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U-21 C'ship semi-final: Clonmore 0-13 Michael Davitts 0-11

November 8, 2018

Nationalist Report by Kieran Murphy

The Carlow under 21 selectors were out in force to cast their eyes over emerging talent in this B football championship semi-final in Ballon on Wednesday 28 August. Their efforts were not in vain and several players will surely be invited to attend county trials when the dust settles at the end of the season. It was a lively game as both sides went about clinching a place in the final.

Clonmore drew first blood in the first quarter. Dale McNamara converted two early frees and Kevin McCarney slotted over after his team mates worked the defence and ultimately, the ball into the scoring position.

Sean Dunne exploited a soft centre in the Clonmore rear guard to land a point. Having spotted that there was ground to be made using the route one tactic, Peter Shaw dropped back to a central position and his runs from deep stretched the Clonmore defence. John Townsend's point levelled the contest and Bobby Comerford's effort gave Davitts the lead. Going into the second quarter, Clonmore seemed to have that little bit more in reserve and in their best spell of the game, they stretched away to lead 0-9 to 0-4 at the interval. Conor McCarney scored three points, his brother, Kevin, added another while Gary Byrne almost found the net but his shot whizzed just over the crossbar.

After the break Davitts needed to make a bold statement but their response, when they could only score two points in a 10-minute spell, was more like a quiet word in Clonmore's ear than anything louder. John Townsend and Johnny Byrne led a low-key fight-back but as danger threatened a brace of points by Conor McCarney and a free by McNamara put distance between the sides again.

Davitt's cause was not helped by yet another injury to their speed merchant, Peter Shaw, but as he recovered at full-forward, he had a significant role to play in a rally which almost saved the day. He scored two while midfielders David Kehoe and Graham Amond landed points. Johnny Byrne converted a free to put the minimum between the sides. Clonmore held their composure and put the ball through the hands.

Just before full-time, sub Darren McGrath's point gave the eventual winners that dangerous-looking two point lead. Clonmore need not have worried. Davitts were unable to get into position to score that all-important three-pointer. Disappointment for them but a number of their players alongside a number of their Clonomore rivals will surely be on the short-list for county under 21 trials in the not-too-distant future.

Clonmore: Paddy Byrne, Jordan Kane, Andrew Byrne, Paul Hogan, David McCarney, Mark D Byrne, Adam Byrne, Wilie Byrne, Anthony Byrne, Conor McCarney (0-5), Kevin McCarney, (0-2), Enda McGrath, Gary Byrne (0-1), Dale McNamara (0-4, 4f) Mark A Byrne. Subs: Joe Hickey, Darren McGrath (0-1), Martin Doyle.

PHOTO: Conor McCarney was outstanding for the U-21s against Ml Davitts scoring 0-5 from play

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