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Munster Senior Football Quarter Final 2018

posted 23 May 2018, 14:58 by John O'Sullivan

CLARE…………..1-23   LIMERICK…………..0-14

By Michael O Connor.

Clare, touted by all to ease into the semi finals of the Munster title race had in previous years struggled past Limerick in Ennis or Pairc na nGael.  A disappointing attendance greeted the two teams onto the pitch as the game at the feeling of a National League game played in summer conditions.

Clare made a positive start despite an early wide from Jamie Malone and led (0-4) to (0-1) after Eoin Cleary opened the scoring in the first minute. Keelan Sexton and Pearse Lillis added further scores with Sean McSweeney responding for Limerick from a 7th minute placed ball. Positions meant little on the field as at times Limerick had just Patrick Begley on his own in the Clare half of the field. 11 minutes elapsed before the home side struck their first wide from their second meaningful attack. The blanket defence provided by Limerick did little for the game but really it was always Clare who looked more comfortable and pacy when on the attack without ever really threatening Donal O Sullivan.

A surging run through the centre by Jamie Malone who had been a constant thorn in the Limerick side ended with his effort flying over the bar after 14 minutes of low key action dominated in the main by the visitors. Eoin Cleary added the sixth Clare score as the omens appeared dark for Billy Lee’s men. The mood worsened for the shannonsiders as Kieran Malone at the second attempt got the ball past Donal O Sullivan in the Limerick goal. Limerick responded with a Jamie Lee point as his side were (1-6) to (0-2) in arrears entering the 20th minute of the opening half.

Danny Neville and Eoin Cleary exchanged scores by the 25th minute as the tempo of the game decreased markedly. Just as it appeared that the white flag would be raised by the home side they came thundering into the game with four points in as many minutes to half the Clare lead. Sean McSweeny, Jamie Lee, Danny Neville and Paul White were the scorers before Kieran Malone settled the nerves with a much needed Clare score. Eamonn Tubridy was the hero of the first half as he engineered a point blank save to deny Jamie Lee a certain goal in the 30th minute. From this let off Clare still did not look comfortable but fortunately Limerick did not look like scoring anything after their five minute burst. David Tubridy stretched Clare five clear in the 33rd minute from play and at the interval Colm Collin’s men led (1-9) to (0-7) and maybe a little fortunate despite dominating 20 minutes of the first half.

Limerick struck for two scores early in the new half courtesy of Jamie Lee and Sean McSweeney to cut the Clare lead to a goal in the 40th minute. This was as good as it got for the home side who simply ceased to compete from then on as Limerick were outscored (0-14) to (0-5) for the last 25 minutes.

Kieran Malone and Eimhin Courtney and a great effort by Cathal O Connor brought Clare back into the ascendancy and from this moment Clare never looked like leaking any further salvo of scores that would cause undue concern. Eoin Cleary hit a brace in two minutes and by the 55th minute Limerick were eight down and depending  on Donal O Sullivan to deny the inrushing Jamie Malone a second Clare goal. Limerick rallied with a score before David Tubridy was on target as Gearoid O Brien replaced Keelan Sexton. O Brien was soon on the scoresheet as Limerick began to empty the bench with Kieran Malone reaching a personal tally of (1-3) entering the final ten minutes. Conal O hAinifein made his debut a scoring one to boot in the 64th minute. Josh Ryan struck his third score as he led a one man Limerick attack that was totally ineffective for the game bar the five minute first half effort.  Eimhin Courtney as well as Gavin Cooney and Martin O Leary who were also introduced hit over minors as Clare led double scores entering five minutes of injury time in front of an attendance of 2,304. Conor Finucane from Lissycasey also introduced hit over two points in the third minute of injury time as spectators bemoaned the huge injury time that was allocated due the large volume of replacements. The winners move onto a meeting with Kerry in two weekends time whilst a Limerick side with many issues off the park face into the qualifiers. Clare were served well by Cillian Brennan, Eoghan Collins, Pearse Lillis, top scorer Kieran Malone, Eoin Cleary, Eimhin Courtney, David Tubridy. Youth had its day as well with five of the six replacements getting on the scoresheet with 13 Clare scorers in total on target.

CLARE: Eamon Tubridy; Gordon Kelly, Cillian Brennan, Eoghan Collins; Cian O'Dea, Aaron Fitzgerald, Pearse Lillis (0-01); Gary Brennan, Cathal O'Connor (0-01); Kieran Malone (1-03), Eoin Cleary (0-05), Jamie Malone (0-01); Eimhin Courtney (0-02), Keelan Sexton (0-01), David Tubridy (0-03, 0-01f)

SUBS: Conal Ó hAiniféin (0-01) for Kelly (41), Gearoid O'Brien (0-01) for Sexton (57), Gavin Cooney (0-01) for Tubridy (63), Conor Finucane (0-02) for K. Malone (65), Martin O'Leary (0-01) for Courtney (67), Einne O'Connor for Collins (69)

LIMERICK: Donal O’Sullivan; Paul Maher, Sean O’Dea, David Connolly; Paul White (0-01), Cillian Fahy, Gordon Browne; Darragh Treacy, Michael Fitzgibbon; Danny Neville (0-02), Sean McSweeney (0-05, 0-05f), Gareth Noonan; Jamie Lee (0-03, 0-01f), Patrick Begley; Peter Nash

SUBS: Iain Corbett for Nash (45, Black Card), Josh Ryan (0-03, 0-02f) for Begley (49), Killian Ryan for Lee (53), Daniel Daly for Browne (61), Davy Lyons for Fitzgibbon (61), Padraig Scanlon for Neville (63)

Referee: Noel Mooney (Cavan).

Allianz Football League Rd 1 2018

posted 30 Jan 2018, 06:00 by John O'Sullivan

CLARE.................2-9                 CAVAN............... 1-12

By Michael O Connor.

Mixed emotions as both sides left Cusack Park with the game won, lost and won again before settling for a share of the spoils that leaves Clare wondering will it prove costly come league end in two months time.

Cavan finished second from bottom in the top tier last season and after relegation they looked likely to lose when Keelan Sexton put the Banner in front in the 71st minute but hero of the day Bryan Magee rescued an unlikely point for the Breffni men watched before an attendance of 1400 people on Saturday afternoon.

16 years ago was the last occasion when the two counties met in league action. Success was a 1-12 to 0-07 win for Cavan at Miltown Malbay in 2002. Clare had a strong breeze at their backs in the first-half and looked to build up a big lead by half-time, but disaster struck inside the opening minute. Conor Madden came into the Cavan starting 15 instead of Adrian Cole late on, and he provided the pass to McVeety who in turn put O’Reilly through before he finished to the roof of Killian Roche’s net with less than a minute played. Conor Finucane, Eoin Cleary and Keelan Sexton all from play hit back within five minutes to level matters before Bryan Magee restored a temporary Cavan lead.

