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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).