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Hurling Match Reports


All Ireland Hurling Quarter Final

posted 24 Jul 2017, 15:44 by John O'Sullivan   [ updated 24 Jul 2017, 15:44 ]


TIPPERARY............... 0-28        CLARE.................3-16
By Michael O Connor.
So, it ends once again in July for all Clare hurling sides. Little was really expected it honesty was used by Clare supporters in this quarter final tie. Yet, the final analysis of the Munster final and All Ireland quarter final tie shows that the eight points cumulative defeat experienced by Clare were injury time scores. How long will Clare regret the wonderful chance handed to them to win a place against Galway in the All Ireland semi final as they bemoan 18 wides, inaccurate puck outs and an apparent unwillingness to release the shackles and use the entire panel not necessarily players of a particular vintage.
The modern upbeat music gave spectators a concert feel to proceedings. Once more the Clare attendance was succumbed by a far greater Tipperary following, yet to many the Clare support was more than many expected to make the so called long journey to  Cork.
 Tony Kelly was quickest on target with the first effort successful with less than a minute action that saw Seamus Callinan see his effort go off  the post. John McGrath hit a great effort to send the 2016 champions ahead. A huge score from Shane O Donnell levelled matters as Clare were appearing to play wiht two inside and O Donnell roaming within the Tipperary half. Conlon and McGrath were off target before Seamus Callinan sorched the Clare crossbar. Clare hit two more wides as David Fitzgerald started well. Poor marking from a sideline allowed Noel McGrath his second score. Conor McGrath had the ball in the Tipperary net but adjuged to have fouled the ball. John O Dwyer had Tipperary's fifth score after nine minutes as clearances from Clare were finding outnumbered Clare forwards. Seadna Morey picked the ball off the ground giving Callanan another successful free to go with one a minute earlier and now Tipperary were moving ominously clear of Clare. Padraic Maher fed John McGrath and his effort skimmed the Clare crossbar with 15 minutes played. Tony Kelly pulled back one from a free after Podge Collins was upended. McGrath sent one of the easiest efforts he could get in a game wide for his sides 5th before Seamus Callinan popped up for a smart effort 60m out.
Aaron Cunningham became a hero with two goals in a minute from close range as the Clare backs were in control and sublime passes from McGrath and O Donnell set up the Shannon man for his brace to level the game after 21 minutes. Clare hit their 7th wides as opposed to one for Tipperary. Cathal Malone was finding it difficult to get up the field after dropping back and especially with so much ball aimed at O Donnell it was hurting the Clare attack. Michael Breen responded with the lead point for the Premier men with nine minutes left in the opening half. Padraic Bonnar Maher increased his sides lead to two as Tipperary appeared to have withstood the best Clare could have thrown at them. Scores from Seamus Callanan, Jamie Shanahan, Conor McGrath, Seamus Callanan after a short puck out went horribly wrong. Seamus Kennedy, John McGrath and Bubbles Dwyer after more lax puckouts went astray allowed Clare to go in (0-16) to (2-5) down at the break.
Noel McGrath and Cian Dillon entered the ref's notepad in the opening  minute of the new half as Shane O Donnell took on and finished a smart effort in the 37th minute. Bubbles Dwyer picked up a loose ball, evaded Jamie Shanahan and popped over the bar. Clare had a clear scoring chance but fluffed it only for Seamus Callanan with  his seventh score that very easily could have been the match winning goal. Peter Duggan worked hard for a free that was turned into a score as Clare now needed another goal and the remainder of the game to be low scoring. Conor McGrath won what appeared to be a soft free that Kelly converted in the 46th minute. John McGrath had Tipperary's 19th score before once more a Kelly free kept Clare in touch. The  fare on offer was stop start with little real fluency offered or allowed due to frees or wides. The McGrath brothers turned the screw on Clare with two scores in a minute as their simple style was too much for the downtrodden Clare rearguard. David Reidy who was just introduced for Podge Collins sent over a close range free but Tipperary were now (0-23) to (2-10) ahead and in cruise control to the semi final barring a seismic collapse.
Tony Kelly, Peter Duggan, Colm Galvin, David Reidy now on freetaking duties and Cathal McInerney amazingly brought Clare into the game with five unaswered scores before Aaron Cunningham worked hard on a high ball hit the side netting. A wonder score from Conor McGrath in the 65th minute had Tipperary on the ropes but still a point clear. Bubbles Dywer sent over a free won by Callanan to leave Clare requiring two points. More drama was to come for the 28,500 spectators as even though Tipperary went six clear entering injury time Clare rallied with Cathal McInerney grabbing a scrambled goal in the 74th minute.
The crestfallen Clare players now have two years left in this squad to come up with a meaningful All Ireland run. A Munster championship whilst important matters little in August and for Clare in 2018 they must dilute the importance of Under 21 players that won the honours in the middle of this decade and pick players from all ages. Size and speed is also vital and Clare need to get two men who can move and strike over the bar from 50 metres and teach the inside forward line that points win games. Predictable hurling is evident from the full forward line at the moment as they turn for goal on most occasions losing the chance to get a point, jog out and get another point two  minutes later. Tipperary's full forward line scored 17 points from play and frees.   There is needed also for Clare to succeed a player who was heavily involved in the Clare successes of the 1990s and 200s to be added to what appears a capable management already in place. In conclusion, a lot done, a lot more to do.
 