Eimhim Courtney hit back after Ray Galligan in the Cavan goal was dispossed by Sexton and Clare held a 1-07 to 1-02 half-time lead thanks to further scores from Cleary (2), Gearoid O Brien and Conor Finucane with a solitary Cathal O Reilly the Cavan response. There were up to 16 debutants in action between both sides showing the faith that both managers had in their respective panels. Clare had 10 players under 24 within their ranks with none over 30 starting the game.

Former All Star nominee Cian Mackey was introduced by the  Cavan management on the resumption and he kicked two invaluable points, but Brennan, Gearoid O’Brien and Cathal O’Connor scored for Clare to give them a 1-10 to 1-04 advantage by the 44th minute. At this juncture with over 66% of the game enacted it looked like a Clare win stamped all over the final result as they were in apparent control of proceedings and look confident within themselves. Ten minutes action or inaction if one was to explain it clearly with no score for either side. Interestingly, though from a Clare perspective they were beginning to lose impetus and Cavan were attacking more regularly albeit without scoring but that changed with stunning speed in the final quarter. Cavan scored 1-2 in a minute. Mackey was involved in the goal again when his shot was saved by Roche and McVeety fisted to the net after the Clare rearguard were dispossessed with ease. It was a hammer blow for Clare who failed to settle from the kick out.

Ciaran Brady and Cole added further points before Brennan received a black card for an off-the-ball incident in the 58th minute. This stunned Clare who had gone from six clear to just the minimum in  less than three minutes. Cavan bouyed now by the confidence of taking control of the game had the breeze, a now vocal support and all of the momentum behind them and points from McVeety and Oisin Kiernan gave the Breffni men a 2-08 to 1-10 lead entering injury-time. Both sides had brought on subs in the final twenty minutes but it appeared Cavan had the stronger bench. Clare were now hanging on for dear lives hoping for some solace after 50 minutes of well drilled controlled play. Eoin Cleary who was making a return to the Clare colours after an injury enforced lay off levelled things up before Kilmurry attacker Killian Sexton gave Clare hope of all both league points but Magee was having nothing of this. He struck for a 72nd minute equaliser sending Clare to Navan next week looking for a stronger last quarter finish and a result. 

CLARE: Killian Roche; Cian O'Dea, Cillian Brennan, Gordon Kelly; Jamie Malone, Ciaran Russell, Pearse Lillis; Gary Brennan (0-1), Cathal O'Connor (0-1); Alan Sweeney, Eoin Cleary (0-4), Gearoid O'Brien (0-2), Conor Finnucane (0-2), Keelan Sexton (0-2), Eimhin Courtney (1-0).

SUBS: Darragh Bohannon for Brennan  (black card), Kieran Malone for Sweeney, Sean O’Donoghue for Courtney.

CAVAN: Raymond Galligan; Donal Monahan, Padraig Faulkner, David Phillips, Darragh Kennedy, Ciaran Brady (0-1), Oisin Kiernan (0-1); Killian Clarke, Jack Wharton, Enda Flanagan, Dara McVeety (1-1), David Brady; Caoimhin O'Reilly (1-01), Conor Madden, Bryan Magee (0-02).

SUBS: Conor Moynagh for Wharton, Niall McKiernan for Madden, Cian Mackey (0-2) for Kennedy, Adrian Cole (0-1) for D Brady, Ryan Connolly for O’Reilly, Conor Brady for McKiernan.

Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow).

County Senior Football Final

posted 30 Oct 2017, 15:00 by John O'Sullivan

KILMURRY IBRICKANE..............1-14     CLONDEGAD.......................0-14

By Michael O Connor.

Title number 15 for Kilmurry Ibrickane  as Clondegad's maiden county final appearance ends in heartbreak knowing the chances were there but overworking the ball in scoring positions and one lapse in concentration allowing the only goal of the game to go against them and decide the 2017-18 home for the Jack Daly cup.

The injury time drama that saw Eire-og snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and granted the minnors from Naomh Eoin a Junior county crown were hoped by many to be a trial run for the senior decider in Cusack Park.

Clondegad had impressed greatly in the final twenty minutes against Miltown Malbay as Kilmurry Ibrickane edged past a lifeless Cratloe side that were selfish in forward play. Clondegad hit hard early on with James Murphy entering the ref's notepad in the 2nd minute. Indeed in the opening five minutes a number of high tackles were witnessed on both sides before Keelan Sexton opening the scoring from a free in the 3rd minute.

Tony Kelly was involved in two meandering runs that ended in a group  of  Kilmurry defenders as the estuary side looked toothless in attack against an apparently well drilled defence in the opening ten minutes. On a number of occasion the Kilmurry Ibrickane defenders were out first to the ball leaving Clondegad on the backfoot. Dermot Couglan and Darragh Sexton added scores to send the reigning champions three clear before Tony  Kelly got Clondegad on the scoresheet after 12 minutes. Gearoid O Connell rounded off a three man move with a glorious rightfooted 14th minute score. Stephen Moloney responded in like fashion by the 18th minute. The first real goal danger for any side was witnessed as  Niall Hickey's powerful effort was tipped off the crossbar by Liam Deasy. Evan Talty had to retire injured after a head injury received in a clash with Shane Brennan just before Gary Brennan set up Tadgh Lynch for a 23rd minute equaliser.

On the stroke of the start of four minutes injury time Stephen Moloney won a free converted by Keelan Sexton to sneak a point clear before Ian McInerney made  his way up from goal to send over a free as both side ended the first half with ten scores and ten wides to leave Kilmurry Ibrickane (0-6) to (0-4) ahead at the interval.

The game was only two minutes old into the second half when both sides were on the scoresheet as Kilmurry hit two courtesy of Keelan Sexton and Stephen Moloney  as Tony Kelly responded with the first score of the new half. The  roving nature of Dermot Coughlan saw him as a link man as Clondegad on a number of occasions carried the ball into contact losing it when scores were there for the taking. Keelan Sexton and Tony Kelly who was impressing with his third score were on target by the 36th minute to leave two between the sides as proceedings were up a notch quality wise on the opening half. Podge McMahon made the most of a half chance to punch the ball over the bar to leave the minimum between the sides. A crossfield  pass from Shane Brennan fell into the hands of Eoghan Donnellan who sent over the equaliser that lasted all of 30 seconds before Keelan Sexton raced clear to restore his sides supremacy on the scoreboard in front of an attendance of 4,916.

As the game trundled into the final quarter Kilmurry Ibrickane were beginning to hold the ball in the Clondegad half  of the pitch as Keelan Sexton, Ian McInerney (free) and Noel Downes added to what was now a (0-11) to (0-8) lead for the championship favourites.

