Clarecastle and Whitegate, The most famous escape artists of the Clare Senior Hurling Relegation phase in recent times finally faced off to decide who would drop to the Intermediate ranks for 2023 and it would be the young Magpie netminder who produced the magic on this occasion.
In an end to end battle in Tulla, it was the East Clare Men who raced into an early lead with two points in as many minutes before the Magpies found their rhythm hitting the next five without reply with contributions from Bobby Duggan, Darragh Healy, James Doherty and a brace from wing back Stephen O’Halloran.
The Magpies attempted to capitalize on their early momentum and would be the first side to go for the jugular just ten minutes in forcing a stunning double save from Andrew Fahy as the battle of the goal keepers commenced.
Cian Broderick would then go on to keep Whitegate free taker Conor Whelan tasked with shooting practice throughout the remainder of the first half as he produced an array of fantastic saves affording the latter to duly convert any resulting sixty-five metre free.
The sides continued to trade scores and had little to separate them at the break with Clarecastle leading by 0-13 to 0-11.
On the restart Terrence Fahy’s men managed to find the elusive goal after an intricate pass from centre back Eoin Quirke found Paddy Burke on the edge of the square where he could make no mistake in rifling to the back of the Clarecastle net and when the unerring Conor Whelan pointed on forty-five minutes, the sides were deadlocked heading into the final quarter at 1-16 to 0-19.
The Magpies then rallied to produce a four point cushion by the fifty-fourth minute, leaving Whitegate in search of a green flag yet again, however when the golden chance arrived to Ronan Hayes just five minutes from the final whistle, Cian Broderick executed a full length diving save to his right to keep his challengers at bay.
Conor Whelan and Paul Burke would also find themselves presented with goal chances before the final whistle,unfortunately for the North East Clare outfit, Broderick would remain impassable as it finished in Dr.Daly Park, Clarecastle 0-28 to Whitegate’s 1-21
Clarecastle will remain in the top tier of Clare Hurling in 2023 while Whitegate return to the Intermediate ranks for the first time since 2013.