TIPPERARY: Daragh Mooney; Donagh Maher, Tomás Hamill, James Barry; Séamus Kennedy, Ronan Maher, Pádraic Maher; Brendan Maher (0-1), Michael Breen (0-1); Noel McGrath (0-4), Patrick Maher (0-2), Dan McCormack; John O’Dwyer (0-4), Séamus Callanan (0-7), John McGrath (0-6). Subs: 
Subs: Sean O’Brien for James Barry, Jason Forde (0-1) for Michael Breen, Niall O’Meara for John O’Dwyer, Steven O’Brien (0-1) for Callanan.
CLARE: Andrew Fahy; Seadna Morey, Patrick O’Connor, Cian Dillon; David Fitzgerald, Conor Cleary, Jamie Shanahan (0-1); Colm Galvin (0-1), Tony Kelly (0-6); Cathal Malone, Pádraic Collins, John Conlon; Shane O’Donnell (0-2), Aaron Cunningham (2-0), Conor McGrath (0-2). 
Subs: Peter Duggan (0-1) for John Conlon, David Reidy (0-2) for Podge Collins, Cathal McInerney (1-1) for Cathal Malone,  Jason McCarthy for Kelly. 
Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork)

Munster Senior  Hurling Final

posted 10 Jul 2017, 07:57 by John O'Sullivan   [ updated 10 Jul 2017, 08:02 ]



CORK...................1-25             CLARE...........1-20
By Michael O Connor.
Championships are won by the teams that have the luck, the daring and the speed to score when opportunities arise. Cork had all three and Clare missed the luck and perhaps a little confidence to take points in this Munster final that might serve as a percursor to another game later in the year. Was there too much emphasis on Cork puck outs and speed in the forward line? Clare for their part retreated and at time appeared to have three sweepers and no one to hit the ball to when in possession. The crossfield ball attempted failed regularly going over the line and our most potent forwards appeared like extra defenders.
 The game was seconds old when Alan Cadogan had the ball whistling over the Clare bar as Clare were allowing the Cork full back line to win the puck outs drawing out players and filling the space in front of the Clare backs. The hope was that space would appear and run at Cork and for Cork they would be reduced to long ball into the Clare defence. Tony Kelly sent over the opening Clare score and showed a hunger for the scores throughout the day. Seamus Harnedy floated over the second Cork score before Cathal Malone who was busy in the first half set up Seadna Morey for the equaliser that was short lived as Patrick Horgan sent Cork ahead once more after  9 minutes.
Cork had a major let off and got a huge boost in the space of a minute. Firstly, Cathal Malone hit the crossbar with a kicked effort that was sent over on the rebound by Podge Collins. From the puck out Alan Cadogan goaled for Cork in the 11th minute. Two Tony Kelly scores by the 16th minute narrowed the Cork lead to the minimum. Clare had a second goal chance when Shane O Donnell won a penalty however Tony Kelly's effort spun weakly over the bar  seconds before Conor Lehane matched the Kelly score to maintain a Cork lead after 22 minutes of good fast tactical hurling. Clare appeared more vunerable in defence with more space in front of the backs as Cork squeezed out all available space. The clearances from Clare in setting up attacks were often going out over the line and appeared to be complicated in the movement.  Cork were more simplistic and found space in front of their target. Darragh Fitzgibbon, Horgan (2) and Cadogan hit the target as Clare stumbled all over the field between the 24th and 30th minute to allow Cork race (1-8) to (0-6) clear.  Jason McCarthy enterd the fray for Oisin O Brien who struggled with Alan Cadogan. John Conlon hauled back a point as did Tony Kelly but once again Patrick Horgan with a brace of points and the title of record scorer in hurling left Cork (1-10) to (0-8) ahead at the break.