With ten minutes  left on the clock Dermot Couglan set up Kilmurry sub Michael O Dwyer for a well taken point just after Gary Brennan had been on the scoresheet and just before Shane Brennan had another Clondegad point. This was as close as it got for Mike Hehirs men. Ian McInerney kicked over a free to restore a three point lead as Kilmurry were now running straight at the Clondegad goal. Peter O Dwyer who was the hero of the semi final with his first touch after being introduced sneaked the ball past Liam Deasy into the near corner to send Quilty six clear.

When one would have expected Kilmurry to drive on they surrendered ground easily and in the final analysis would have lost if they were playing a team with more county final experience. Podge McMahon narrowed the gap to five points before Martin McMahon with a perfect through hand pass set up Noel Downes but his effort came off the Clondegad post. Eoghan Donnellan from the next Clondegad attack made no mistake as now only four points separated the sides with the game descending into a battle all over the field with eventually Peter O Dwyer and Joe Neylon exiting the action on two red cards.

 Podge McMahon hit a point but Noel Downes kicked the insurance score with the game gone into injury time. Amazingly nearly 9 minute of same was played  as the last score of the day fell to another McMahon free. Had two more players received their marching orders there would have been little surprise as what had been an entertaining game for 45 minutes was mean spirited in the final 25 minutes of fare.

Best for the champions included Darren Hickey, Martin McMahon who was to the fore in leadership, Keith King, Stephen Moloney, Enda Coughlan, Keelan Sexton and Dermot Coughlan. Clondegad showed enough fire and effort to say they will be contenders in the seasons to come with a squad now used to county final fare.

KILMURRY IBRICKANE: Ian McInerney (0-3),  Darragh Sexton (0-1), Darren Hickey, Mark Killeen,  Shane Hickey, Martin McMahon, Evan Talty, Keith King, Mark McCarthy,  Niall Hickey, Michael Hogan, Stephen Moloney (0-2), Enda Coughlan,  Keelan Sexton (0-4), Dermot Coughlan (0-1). Subs: Thomas Lernihan for Talty, Michael O Dwyer (0-1) for Hogan,  Noel Downes (0-2) for N Hickey, Peter O Dwyer (1-0) for M McCarthy, Eamonn Bracken for Moloney, Darren Sexton for K Sexton,

CLONDEGAD: Liam Deasy, Brian Casey, Brian Murphy, Cormac Ryan, Conor Gavin, Cillian Brennan, Brian Carrig, Gary Brennan (0-3), James Murphy, Tadgh Lynch (0-1), Eoghan Donnellan (0-2), Gearoid O Connell(0-1), Podge McMahon (0-4), Shane Brennan, Tony Kelly (0-3). Subs: Ryan Jennings for J Murphy, Joe Neylon for Lynch, Niall Lynch for B Murphy, Niall Deasy for C Ryan,

Referee: Pat Cosgrove (Corofin).

Following the game the Jack Daly senior football championship cup was presented by County chairperson Joe Cooney to Kilmurry Ibrickane captain Martin McMahon.

Enda Coughlan was Man of the match with Cathal McInerney collected the championship top scorer award.

All Ireland Senior Football Qualifier

posted 10 Jul 2017, 08:02 by John O'Sullivan   [ updated 10 Jul 2017, 08:04 ]

MAYO........2-13      CLARE.............0-13
By Michael O Connor.
The summer of football is over for Clare and so is a year of consolidation by the county squad in division two. Unfortunately, there is also a sense of underachievement even though it was the powerhouse Mayo that ended the qualifier run. A stunning first half effort was sabotaged by a series of early second half errors that ended the game as a contest.
Three changes from the team that edged past Derry the week previous and no recall for multiple all star Keith Higgins who missed the qualifer in McHale park due to suspension. Colm Collins led his side to a comfortable 10 point success over Laois in O Moore Park the week previous setting up this glamour tie in Cusack Park.
11500 tickets sold the morning of the game suggested a bumper attendance at Clare GAA headquarters in sweltering heat. The rush to the gate at 3pm by a sea of green and red to get the 1250 seats or so on offer summed up the value of Mayo to a local economy.
The action started Aidan O Shea winning the throw in ending with Andy Moran on target. Donal Vaughan ended his participation in the 4th minute when he took down Gary Brennan. Eoin Cleary sent over the resultant free for the home side's opening score. David Tubridy sent over a 9th minute as it was now apparent Clare were not going to roll over against their illustrious opponents. A wonderful pass from Keelan Sexton was released to Gary Brennan who made no mistake for the third home side score. David Tubridy was on hand for his sides fourth and his second score from a free after 13 minutes as now Clare were looking like possible winners even with less than quarter of an hour played.
In the Kerry game Jamie Malone cannoned a shot off the crossbar and in this contest he saw a powerful run end with his effort smothered for a 45 by David Clarke. A better option would have been a pass to the onrushing Cleary. Clare rallied from this with scores from Malone and Sexton to surge (0-6) to (0-1) ahead with 19 minutes played. This was as good as it got for Clare as it appeared that for all their excellent work for the second quarter they managed only two scores as opposed to five for Mayo who were not being propelled by Aidan O Shea. He set up Kevin McLoughlin for Mayo's third point before Joe Hayes turned over Diarmuid O Connor's effort in the 21st minute. Lee Keegan in the 23rd narrowed the Clare lead to two as Mayo were now pushing up on Clare's tactic of the short kickout. Hope was renewed and the Mayo onslaught stymied when Sean Collins in the 25th and Keelan Sexton in the 33rd restored a double score Clare lead. Vitally for Mayo they finished the half on the ascendancy with a well taken brace of Andy Moran points to leave Mayo just two points in arrears.
Two goals was now priority for Clare in the second half to stay in contention however a collapse all over the field in the first ten minutes of the new half sealed the fate of the home side. Kevin McLoughlin opened the scoring as Cillian O Connor was fortunate to stay on the field for an altercation with Kevin Hartnett that went unreported. Ciaran Russell received a black card before Martin McMahon miskicked a free in front of his own goal and Cillian O Connor punished with the game's first goal. One minute later Clare went five down with Diarmuid O Connor raced through and blasted past Joe Hayes.
Somehow, Clare rallied after this set of multiple drawbacks and David Tubridy was on target in the 47th minute to leave Mayo (2-7) to (0-9) ahead.  Clare, however did not score for the intervening 11 minutes as Mayo without ever dominating proceedings added three scores in this period to go seven clear. Keith Higgins and Cillian O Connor (2) were the sharpshooters . Stephen Rochford began to make changes and it revitalised Mayo entering the final 20 minutes. Eoin Cleary added his sides 10th score in the 58th minute before Cillian O Connor, Aidan O Shea and O Connor once more sealed the contest with five minutes normal time remaining.
Clare finished strongly without ever threatening the Mayo lead as Cleary, Tubridy and substitute Gearoid O Brien added minors as Cillian O Connor rounded off the scoring with an injury time score for a seven point win. In the second half Mayo outscored Clare (2-8) to (0-5) and in that statistic Mayo were the better team irrespective of the errors committed by Clare in the third quarter.
Scorers for Mayo: Cillian O’Connor (1-5, 5f), Diarmuid O’Connor (1-1), Andy Moran (0-3), Kevin O’Loughlin (0-2), Aidan O’Shea (0-1), Lee Keegan (0-1), Keith Higgins (0-1)
Scorers for Clare: David Tubridy (0-4f), Eoin Cleary (0-3, 2f), Keelan Sexton (0-2, 1 45), Gary Brennan (0-1), Jamie Malone (0-1), Seán Collins (0-1), Gearóid O’Brien (0-1)
MAYO: David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites), Brendan Harrison (Aghamore), Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites), Chris Barrett (Belmullet), Lee Keegan (Westport)(0-1) Colm Boyle (Davitts), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis)(0-1), Séamus O’Shea (Breaffy), Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy)(0-1), Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber)(1-1), Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe), Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore) (0-2), Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen)(0-3), Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber)(1-5), Conor Loftus (Crossmolina).
SUBS: Stephen Coen for Hollymount/Carramore for Donal Vaughan, Evan Regan (Ballina Stephenites) for Conor Loftus, Jason Doherty (Burrishoole) for Andy Moran, Tom Parsons (Charlestown) for Seamus O’Shea, Fergal Boland (Aghamore) for Diarmuid O’ConnoR, Alan Dillon (Ballintubber) for Aidan O’Shea.
CLARE: Joe Hayes (Lissycasey), Dean Ryan (Éire Óg), Kevin Harnett (Meelick), Gordon Kelly (St Joseph’s, Miltown Malbay), Martin McMahon (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Jamie Malone (Corofin) (0-1), Cian O’Dea (Kilfenora), Gary Brennan (Clondegad)(0-1), Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen), Pearse Lillis (Cooraclare), Eoin Cleary (St Joseph’s, Miltown) (0-4), Ciarán Russell (Éire Óg), Seán Collins (Cratloe) (0-1), Keelan Sexton (Kilmurry Ibrickane)(0-2), David Tubridy (Doonbeg)(0-4).
SUBS: John Hayes (Kilrush) for Cathal O’Connor, Eoghan Collins (Ballyhaunis) for Ciáran Russell, Gearóid O’Brien (Kilrush)(0-1) for Cian O’Dea, Seanie Malone (St Joseph’s, Miltown) for Pearse Lillis.
Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone).

