fluttered. Meelick thought they had won a penalty when Kilmaley goalkeeper Hayes challenged their star player but play continued and Markham's piledriver was turned away for a '65 by John Neylon. 
There was just one other score in the game and this came two minutes into injury time when substitute Stephen Quinn pointed for the losers. The final whistle sounded seconds later and Kilmaley were able to celebrate the return of this title to the parish for the first time since 1963 when they also beat Meelick. 
The winner's defence played well through and it was in the performance of Brendan. 
Talty, Stephen Clancy, Donie Neylon, Gerry Commane, Ciaran and Micheal Murphy that the foundation for this win was laid. Elsewhere, John Neylon, Dick Pyne and Martin Ronan all did well. 
Alan Markham was again Meelick's star player and he got most support from James Duffy and Kevin O'Brien, Declan and Cathal Sherlock and Syl Dolan had their moments but, in general, Kilmaley held the upperhand in defence and at midfield. 
*** After the game Clare G.A.A. chairman, Fr. Michael McNamara, presented the trophy to Micheal Murphy and Cathal O'Loughlin. O'Loughlin was the Kilmaley captain this season but a back injury ruled him out of the side when this championship got underway and Michael Murphy took over as captain. 

Scorer - Kilmaley -Martin Ronan (1-1) Conor Sexton (0-2), frees; Gerry Commane (free) and; Gerry Commane (free) and Dick Pyne (0-1 ) each. 
Meelick - Barry Dolan (0-3), frees Syl Dolan (0-2) Alan Markham, Stephen Quinn (0-1) each. 

Kilmaley - Joe Hayes; Brendan Talty, Stephen Clancy, Donie Neylon; Gerry Commane, Ciaran Murphy, Micheal Murphy; Flan Neylon, John Neylon; Dick Pyne. Michael Murphy, Conor Sexton: Martin Ronan, Pat Healy, John Paul Healy; 
Subs---Noel Clancy for Pat Healy; Jimmy Neylon for Flan Neylon; 

Meelick - James Duffy; John Callinan, Kevin O'Brien, Anthony O'Grady; Richard O'Grady, Alan Markham, Jim White; Declan Sherlock, Pat Gibbons; Barry Dolan, Cathal Sherlock, Sean Cregan; Michael Sherlock, Syl Dolan, Conor Dolan; 
Subs--Patrick Finnucane for Anthony O'Grady; Stephen Quinn for Cregan; Brian Ringrose for Ml. Sherlock. 

Referee - Tom Stackpoole, Ennistymon.


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