David Reidy entered at midfield replacing the ineffective Podge Collins as Aron Shanagher was first on the scoring chart for the new half.  Patrick Horgan continued his rich vein of scoring form before a booming effort from half way by David McInerney narrowed the Cork lead to four points. Once Clare scored Cork did likewise and their ability to flick the ball off the Clare hurl was evident. Shane Kingston, Tony Kelly, Horgan and Colm Galvin hit the target  by the 44th minute. The intervening seven minutes was dominated on the field and the scoreboard by Cork as they added three points from Horgan (2) and Luke Meade to lead (1-16) to (0-12) with twenty minutes remaining. Tony Kelly pointed from play before John Conlon set up Conor McGrath for a well taken goal to breathe life into a faltering Clare challenge. When Kelly pointed in the 55th minute two points divided the sides but once again it was false as Cork never looked under pressure and they rebuilt a five point lead courtesy of  Horgan (2) and Harnedy. Recently introduced substitute Aaron Cunningham pointed with panache on his first touch as Martin Coleman drew a huge cheer with a successful sideline cut. Coleman from play a minute late and Jason McCarthy kept the scoreboard ticking over as the bannermen were now pounding ball on top of the Cork rearguard looking for goal number two.

Tony Kelly (2 frees) narrowed the gap to a goal and when Conor McGrath hit over a great score from play Cork did look for the first time a little threatened but in the true form of champions elect stormed back with the three final scores of the game from top scorer Horgan (2) and Alan Cadogan who alongwith Horgan ended the game with a combined tally of (1-17). Best for Cork included Damian Cahalane, Chris Joyce, Mark Coleman, Alan Cadogan, Seamus Harnedy, Patrick Horgan, Anthony Nash and Stephen McDonnell. Clare tried hard and must for the Tipperary game get ball into a regular formation forward line or else the seven points that was scored directly from the Cork puckouts will be repeated.

 CORK: Anthony Nash (Kanturk), Colm Spillane (Castlelyons), Damian Cahalane (St Finbarr’s), Stephen McDonnell (Glen Rovers), Christopher Joyce (Na Piarsaigh), Mark Ellis (Millstreet), Mark Coleman (Blarney)(0-2), Bill Cooper (Youghal), Darragh Fitzgibbon (Charleville)(0-1), Luke Meade (Newcestown)(0-1), Conor Lehane (Midleton) (0-1), Shane Kingston (Douglas) (0-1), Alan Cadogan (Douglas) (1-4), Seamus Harnedy (St Ita’s)(0-1), Patrick Horgan (Glen Rovers) (0-13).

SUBS: Daniel Kearney (Sarsfields) for Kingston, Luke O’Farrell (Midleton) for Fitzgibbon, Michael Cahalane (Bandon) for Meade (65)
Clare forward Shane

CLARE: Andrew Fahy (Whitegate), Patrick O’Connor (Tubber),David McInerney (Tulla)(0-1), Oisín O’Brien (Clonlara), Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge)(0-1), Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown), David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona), Colm Galvin (Clonlara)(0-1), Tony Kelly (Ballyea)(0-10), Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge), Podge Collins (Cratloe)(0-1), John Conlon (Clonlara)(0-2), Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones)(0-1), Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg), Conor McGrath (Cratloe) (1-1).

SUBS: Jason McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona)(0-1) for O’Brien, David Reidy (Éire Óg) for Collins, Cian Dillon (Crusheen) for O’Connor, Aaron Cunningham (Wolfe Tones)(0-1) for Shanagher, Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin) for Malone.

Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)

MUNSTER SENIOR HURLING SEMI FINAL

posted 5 Jun 2017, 08:40 by John O'Sullivan


CLARE...........3-17         LIMERICK.............2-16

By Michael O Connor.

Objective one achieved for Clare. Summer hurling attained without a backdoor key required. Objective two will now focus in on at worst a competent Munster final effort with success the end result if all facets of the structure succeed. The headlines of this win over Limerick show the key forwards on form backed up by positive efforts on each line. Behind the headlines might read that defensive pace issues continue to exist and that the positioning of Tony Kelly to facilitate others may hinder the overall effectiveness of the team. 

Limerick for their part had a strong Clare with Paul Kinnerk and Joe O Connor heavily involved with the management team as well as Alan Cunningham in the background. Shane Dowling opened the scoring from a free and were aided by the stiff breeze in the opening half. He added a second free by the second free before Conor McGrath opened the Clare account. John Conlon intercepted a ball on the wing and his long drive broke in the Clare square and Shane O Donnell was on hand to first time to the net. David Reidy and Paul Browne (sideline) added points before O Donnell weaved through the Limerick defence for this second goal after 14 minutes. He added a point immediately after and now Clare were six points clear.  Eight points was the gap following points from Colm Galvin and David Reidy as it appeard a champagne display was in the offering from Clare.

The next eight minutes, however quelled any thoughts of immediate all Ireland glory for Clare as Limerick raced through Clare and indeed the banner men were lucky not to concede as much more as they eventually did. Limerick were level courtesy of a David Dempsey goal who was set up by Cian Lynch. Peter Casey, Cian Lynch (2) and Shane Dowling were amongst the point scorers.

Conor Cleary responded from play as Clare regained the lead on the 30th minute mark and the winning of the tie came about with the subsequent strong showing of Clare in the final minutes with scores from Shane O Donnell, David Reidy, Conor McGrath plus a super effort from Conlon that left Clare (2-10) to (1-8) ahead at the break.