Munster Senior Football Semi Final

posted 12 Jun 2017, 13:29 by John O'Sullivan

KERRY.......................1-18       CLARE..................1-12

by Michael O Connor.

The one that got away or false reality. Two viewpoints of this entertaining Munster senior semi final played before 5,786 patrons in Cusack Park, Sunday. A powerful start, a poor second quarter. Missed chances in the opening ten minutes of the second half before a succession of scores in the middle of the second half topped off with a Kerry goal made up the story of this game.

Following on from the solid showing in Killarney the year previous allied to Clare holding onto division two status and a years experience hopes were high of a solid showing. The presence of James O Donoghue on the Kerry side was to prove match winning for Kerry as Clare had no one to really curb the Legion club player. Ironically Clare had multiple chances in the opening ten minutes to go five clear but spurned three great points chance. On the other hand they did show greatly early on with two stunning efforts from David Tubridy before Keelan Sexton pointed a free. James O Donoghue and Paul Geaney who acted a powerful support act to Donoghue kept Kerry in touch.

The huge Kerry away support that must have outnumbered the home support by 2 to 1 at the very least appeared muted for most of the opening half as Clare to their credit were more than a match for Eamonn Fitzmaurice's side.

Over the course of the game referee Padraig Hughes issued 12 yellow cards to eleven different players  with Donnacha Walsh picking up the first of two conceding a penalty to Keelan Sexton that David Tubridy converted to see Clare surge five clear. Instead of adding further scores to heap pressure on Kerry the Clare challenge stuttered as O Donoghue got into gear. He struck two in two minutes as Paul Geaney also on target cut the Kerry deficit to two points in the 25th minute. Donnacha Walsh received his second yellow card to reduce Kerry to 14 players but this did not stall the Kerry revival unduly as O Donoghue (3) in a five minutes spell sent Kerry (0-8) to (1-4) clear. The final score of the first half fell to Ciaran Russell that forced parity (1-5) to (0-8) entering the dressingrooms for the interval break with strong wind and rain an unwelcome pairing.

Goals and three at least would be needed by Clare to win this tie even with the elements backing them in the second half. Eoin Cleary opened the second half in a positive trend with the first score as Cathal O Connor sent over a huge long range free off the ground as Clare stretched two clear by the 39th minute. The most important substitution of the day  fell to Kerry as they brought on Stephen O Brien who was the key factor in the second half for Kerry alongside O Donoghue.  O Brien and Cleary swopped scores before Paul Geaney and Michael Geaney were on target to leave the side level on (1-8) to (0-11) by the 43rd minute.

Kerry were now rampant as Clare were on the backfoot losing midfield and definitely curtailed up front with ease by a now dominant Kerry defence. Between the 45th and 51st minute Kerry through O Donoghue (3) and Anthony Maher raced (0-15) to (1-8) ahead. Clare responded with a brace of scores from Tubridy and Cleary by the 54th minutes as Clare now needed a goal but the best was a cannoned effort off the crossbar by Jamie Malone. Just when it appeared that Clare might make a strong showing in the last ten minutes they were struck for (1-2) and this sealed the game. O Donoghue and substitute Bryan Sheehan (free) were on target before Stephen O Brien waltzed past three Clare players and coolly slotted past Joe Hayes as Kerry went seven points clear. Shane Enright made it eight before two late consolation scores from Eoin Cleary did show that Clare were competitive throughout but lacked finish in the last third of the field.

Best for the winners who now move onto play Cork in the munster final included Shane Enright, Paul Murphy, Anthony Maher, Michael Geaney, Paul Geaney, James O Donoghue, Stephen O Brien and Fionn Fitzgerald. Clare had good displays but not enough consistency from Gary Brennan, David Tubridy, Eoin Cleary, Martin McMahon, Cathal O Connor and Jamie Malone.


County Senior Football Final Replay

posted 24 Oct 2016, 05:18 by John O'Sullivan

KILMURRY IBRICKANE................2-13     CRATLOE...........................0-6

By Michael O Connor.

