St Clarets and Tara will have to do it all over again this weekend, as they repeat a hard-fought battle in a preliminary championship tie this Sunday.
St Clarets continued their impressive cup form from last year as they looked strongest booking their place in the McCardle Cup final, having won it last season. A red card for Mark Brady did not help Taras cause, but the Clarets had looked comfortable up until then and held on against the 14 man team to earn the win.
Clarets looked a bit rusty at the start, missing three scoreable opportunities from the off as Conor Byrne pounced on his chance to score from a free.
Eamonn Hughes opened up the scoring for the Clarets from the right wing before McCurtains would get another as Byrne again set up Paul McCardle to double their lead.
Patrick Lynott took the game into his own hands as he got a tremendous point from a tight angle from right of the goal-line to equalise yet again.
Clarets went ahead for the first time as Sean Killeen fisted over the bar, and the Tara forwards started to voice their frustration at the lack of ball they were receiving due to the territory Clarets were forcing in the final third.
Liam Brady forced the issue as he lined up a onetwo play with Colin Kenna but the pass back to him in the square, as he made a superb run at goal, went wayward and left them ruing the missed opportunity.
Ambrose Straffon’s next free was deflected out of play before McCardle scored the resultant ’45, before Conor Byrne got the next free.
John O’Connor then powered past his markers on the right wing and held on to possession to score the next point, before his teammate Paddy Donaghy’s accurate pass to O’Connor set up Lynott while running for their next score.
They would stretch their lead to two points when Hughes set up O’Connell for his opening score, before Killeen’s next effort went wide.
Tara opened the scoring after the second half through Byrne in play, but his side would go a further three points down after one of Clarets’ forwards was bodychecked in the square and Hughes made no hesitation in translating the penalty into a goal on the scoreboard. He followed it up with almost an immediate point from the restart before setting up O’Connor to assist Shane Buckley for the next score.
St Clarets went short with their next free and the ball found Lynott to make it 1-9 for his side.
Two scuffles in different areas of the pitch saw Mark Brady get his marching orders and Lawrence Weir made use of the increased space his side availed of with the extra man when he played a superb long ball into Lynott for his fourth point. Tara would respond with a pointed free, before Shane Buckley and a free from Conor Byrne finalised the scoring. The McCardle Cup final fixture is yet to be announced, with preliminary championship matches going ahead this weekend.
ST CLARETS: Keith O’Neill, Lawrence Weir, Matthew Healy, Patrick Donegan, Ronan Gaughan, Aidan Donaghy, Eamon Colleran, Paddy Donaghy, Sean Killeen(0-2), Patrick Lynott (0-4), John O’Connor, Shane Buckley (0- 2), Eamonn Hughes (1-2, 1 pen), Ryan O’Connel (0-1), Alfie McNulty
TARA: Ronan Collins, Michael McMahon, Mark Beirne, Paddy McKenna, Aidan Ward, Dean McDermott, Alan Nagle,Keiran Harte, Mark Brady, Colin Kenna, Paul McArdle (0-2, 1 ‘45), Liam Brady, Dean Hoare, Conor Byrne (0-4, 3f), Ambrose Straffon