 Following the five minutes of Limerick superiority and the Clare recovery to go in five points clear at the break the feeling was that Pat O Connor's side had gained a strong level of control once again.

Clare had two wides from frees by David Reidy in the early moments of the second half as David Dempsey and sub Barry Nash narrowed the Limerick deficit to three points. Both sides shared four points before the 47th minute as Dowling (2) for Limerick with McGrath and Conlon with another great point left Clare (2-12) to (1-12) ahead. Limerick were in control of the game for large tracts of the third quarter but had no punch to hurt Clare. Other more tier 1 teams given same chance would score goals against Clare.

 The crucial score that hurt Limerick beyond repair was a deft flick to the net by Conor McGrath with twenty minutes left to send Clare six clear. Shane Dowling, David Reidy and impressive sub Jason McCarthy added minors to leave Clare seven clear. Both sides emptied their benches with the game in the last 15 minutes. Kyle Hayes and Pat Ryan narrowed the Clare lead to five points. Seadna Morey raced up the field and made no mistake from 60 yards. Aaron Cunningham won a penalty that was sent inches wide by Tony Kelly who was replaced soon after. Ian Galvin who will play for some years for Clare stretched Clare seven clear coming into injury time before Kyle Hayes struck for a consolation goal.

Had it been announced before the game that Aron Shanagher, Podge Collins, Tony Kelly, David Reidy and Colm Galvin would score only one point from play Limerick's odds would have been drastically culled. More to work on for Clare but the potential is there if currently dormant.

Best for Clare included Seadna Morey, David McIneney,  Podge Collins, John Conlon, Jason McCarthy, Shane O Donnell, Conor McGrath, Colm Galvin and Conor Cleary in patches. Limerick showed glimpses of promise but no consistency. An improvement in the latter could see John Kiely's men offer a strong challenge in the qualifiers. Best for the Shannonsiders included Kyle Hayes, Shane Dowling from frees, Paul Browne, Cian Lynch in the first half, Barry Nash, Seamus Hickey, Dan Morrissey and David Dempsey.

CLARE: Andrew Fahy (Whitegate), Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge), David McInerney (Tulla), Patrick O Connor (Tubber), Gearoid O Connell (Ballyea), Conor Cleary (St Josephs)(0-1), David Fitzgerald (Inagh/Kilnamona), Colm Galvin (Clonlara)(0-1), David Reidy (Eire-og)(0-5), Tony Kelly (Ballyea), Podge Collins (Cratloe), John Conlon (Clonlara)(0-2), Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones),  Shane O Donnell (Eire-og) (2-2), Conor McGrath (Cratloe) (1-3). Subs: Jason McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona)(0-1) for O’Connell, Ian Galvin (Clonlara)(0-1) for Collins, Aaron Cunningham (Wolfe Tones) for Shanagher, Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge) for McGrath, Cathal McInerney (Cratloe) for Kelly (69)

LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid (Effin), Sean Finn (Bruff), Richie McCarthy (Blackrock),. Mike Casey (Na Piarsaigh),  Dan Morrissey (Ahane), Declan Hannon (Adare), Seamus Hickey (Murroe/Boher), Paul Browne (Bruff) (0-1), James Ryan (Garryspillane), Shane Dowling (Na Piarsaigh) (0-7), David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh)(1-1),  Cian Lynch (Patrickswell)(0-2), Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh)(0-1), Kyle Hayes (Kildimo/Pallaskenry) (1-1), Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock). Subs: Barry Nash (South Liberties)(0-1) for Mulcahy, Richie English (Doon) for M Casey, Tom Morrissey (Ahane) for Peter Casey,  Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell) for Dowling, Pat Ryan (Doon)(0-1) for Ryan (57).

Referee: James McGrath (Westmeath).

Allianz Hurling League Rd 5

posted 27 Mar 2017, 14:54 by John O'Sullivan

Waterford........................ 2-21              Clare............... 1-22

By Michael O Connor.

One of the most frustrating days experienced in Cusack Park by a Clare GAA team in some time. The ramifications of this heartbreaking result could culminate with Clare returning next weekend to 1B after one year out of the second division.

 Everyone gathered at Clare GAA headquarters in Ennis knew of how much was at stake in this final round tie before a late goal from Waterford substitute Tom Devine secured a third successive away victory for the decies and a league quarter final of the National League against Galway next weekend. For Clare it is now a relegation decider against Dublin.

In front of an attendance of 6,640, hosts Clare had a solid four point lead, holding their own in most areas of the field and at worst would get a share of the spoils to secure a league quarter final place. However, despite having a strong wind at their backs, the holders would be outscored by 1-5 to 0-2 in the last 15 minutes to leave all connected with Clare shellshocked and bemoaning the lack of finance that knockout games in the league series can generate.