Expected result and if all were true in their comments the extent of the victory is not that surprising. Kilmurry Ibrickane learnt most and improved with greater determination in the two weeks since the drawn game. Aidan Moloney's men ran riot against a Cratloe side that are pale shadows of what dominated the club game in 2013 and 2014. The lack of power at midfield is an issue and without doubt Conor McGrath's absence was a telling factor whenthe game could have been won day one.

With the suggestion that Conor McGrath was contemplating a bandaged up return to action a red herring due to his surjourn to sunnier climes the odds lengthened on a Cratloe win.

From the throw in Kilmurry defended in depth and were attacking in numbers from the back and after ten minutes it was simply a matter of how much they were going to win by as Cratloe looked toothless in attack.

Shane Gleeson kicked an eminently scorable chance wide in the 3rd minute as Cratloe were really pushing up on the Kilmurry kickouts as Enda Coughlan was playing from deep. Keelan Sexton was inches wide with his sides first real scoring chance as the ball was travelling with speed from end to end. Kilmurry were operating in the early exchanges with just two men often in the Cratloe half of the field. Peter O Dwyer who was the main target man for Kilmurry Ibrickane in the first half won and quickly released to Keelan Sexton who pointed from the 21 yard line. This was quickly added to by Michael Hogan to send the Western side two clear after 8 minutes action.

The intensity of exchanges suggested a harder game was in prospects than the drawn encounter. Craloe were inventive with possession attempting to play into space but even so their finishing was poor and at best percentage efforts. It took a  11th minute free by Cathal McInerney to open the Cratloe account as soon after Conor Cooney replaced the injured Antoin McFadden. Keelan Sexton was on hand from a free to score his sides third score. The level of movement sadly regressed as the first half. As the game entered the final five minutes of the first half Kilmurry were (0-4) to ) (0-2) ahead as Cratloe spurned a number of scoring chances  before Sean Collins kicked over a free to leave the minimum between the sides. Shane Hickey and Ian Mcinerney and a free from Cathal McInerney rounded off the scoring to leave the multi time champions (0-6) to (0-4) interval leaders.

The first major action of the second half saw Michael O Dwyer fluffing a clear front of goal chance by allowing Pierce deloughrey to get a touch to it and have it cleared. Ian  McInerney saw two free kicks succeed with a 50% success as the first score of the half emerged in the 37th minute. The Kilmurry half forwards were dropping back with success to gather and bring the ball upfield. The match winning score came from a solo run through the heart of the Cratloe defence and finished to the net by county player Martin McMahon. He turned provider seconds later to Mark McCarthy who popped over the bar and now Cratloe were seven in arrears against a rampant Kilmurry side growing in confidence with every attack..

A seven man Kilmurry movement ended with Keelan Sexton kicking over from 30metres as the game entered the final quarter as Cratloe were fouling consistently in attempts to slow down the Kilmurry juggernaut running at their goal. Cratloe finally got a score in the second half 19minutes into it when Cathal McInerney sent over a free. Noel Downes who had been just been introduced had to retire injured to be replaced by Niall Hickey. The champions elect courtesy of Shane Hickey and Michael O Dwyer stretched their club 9 points clear with 9 minutes left to play. A momentum fuelled Kilmurry Ibrickane would continue to tack on scores culminating in an injury-time penalty for Sexton that ensured that the county star ended up as top scorer in the club championship pipping Cathal McInerney to the honour.

My man of the hour was Enda Coughlan who despite having a loose role was superb attacking  and defending with clarity and assurance. Shane Hickey, Martin McMahon and Darragh Sexton were an impeccable half back line as Mark McCarthy, Michael O Dwyer, the busy Michael Hogan and Keelan Sexton kept the scoreboard ticking over.

Kilmurry Ibrickane now host Kerry champions Dr. Crokes in Quilty next weekend in the Munster senior club quarter-final.

 Scorers for Kilmurry-Ibrickane: Keelan Sexton 1-4 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), Martin McMahon 1-0, Shane Hickey, Ian McInerney (0-2f), Mark McCarthy 0-2 each; Michael Hogan, Peter O’Dwyer, Michael O’Dwyer 0-1 each

Scorers for Cratloe: Cathal McInerney 0-4 (0-3f), Martin Oige Murphy, Sean Collins (0-1f) 0-1 each.

 KILMURRY IBRICKANE:  Ian McInerney, Mark Killeen, Darren Hickey, Ciaran Morrissey, Shane Hickey, Martin McMahon, Darragh Sexton, Mark McCarthy, Keith King, Peter Dwyer snr, Michael O Dwyer, Michael Hogan,  Declan Callinan, Enda Coughlan, Keelan Sexton.

Subs: Noel Downes for D Callinan, Niall Hickey for Downes,  Evan Talty for Morrissey ,  Thomas O’Connor for McCarthy (58), Johnny Daly for M. O’Dwyer .

CRATLOE: Pierce DeLoughrey, Sean Chaplin, Barry Duggan, Liam Markham,, Martin Oige Murphy, Michael Hawes, Enda Boyce, Conor Ryan, John Galvin, Antoin McFadden, Sean Collins, Shane Gleeson, Cathal McInerney, Podge Collins, David Collins.

Subs: Conor Cooney for McFadden (inj), Stevie McHugh for  Gleeson

Refereee: Pat Cosgrove (Corofin).

After the game Clare county board chairman Joe Cooney presented the Jack Daly cup to Kilmurry Ibrickane captain Thomas O Connor.

County Senior Football Final

posted 10 Oct 2016, 03:20 by John O'Sullivan

KILMURRY IBRICKANE...............0-12      CRATLOE...............1-9

By Michael O Connor.

From early season it was clear to many observers of the game that Kilmurry Ibrickane had their charges firmly fixed on ending the four year famine by their standards. For Cratloe, the hopes of a third championship for Colm Collins's charges were evidently in the eyes of most dealt a mortal blow with the injury received to Conor McGrath in the hurling semi final. As it transpired a very entertaining hard hitting final handled in the main with calmness by Rory Hickey ended in stalemate. Maybe Cratloe will feel that they had the greater of the more obvious chances to win the game as Kilmurry looked toothless in front of goal. It should lead to a more freeflowing replay unless defensive planners set up walls in front of Ian McInerney and Pierce deLoughrey.

An extremely average attendance at county grounds greeted both sides onto Cusack park for the 2016 final as the football supporters were far from enraptured with the final pairing. The loss of McGrath as well adding to the viewpoint that this tie was a foregone conclusion. Yet, who could bet against the talent of Cratloe for yielding an hour of inspiration against the North Clare citadel.

Kilmurry Ibrickane non playing captain Thomas O Connor led the parade so his side had the unusual feat of having 16 in the parade prematch.

