DEFENDING champions Coora- clare had a perfect start to 2010 with an impressive victory on Saturday afternoon.
It was cold and bitter, but some of Cooraclare’s football was very hot as a first-half blitz in which they built up a 1-7 to 0-3 lead was the founda- tion for this winning start.
When they extended their advan- tage to 2-11 to 0-3 midway through the second-half, Kilkee’s race was run, even if they finally roused them- selves in the last quarter to give the electronic scoreboard some sem- blance of respectability from their point of view.
Remarkably, given what would unfold it was Kilkee who opened the scoring after less than a minute through countyman Gearoid Lynch, but essentially that was as good as it got for the Blues, even though after 15 minutes the match stood at 0-3 apiece after some fine scores on el- ther side.
But the second quarter belonged to Cooraclare as they tacked on 1-4 to wrestle control of proceedings. First there was a hat-trick of points from John Looney (2) and Cathal Lillis on the mark — then came the crucial goal in the 25th minute.
The anger and frustration of all Kilkee commenced when they felt Gearoid Lynch was clearly pushed in
the back as he was ready to unleash a goal bound effort from inside the Cooraclare square.
However, the referee waved play on as the ball petered out for a goal kick. From the resulting kick out Cooraclare worked their goal, the final flick coming from full-forward Michael Kelly that was parried away by Kevin Harte, only for one of the umpires to rule that the ball had crossed the line.
There were howls of protest from the shed and on the field, but the goal stood as Cooraclare led by seven points at the break.
Kilkee needed a fast start to the
second-half to have any chance but it was Cooraclare who took up where they left off, adding 1-5 in the first 15 minutes, with the second goal from Michael McMahon.
It must be said that Kilkee were their own worst enemies — they were concentrating more on the referee than on trying to drag themselves back into the contest.
It was only when their attitude changed that their fortunes took an upward turn.
They found their purple patch and suddenly a miraculous comeback was on the cards. Two goals in quick succession by Dennis Russell and the
excellent Kevin Larkin illustrated that there was still hope.
Larkin full of confidence then fol- lowed up with two wonderful long range points only partly neutralised by Looney’s sixth free of the hour. Full-back Brendan Smith burst for- ward from defence to make it a six point game with six minutes remain- ing.
It was as close as they got, how- Vole