Waterford made little of playing away from home as they flew out of the blocks to stun the home side led a Shane Bennett goal to ease 1-3 to 0-0 clear by the fifth minute. Clare did dominate the next 20 minutes but in the final analysis the great start by Waterford allowed them to handle the best Clare could offer and still be within touching distance.

However, the home side finally got into their stride with a 1-6 rally of their own including an excellent Podge Collins goal to leave Clare ahead  1-7 to 1-4 by the end of a high tempo opening quarter. Aron Shanagher set up Collins for his mazy run with a deft crossfield pass. Tony Kelly executed a number of frees to send Clare ahead in this period

With the returning Tony Kelly adding five points  Clare went four clear approaching the midway point. The awarding of three scored frees by referee John Keenan annoyed the Clare support greatly and most definitely kept Derek McGrath's side in the game. Further Pauric Mahony frees either side of the break to gain parity at 1-13 to 1-13 by the 39th minute. Tony Kelly and Austin Gleeson of Waterford

Now backed by the conditions, Clare pushed on with successive points from Tony Kelly, Podge Collins, John Conlon and Cathal McInerney and despite the best efforts of Mahony, they would protect that margin by the turn of the final quarter.

The lack of a coherent defence by Clare allowing their attack minded defenders to go up the field with abandon created huge gaps was the downfall of Clare as they failed to shore up the lead and bit by bit Waterford got back on the scoreboard and were finishing the better side.

However, the impact of Devine from the bench gave Waterford the perfect target as he first pointed before adding a decisive 64th minute goal at the second attempt after goalkeeper Andrew Fahey somehow kept out the initial point blank effort.

Clare now realising that a win was most unlikely they now chased for a equaliser. Even this was not possible as a 77th minute insurance point from Tommy Ryan maintained Waterford on the road 100% record as they reached to the knock-out stages for the third consecutive season.

Best for Waterford included Pauric Mahony, Brian O Halloran Tom Devine, Stephen Bennett, Shane Fives, Tadgh DeBurca, Kevin Moran, Shane McNulty and  Shane Bennett. Clare were superb for 20 minutes of the first half and competitive in the second half but suffered from the concession of some very harsh frees and leaving huge space behind their half back line. Their better performers included  Andrew Fahy, Tony Kelly, Podge Collins, Aron Shanagher, David Fitzgerald, Jason McCarthy and David McInerney. 

CLARE: Andrew Fahey, David McInerney (0-1), Cian Dillon, Seadna Morey, Jason McCarthy (0-1), Conor Cleary, David Fitzgerald, Jamie Shanahan (0-1), Tony Kelly(0-7), Cathal Malone, Podge Collins (1-3), John Conlon (0-2), Aron Shanagher (0-2), Cathal McInerney (0-2), Ian Galvin (0-1). Subs: Aaron Cunningham for I. Galvin, Patrick Donnellan for McCarthy, Colm Galvin for Malone, Bobby Duggan (0-1) for C. McInerney, Paul Flanagan for D. McInerney

WATERFORD: Stephen O’Keeffe, Shane McNulty, Barry Coughlan, Shane Fives, Stephen Daniels,  Tadhg de Burca, Conor Gleeson, Austin Gleeson (0-2), Kevin Moran, Shane Bennett (1-1), Michael Walsh, Pauric Mahony (0-10) Brian O’Halloran (0-2), Stephen Bennett (0-3), Patrick Curran (0-1). Subs: Tom Devine (1-1) for Curran, Mikey Kearney for A. Gleeson, Tommy Ryan (0-1) for O’Halloran, Colin Dunford for Shane Bennett,  Stephen Roche for Coughlan.

Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow)

National Hurling League Rd 2

posted 20 Feb 2017, 05:35 by John O'Sullivan

CLARE.................2-19     KILKENNY...................0-12

By Michael O Connor.

Clare's league assault is back on track after a week of gloom had transcended the hurling heartland following a below par display against Cork. The common perception existed that Kilkenny would heap more early season misery. What emerged was quite different and refreshing.

Following the supposed shock win over Cork by Dublin the previous evening a result in this game was now imperative for Clare if Dublin were to get a result in another game prior to the showdown with Dublin in Cusack Park. What transpired was a hurling lesson handed out to Kilkenny, a reality that rarely happens

The Kilkenny warm up on pitch consisted of one man with a bag of sliotars whilst Clare had an impressive set up waiting for the team upon arrival onto the pitch.

Kilkenny possessed the stiff breeze for the opening half as Aaron Shanagher had the opening score after a long delivery from Jamie Shanahan. The Clare team were in front by four seconds later after a one two with Shanagher ended with Aaron Cunningham goaling to be followed by another Aaron Shanagher point from play as the Wolfe Tones clubmen were in control. Shanagher continued this good vein of from winning a free pointed by David Reidy. Kilkenny's Cillian Buckley had the first attack for his side but his goal effort was wide of Donal Touhy's goal after a blistering opening five minutes action. Liam Blanchfield sent a scorable free wide before  TJ Reid with a free finally got Clare off the mark after 8 minutes action in Cusack Park.