Niall Hickey had the first effort for score but was well wide of Pierce DeLoughrey's goal with less than one minutes action as Cathal McInerney opened the scoring after he converted a free he won  in the 2nd minute. There was little more than polite applause for the Cratloe point signifying the poor support for the dual club at the venue. A huge cheer came for Kilmurry's opening score as county star and 19 year old Keelan Sexton floated over a beauty for the equaliser in the 4th minute. Kilmurry goalkeeper Ian McInerney was called up by management for his sides second score from a placed ball 45m out after seven minutes before Cathal McInerney kicked over a stunning left footed effort to level the game for the second time after only eight minutes on (0-2) apiece.

The next real scoring opportunity fell to Kilmurry with a 45 won by Martin McMahon in the 11th minute that was sent over once more by Ian McInerney. David Collins with a smart effort from an acute angle levelled proceedings for the third time in the 13th minute. Keelan Sexton was on the end of a sharp four man Kilmurry move and his lobbing effort dropped over the Cratloe crossbar in the 17th minute. Within a minute the ball was in the Kilmurry net as David Collins teed up the inrushing McInerney who evaded one tackle and left footed the ball past Ian McInerney as Cratloe now surged (1-3) to (0-4) clear with ten minutes remaining in the half. Podge Collins added to this tally as now Cratloe were scoring with every attack. At this juncture it looked like Kilmurry were devoid of scoring power and depended on their goalkeeper for every free unless a pop over.

A mini disaster saw three Cratloe kickouts go astray with the Hickey brothers Shane and Niall kicking two in a minute as Mark McCarthy also profitted to level matters by the 26th minute on (1-4) to (0-7). The western side were now in the ascendancy as Cratloe were wishing heavily for the half time whistle. The play ebbed from end to end without any real scoring chance coming to fruition for either side as there were claims for Cratloe frees to no avail. Enda Coughlan spurned the easiest point chance of the half kicking wide before making amends setting up Michael Hogan for the lead point deep into injury time as Kilmurry Ibrickane went in (0-8) to (1-4) ahead at the break.

An altercation involving players, subs and officials attempting to break it up took place at the break as both teams went into for the break. It was indeed a most unsavoury incident and perhaps whilst it should not happen the new side entrances for both teams were not open so both teams went in the same old central entrance.

The first score of the new half fell to Keelan Sexton who kicked a point and was inches wide from a marvellous 20 metre effort a minute later that could have easily ended up in the top corner. Kilmurry were now two clear but two exceptional scores constructed by Podge Collins who was dominant at midfield and finished by Cathal McInerney and Conor Ryan levelled matters by the 40th minute before an attendance of 4450..

Newly introduced sub Noel Downes honoured his selectors faith in him with a fine score with his first touch in the 42nd minute and this feat was replicated by Cratloe sub Shane Gleeson seconds later as once more parity was shared by the teams for the sixth occasion. Keelan Sexton and Cathal McInerney exchanged frees by the 49th minute as the spectre of a replay loomed large over this fixture as now both sides were kicking efforts wide of the intended target.  A Keelan Sexton free in the 53rd minute broke the deadlock as this side went a point ahead and indeed his colleagues hit two more wides as Cratloe now searched for the equaliser and indeed they did with a converted free in the 61st minute by Cathal McInerney to set up a mouth watering replay.

Scorers for Cratloe: Cathal McInerney 1-5 (3f); David Collins, Podge Collins, Conor Ryan, Shane Gleeson 0-1 each

Scorers for Kilmurry Ibrickane: Keelan Sexton 0-5 (2f); Ian McInerney (1f, 1’45) 0-2; Niall Hickey, Shane Hickey, Enda Coughlan, Michael Hogan, Noel Downes 0-1 each

 KILMURRY IBRICKANE: Ian McInerney, Mark Killeen, Shane Hickey, Darren Hickey, Ciaran Morrissey,  Martin McMahon, Darragh Sexton, Mark McCarthy, Keith King, Michael Hogan, Michael Dwyer, Niall Hickey, Keelan Sexton, Enda Coughlan Declan Callinan. SUBS: Noel Downes for Niall Hickey, Stephen Moloney for Hogan, Peter O Dwyer for McCarthy.

CRATLOE: Pierce DeLoughrey, Sean Chaplin, Barry Duggan, Michael Hawes, Martin Murphy, Antoin McFadden, Liam Markham, Conor Ryan, John Galvin, Stevie McHugh, Sean Collins, Conor Cooney, Cathal McInerney, Podge Collins, David Collins. SUBS: Enda Boyce for McFadden, Sean Hynan for Cooney, Shane Gleeson for McHugh.

Referee: Rory Hickey (Eire-og).

Good wishes for a speedy recovery to St Josephs Doora Barefield sub Jason Herbert who damaged his knee in the post game celebratory huddle of the Barefield players.

Clare continue with win in Cusack Pk

posted 7 Mar 2016, 02:59 by John O'Sullivan   [ updated 8 Mar 2016, 05:20 ]

Clare 1-18    Westmeath 0-10: 

By Michael O Connor.

Whilst the Sam Maguire cup may not reside this coming winter in Clare the efforts of the home side on Sunday last in their round 4 win over Westmeath was similar to a side with ambitions of having a fruitful summer. Football pundits where far from confident of Clare having an extended stay in division three when promoted for the 2015 season now after this pivotal mid league win they have all but secured their furture in it for 2017. More so they can now challenge for a place in the division 3 league final. This will take at least two more wins and also on how Tipperary will fare in their remaining games.

It must be acknowledged that Clare as a squad of players have matured both physically and in footballing terms. The ease with which they dismissed the tepid challenge of Westmeath surprised and delighted banner supporters in equal measure.  The seven point half time lead on this occasion did scant justice to their chokehold on proceedings especially for the first twenty minutes.

David Tubridy opened the scoring with a 55metre free playing into the town goal after less that two minutes action on a surface that survived the game but cut up nonetheless. The seated stand lay empty as construction work continues on the edges. It is expected to be open for the Clare v Limerick NHL game on Sunday week. Tubridy repeated his opening score feat a minute late converting a 45 conceded by the Westmeat rearguard. Eoin Cleary who looked most impressive and confident in his shooting pointed from play after only five minutes and when Cooraclare centre forward Pearse Lillis sent over a fourth Clare point after seven minutes one could sense that the game was Clare's to lose. Both sides played with extra players back defending and it was Westmeath lack of punch in their forward ranks that ensured Clare were at ease controlling their last third of the field. Westmeath replaced a number of first choice players after 20 minutes in an attempt to kickstart with no success their challenge in Cusack Park.

The Clare support were constantly demanding a fast ball into the Clare forwards but that type of ball is now alien in football as all sides now play with extra defenders. Cathal O Connor was set up the hardworking Enda Coughlan for a fine score after 13 minutes. The rate of scoring diminished as Westmeath managed to curb the threat of scores in front of their own goal. 8 minutes elapsed before the game's next score courtesy of David Tubridy from play in the 21st minute. Eoin Cleary added a seventh Clare score after 23minutes as Westmeath supporters pondered the embarrassing possibility of not registering a first half score. They did not have to fear as the Lakeland county side got off the mark with eight minutes left in the first half as Shane Dempsey struck from 30 metres out. This kickstarted UCD Sigerson hero John Heslin into action and he converted two frees in a minute as Westmeath despite looking second rate were now only four points in arrears. They caused a few troublesome moments for Clare but never threatened Joe Hayes in goal.

The winning of the game was not in the second half but during injury time in the first half  as a quickfire salvo of three unanswered points from Clare deconstructed the good work of Westmeath. Eoin Cleary led the way with two scores in the 36th and 37th minutes with Sean Collins rounding off a satisfying opening half with a great point and to leave the home side (0-10) to (0-3) ahead at the break.

Nothing bar a huge collapse on the part of Clare and a possible return of Dessie Dolan in flying form for Westmeath was going to change the result in Cusack Park. David Tubridy started the second half the same way he managed the first with the opening score. John Connellan responded a minute later but his point was neutralised by Enda Coughlan with a well taken point. Westmeath made two substitutions either side of John Heslin kicking his sides fifth score.  He kicked a 6th Westmeath point just before Tubridy continued his rich vein of form in the 53rd minute. A marvellous solo effort from Gordon Kelly and a converted free from John Heslin combined with a Ronan Foley effort left five points between the sides after 56 minutes.

 The icing on the cake was a stunning field length move from Clare involving 6 players ending with Jamie Malone bursting past two Westmeath defenders to finish past Darren Quinn in the Westmeath goal. Eoin Cleary kicked two frees as Malone added another to go with his goal. Westmeath attempted a consolation goal but Heslins injury time effort was stopped by Joe Hayes as sub Sean Haugh rounded off the scoring to send Clare away with their third league win of the year.

CLARE: Joe Hayes, Sean Malone, Kevin Hartnett, Martin McMahon, Jamie Malone (1-1), Gordon Kelly (0-1), Cian O Dea, Gary Brennan, Cathal O Connor (0-1), Sean Collins (0-1), Pearse Lillis (0-1), Shane McGrath, David Tubridy (0-5), Enda Coughlan (0-1), Eoin Cleary (0-6). Subs: Keelan Sexton for McGrath, Dean Ryan for Cian O Dea, Pat Burke for Coughlan  Graham Kelly for Malone, Sean Haugh (0-1) for Lillis, Alan O Neill for Collins,

WESTMEATH: Darren Quinn, Killian Daly, Frank Boyle, Kevin Maguire, Jamie Gonoud, Kieran Martin (0-1), Alan Stone, Dennis Corroon, Paul Sharry, Ray Connellan, Callum McCormack, James Dolan, John Connellan (0-1), John Heslin (0-6), John Egan. Subs: Shane Dempsey (0-1) for Stone, Paul Greville for McCormack, Shane Flanagan for Gonoud Paddy Holloway for Connellan, Ronan Foley (0-1) for Dempsey

Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo)

Munster U 17 Football Final

posted 26 Oct 2015, 12:17 by John O'Sullivan   [ updated 26 Oct 2015, 12:27 by Denis Tuohy Agricultural Consultant ]

CLARE................. 1-11         TIPPERARY.................1-10
by Michael O Connor
    Defeated finalists in 2014 and against the same opposition on the bank holiday weekend Clare returned to Pairc na nGael Limerick with a new crop of players to build on good form in this competition and lay down a marker for the Munster minor championship of 2016. Success finally came to this age group for Clare by the narrowest of margins that was influenced with no small degree of skill, speed and organisation.

 The opening score from Dermot Coughlan was a score of real quality as he took charge and burst through the centre.  Mark Lillis was forced to pull off a save from Tipperary star Jack Delahunty after five minutes. Both sides traded chances with no score until Joe McGann kicked over from 20m in the 11th minute. This sparked an immediate response from Tipperary with towering midfielder Ben Hyland kicking over from 40metres to level matters on (0-2) apiece after 13 minutes. Clare attacked but had no real opening and on the counter Jack Delahunty finished off a three man Tipperary move for the lead score at the end of the opening quarter. Joe McGann raced clear in the 19th minute for the equaliser and seconds later Paudie Kelly kicked a 40m wide. In a clear indication that Clare were capable of outrunning their Tipperary markers Conor Lynch broke through but his goal effort hit the side netting after 21 minutes action in the Gaelic grounds. Cathal Guerin, one of the five St Breckans representatives gave Clare a deserved lead. Tipperary felt they had a goal scored after 24 minutes but the referee adjudged the Clare ball carrier to be pushed over the goalline. Colin English after two minutes of sustained Tipperary pressure including two shots off the posts scored another equaliser in this game that was free flowing with plenty of end to end fare. As the first half reached a conclusion the premier men were gradually gaining a strong hold on the Clare attack after a shaky opening quarter. That said, the last two scores of the first half went to Clare captain Dara Bohannon with a 40m effort of his left foot over the bar and Joe McGann to leave Clare (0-6) to (0-4) ahead entering half time. From a Clare management perspective whilst the effort was admirable they had expended a lot of energy but far from the winning line. Both sides introduced replacments in second half and a number had telling effects on proceedings.
    Tipperary sub Dylan Walsh opening the second half scoring before Clondegad's Conor Lynch responded with a like score after 36 minutes. Jack Delahunty sent a scorable effort well wide off the mark. Tipperary goalkeeper Anthony McKelvey pulled off a fine save from Conor Lynch and straight from the clearance a high ball into the Clare square broke to Shane Ryan who goaled from the breaking ball and once again the sides were level, (0-8) to (1-5). The premier side courtesy of Jake Flannery went ahead at the end of the third quarter.
Clare's best period of scoring was about to emerge to set up a thrilling last five minutes. Dara Bohannan pointed from play before the impressive Joe McGann finished for a powerful Clare goal in the 48th minute. Paudie Kelly stretched the lead to four entering the final ten minutes. Tipperary dominated the final ten minutes plus three minutes of injury time bar one vital match winning score from  Miltown's Diarmuid Meade. Jack Delahunty, Dylan Walsh, Conal Kennedy, and Delahunty were all on target but it was all in vain as Clare held out for a rare and much deserved title at underage football in Munster.
Best for Clare included Mark Lillis, Evan Barrett, Conor O Loughlin, Jack Hannon, the impressive Dara Bohannon, Dermot Coughlan, sharpshooter Joe McGann, Conor Lynch, Diarmuid Meade and Paudie Kelly.