David Reidy restored a 6 point lead after 10 minutes from a convertd 65 as Clare with long deliveries into the corner were stretchng Kilkenny until they got to grips with is as Conor Fogarty added the visitors second score. David Reidy added another pointed free in the 13th minute as both sides gave spectators much to enjoy with hard fast hurling before once again another David Reidy free stretched Clare seven clear after 18 minutes only for TJ Reid to respond with a like score almost immediately.

David Reidy worked hard to hold onto possession before offloading to David Fitzgerald and his effort sneaked in between the posts after 22 minutes as Kilkenny trailed (1-7) to (0-3) yet staying in close contact. TJ Reid hit back with another successful Kilkenny free as the game entered the final ten minutes of the opening half. Donal Touhy ran out over a incoming ball and it ended up with Conor Fogarty putting the ball over the bar to narrow the Clare lead to five as David Fitzgerald hit Clare's first wide in the 27th minute. David Reidy ended a great move hitting the post and the rebound was sent wide by Aron Shanagher who first timed. Eoin Murphy sent over a huge free from inside his own half and now Clare who looked so dynamic needed scores from any angle to stem the tide and up popped Podge Collins in the 31st minute. Again old failings emerged as Clare over elaborated and lost a number of clear point chances. This did not unduly matter to them on the day as they held a six point lead entering injury time in the first half as Donal Touhy made a double save from Richie Leahy conceding a 65 second over by Reid. The Ballyhale shamrocks man added another score, this time from play near the end of injury time to leave Clare nervous (1-9) to (0-8) interval leaders.

David Reidy had the first scoring chance of the new half after Cathal Malone was heavily fouled and the Eire-og made no mistake two minutes into the second half as Richie Hogan was now at centre forward. TJ Reid narrowed the deficit to four once more before a great score from Cillian Buckley left just  the goal in it after 41 minutes before Aron Shanagher hit back for his third score of the day. John Conlon was now out the field and working hard to win the dirty ball to keep Clare in contention in front of 7395 spectators. The regularity of scores collapsed for the intervening ten minutes until Richie Leahy and Podge Collins exchanged scores in the 51st minute as the Clare forward line appeared to be failing under pressure but on the other hand Kilkenny could not make and inroads as substitute Cathal McInerney scored a valuable point after 53 minutes as Clare led (1-13) to (0-11). Clare added scores from Reidy (free) and Cathal McInerney by the 58th minute.

Kilkenny won a penalty conceded by Cian Dillon but TJ Reid's effort was stopped by Donal Touhy at the expense of a 65 sent over by Reid after 62 minutes. John Conlon and Shanager (free) after foul on McInerney secured the win with 7 minutes of normal time remaining as Clare stretched (1-17) to (0-12) ahead. The match winning score came from McInerney setting up Malone who raced through before releasing Shanagher for a well taken goal. Jason McCarthy added a point within 20 seconds as Clare were now double scores ahead and ensuring parity with Kilkenny Dublin and Cork in what could be a relegation dogfight.

Scorers for Clare: David Reidy (6f, 1’65) 0-7; Aron Shanagher (1f) 1-4; Aaron Cunnngham 1-0; Podge Collins, Cathal McInerney 0-2 each; David Fitzgerald, John Conlon, Jason McCarthy, Peter Duggan (’65) 0-1 each

Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid (4f, 2’65) 0-7; Conor Fogarty 0-2; Eoin Murphy (1f), Cillian Buckley, Richie Leahy 0-1 each

CLARE: Donal Touhy, Oisin O Brien,  Cian Dillon, Seadna Morey, Brendan Bugler, Conor Cleary,  David Fitzgerald, Jamie Shanahan, David Reidy ,  Aaron Cunningham, Podge Collins, Cathal Malone, Aaron Shanagher, John Conlon, Shane O Donnell. Subs: Cathal McInerney for Cunningham, Jason McCarthy for Reidy, Peter Duggan for Malone, Pat Donnellan for Bugler,  Shane Golden for Shanahan,

 KILKENNY: Eoin Murphy, Evan Cody, Padraig Walsh Conor O Shea, Joey Holden, Paul Murphy, Kieran Joyce, Conor Fogarty, Cillian Buckley,  Liam Blanchfield, TJ Reid, Richie Leahy, Richie Hogan, Walter Walsh, Kevin Kelly. Subs: John Joe Farrell for W Walsh, Shane Prendergast for  Cody, James Maher for Hogan, Ollie Walsh for Kelly

Referee: James Owens

County Senior Hurling Final Replay

posted 1 Nov 2016, 04:39 by John O'Sullivan


BALLYEA.............2-14        CLONLARA............1-14

By Michael O Connor.

Raw emotion took over Cusack Park recently as Ballyea supported by clubs from their hinterland and afar invaded headquarters after referee Damian Fox blew the long whistle to laud their heroes who delivered the first ever county hurling title to a parish that aptly has a townland known as Paradise.

Since the turn of the millenium 11 different Clare hurling clubs out of 20 and most recently have won at least one County senior title. Only 4 clubs have namely, Crusheen, Cratloe, Clarecastle and Sixmilebridge have won more than one title since 2000. Ballyea are now in this club and most importantly won as had long been expected since the turn of the decade their first ever title before 5058 spectators in ideal hurling conditions.

The opening score in the 2nd minute fell to Clare football captain Gary Brennan and he had a second chance seconds later but sent wide. Ballyea were totally in control as Tony Kelly set up PatJoe Connolly for his sides second point. Indeed Pat Joe sent an eminently open score into the goalie's hand. Ballyea with accuracy could have been five up after four minutes. Clonlara finally got the board with a long range point, much to the relief of his team management.

Gary Brennan saw a 7th minute effort deflected over the bar with the goal waiting to be scored. It was with amazement that supporters of both sides looked on at the gaps that were being opened up in the Clonlara rearguard as Martin O Leary shot tamely at Ger O Connell that was sent out for a 65 converted by Tony Kelly to send Ballyea (0-4) to (0-1) clear. The intensity of Tony Kelly saw a first time delivery sent into the Clonlara square. It broke to Martin O Leary who flicked it  along ground  and Gary Brennan finished to the net. Clonlara were now 6 in arrears and that was reduced to five with a Cathal O Connell free after 12 minutes.  John Conlon narrowed it to four seconds later from play as somehow it felt that Ballyea might have blown out their best. Michael O Loughlin scored a hard earned point. Brian Carrigg dispossessed Cathal O Connell as he was about to shoot for goal. Within a minute the ball was in the Clonlara net as Niall Deasy raced unchallenged for goal and Ballyea were (2-4) to (0-4) clear after 16 minutes. Cormac O Donovan was switched perhaps too late on Niall Deasy to curb his influence on the wing.

Cathal O Connell hit back from a free as Clonlara over the following five minutes at best curtailed Ballyea's attacking prowess and indeed hit two Cathal O Connell frees to reduce the deficit to four points entering the final five minutes. Niall Deasy was well contained in the second quarter after his early exploits as Nicky O Connell was now sweeping but more was to come for Deasy in the second half.

Cathal O Connell who had a profitable hour from frees  had his fourth score before corner back Joe Neylon was a folk hero with a great effort as the last score of the half fell to Colm Galvin to leave three points between the sides (2-5) to (0-8) at the break.

The Intensity of exchanges increased markedly in the second half as the referee allowed the game to be played at hard but fair level. Niall Deasy restored the four point lead with the first score of the new half before Cathal O Connell, Brian Carrigg and a great score from Darach Honan all by the 36th minute saw Ballyea hold a (2-7) to (0-10) advantage.

No matter how much Clonlara showed flashes of brilliance they could not score and simply hoofing the ball to the left hand side of John Conlon did not deliver much despite a much improved effort by Conlon from the drawn game. In the space of two minutes Ballyea  went from three to five points clear as Tony Kelly (free) and a great crossfield ball from Kelly to the onrushing Jack Browne ended with the full back on target. This score meant that the entire Ballyea full back scored and their three point tally was the difference in the end between the sides.

Colm Galvin and Cathal O Connell narrowed the deficit to three as Clonlara had to defend in depth to deny a succession of Ballyea efforts from a variety of attackers as surprisingly Cormac O Donovan who was struggling but could have been moved elsewhere was instead subbed. Clonlara against the run of play struck for a goal and a well executed one at that from John Conlon. There was mild controversy when John Conlon's argued that a point effort was waved wide. The sides were level in the 47th minute and continued to be so by the 54th minute as the action was relentless with both sides striking for two points each courtesy of Tony Kelly, Niall Deasy and Cathal O Connell (2).

 Ballyea took the lead with a Niall Deasy free in the 57th minute as Clonlara were in dire need of an equaliser as the clock ticked towards sixty. It was Ballyea that got the next score as Damian Burke found himself unmarked and he sent the ball over for a two point lead. This became three as Tony Kelly was on hand in the 61st minute. One last effort of nailbiting hurling fell to Clonlara as Darach Honan was pulled down  by Gearoid O Connell. The free was cleared  and the last ball sent in by Clonlara was caught majestically in the air by Jack Browne and within seconds Ballyea were county champions for the first time in Clare GAA history.