CLARE: Mark Lillis (Cooraclare), Peter Collins (St Josephs), Evan Barrett (St Breckans),Eoin Keane (Shannon Gaels), Tom Hannon (St Josephs), Conor O Loughlin (Corofin), Jack Hannon ( St Josephs), Dara Bohannon (Shannon Gaels) (capt)(0-2), Paudie Kelly (St Breckans)(0-2), Dermot Coughlan (Kilmurry Ibrickane) (0-1), Ciaran O Donoghue (Cooraclare), Sean Rouine (Ennistymon), Joe McGann (St Breckans) (1-3), Cathal Guerin (St Breckans)(0-1), Conor Lynch (Clondegad)(0-1). Subs: Ross Phelan (Kilrush) for Donoghue, Niall Kelly (Cooraclare) for  Tom Hannon, Danny Griffin (Eire-og) for Phelan, Diarmuid Meade (Miltown)(0-1) for Guerin, Joe Miniter (Kilrush Shamrocks) for Keane, Mark Crowe (Clondegad) for Jack Hannon.

TIPPERARY: Anthony McKelvey, Oscar O Dwyer, David Byron, Diarmuid Leahy, Daire Brennan, Radeic Natkanich, Tom Murphy, Eoin Ryan, Ben Hyland (0-1), Shane Ryan (1-0), Calvin Boland, Colin English (0-1), Andrew Vance, Jack Delahunty (0-4), John Lyons. Subs: Mark Kehoe for  Vance, Dylan Walsh (0-2) for Murphy, Conor Cashman for Ryan, Jake Flannery (0-1) for Radeic Natkanich, Conal Kennedy(0-1) for Boland.

After the game Munster council vice chairman Gerry O Sullivan presented the Daryl Darcy memorial cup to Clare captain and a member of a proud West Clare GAA family Dara Bohannon.


posted 5 Jul 2015, 15:36 by John O'Sullivan   [ updated 5 Jul 2015, 15:36 by Denis Tuohy Agricultural Consultant ]

LONGFORD...............2-12    CLARE.............1-12

By Michael O Connor

No excuses here as Clare exited the championship at the very first hurdle against a spirited Longford side in Cusack park on Saturday evening. Prior to the game it was expected that Clare would survive this clash against a side that were mauled in Croke Park against Dublin in the Leinster championship.

Clare struck for the first score as Gary Brennan converted a free with the game less than two minutes old. SIgnals that Longford were intent on making a contest of it were evident with their efforts early on. Brian Kavanagh levelled matters  before David Tubridy scored a well taken effort after four minutes. Ciaran Russell who struggled throughout the game and it was a surprise that he was not relieved of his duties conceded a penalty after taking down Liam Connerton and it was a grateful Brian Kavanagha that goaled. Connerton and Michael Quinn stretched the lead of the midlanders by the 14 mintues to five points, (1-3) to (0-1) and indeed Clare were second rate by this stage.

Eoin Cleary who was surprisingly replaced late in the game whilst others who were non productive were left on the field and Gary Brennan narrowed the deficit by the 21st minutes to two points before Brian Kavanagh restored the goal lead. The handling errors by Clare when in primary possession in defence and attack played a huge role in their downfall against a physically strong Longford side managed by former Dublin star Jack Sheedy.

The home side had one of their most productive spells of the game scoring 1-2 in 7 minutes as David Tubridy, and Pat Burke struck over points as a well worked five man move ended with Clare's Dean Ryan hitting the back of the net. The home side were now two clear and in the view of many in the ascendancy. However, this climb up the ladder soon became a stunted movement and gradual decline. Liam Connerton who caused numerous problems and Dessie Reynolds levelled matters once more before the half time whistle. Clare went in at the break up by the minimum as Sean Collins who an uneventful afternoon had the final score of the first half to leave Clare (1-7) to (1-6) uncomfortable half time winners.

The opening minutes of the second half were error strewn by Clare with handling errors, poor kicking and it was like a rash spreading throughout the side for the remainder of the game. When they had good possession it was given away with ease especially by the full back line and half forward line. Rory Connor levelled proceedings three minutes into the second half before disaster struck as Dessie Reynolds lobbed the outrushing Joe Hayes.

With the game now entering the final half hour Clare were trailing by just three points but the feeling was that they were struggling all over the park and nothing less than a goal would ease that difficulty on the field.

David Tubridy (2) and Rory Connor were on target between the 40th and 50th minutes to leave Longford (2-8) to (1-9) clear and holding their own against a side that was perceived to be better than the Leinster side. Eoin Cleary scored a wonderful point and then was subbed which drew gasps of amazement from supporters. It appeared the decision was made before he scored and as stated before others were in the reckoning to go ahead of the Miltown man.

 David Tubridy who did his best throughout the afternoon with limited supply drew the sides together after 55 minutes. Longford wing back Diarmuid Masterson scored a great long range effort and was stunningly sent off for a second yellow card less than a minute later. This appeared to hand the impetus back to Colm Collins men but far from it as Clare managed only one score in the final 15 minutes and this was simply not enough for a team in the All Ireland championship. Dean Ryan was on hand with the equaliser in the 59th minute.

Clare had chances to win and draw the game in the last ten minutes with Pat Burke and Keelan Sexton going close with goal chances. On the break Longford proved too much for Clare and in particular Brian Kavanagh as he struck for the last three points of the game with two frees and a third and final score of the game from play on the stroke of full time. The loss of Cathal O Connor was detrimental to the Clare cause whilst Gary Brennan was injured early on and it clearly hampered his movement. The Clare full back line coughed up too many scores (2-8) and sadly the forward division were far from evident in their runs.

CLARE: Joe Hayes, Ciaran Russell, Kevin Harnett, Martin McMahon, Shane Hickey, Gordon Kelly, Dean Ryan (1-1), Gary Brennan (0-2), Cathal O'Connor, Sean Collins (0-1),  Jamie Malone, Keelan Sexton, Eoin Cleary (0-2), David Tubridy(0-4), Pat Burke (0-1). Subs: Shane McGrath for O Connor (inj), Enda Coughlan for Cleary, Stephen Collins for Kelly,

LONGFORD: Paddy Collum, Cian Farrelly, Barry O Farrell, Fergal Battrim, Colm P Smyth, Barry Gilleran, Diarmuid Masterson (0-1), Kevin Diffley, Michael Quinn (0-1), Pauric Gill, Ronan McEntee, Rory Connor (0-2), Liam Connerton (0-2), Brian Kavanagh (1-5), Dessie Reynolds (1-1). Subs: Shane Doyle for Gill, Ross McInerney for  McEntire , Peter Foy for Connor. 

Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow)

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