BALLYEA:  Kevin Sheehan, Joe Neylon (0-1), Jack Browne (0-1), Brian Carrigg (0-1), Paul Flanagan, Gearoid O Connell, James Murphy Tony Kelly (0-4), Stan Lineen,  Niall Deasy (1-3), Pat Joe Connolly (0-1), Cathal Doohan, Martin O Leary, Gary  Brennan (1-2), Pearse Lillis. Subs: Damian Burke (0-1) for O Leary, David Egan for  Connolly.

CLONLARA: Ger O Connell,  Cillian Fennessy, Domhnall O Donovan, Gareth Kennedy, Nicky O Connell (0-1) Neil Ryan Oisin O Brien, Cormac  O Donovan,  Colm Galvin (0-2), Darach Honan (0-1), James Hastings, Ger Powell, Cathal O Connell (0-8), John Conlon (1-1), Michael O Loughlin (0-1) Subs: Shane O Brien for N Ryan, Pat O Hare for Cormac O Donovan, Padraic O Loughlin for O Hare, David Fitzgerald for Galvin.

Referee: Damien Fox (Clooney/Quin).

After the game former county board chairperson and lifelong Ballyea clubman Michael O Neill was invited by county chairman Joe Cooney to present the canon hamilton cup to Ballyea captain Stan Lineen. Christy Ryan representing Martin Donnelly presented the top score award to Tony Kelly as Joe Cooney presented the man of the match award to Niall Deasy.


ALL IRELAND INTERMEDIATE HURLING FINAL

posted 7 Aug 2016, 10:58 by John O'Sullivan


KILKENNY...................5-16       CLARE.................1-16
By Michael O Connor.
Low key but still an All Ireland final. That was the bottom line for both sides in Semple Stadium. What transpired was never expected by either side but the five goal salvo created and delivered with Kilkenny efficiency ended this game by goal three as a physically lighter Clare side tried to their limits but were never in contention after twenty minutes.
Kilkenny were playing only their second game in the competition whilst Clare had overcame Limerick after extra time and were chasing their second ever title in this grade following their inaugural 2011 success, also against Kilkenny. The leinster champions made five changes to the side from the provincial final meaning business that alerted many to their desire for continued success. Clare had two changes from the Munster final starting lineout
Alan Murphy was quickly into the referee's notepad for a heavy frontal challenge on Shane Taylor who had to retire after less than one minutes action as he was replaced by Dara Walsh. The paltry attendance of 1,401 in what was only 6th game in the whole competition saw opening minutes of little real fare to entice more of this competition in the intervening years.
The game's first score fell to Doora Barefield's Davy Conroy with a long range effort before in the 8th minute Danny Russell set up Kevin Hehir for the Clare sides second score. Hehir turned provider with a surging run through the centre after being set up by Mikey O Neill. His flick pass on the edge of the square was finished brilliantly to the net by Ryan Taylor as Clare were now (1-2) to (0-0) clear after 10 minutes of Semple Stadium action.
 Kilkenny hit three wides before a soft goal conceded by Clare as Nicky Cleere got the ball over the line in the 13th minute seemed to unsteady Clare that after a positive start allowed Kilkenny majority possession the following couple minute. This was ended with a 16th minute Shane McGrath score that he help initiate when he won possession at midfield.
Jack Langton responded for the first Kilkenny point from 75metres before once again Clare were soft at the back. A high ball sent in by Alan Murphy was flicked to the net by John Walsh evading the outrushing Daniel Vaughan. Kilkenny were now a point clear after 17 minutes, Danny Russell scored a wonderful effort to level matters. Disaster number 3 was not far away another high ball caused trouble for a slight Clare full back line and it fell to Billy Ryan who blasted past Daniel Vaughan to send the Leinster champions (3-1) to (0-7) clear after 19 minutes. Kevin Hehir was next to score with his second of the first half as Nicky Cleere with a rare Kilkenny free was successful before once again the Clare goal was breached for the fourth time as Luke Scanlon raced clear from a breaking ball and gave Daniel Vaughan no chance. Kilkenny's Nicky Cleere added another free as seven points now separated the sides that soon became eight with Luke Scanlon on target.
A Shane McGrath free lifted the siege but only momentarily as another Nicky Cleere free was sent over. The final score of the half was a Shane McGrath free as Clare were in serious trouble and nothing less than two goals would bring them back into the game. Half time score Kilkenny (4-5) Clare (1-7). The physical stature of the Kilkenny side was overwhelming Clare in key defensive positions.
A Jason McCarthy point settled the Clare nerve early in the second half but once more the willingness of Kilkenny to go into the tackle hard but fair was too much for the lighter Clare players to absorb and contend with. Another issue was the Clare fouling around the body of the inrushing Kilkenny midfielders and forwards that proved profitable for  their freetakers.
Shane McGrath kept Clare in the game with another free as now a goal was paramount for Clare without conceding scores. A controversial free in the eyes of Clare supporters was sent wide by Nicky Cleere. This let off was kind to Clare as McGrath added another free in the 41st minute to narrow the deficit to five points. A speculative effort from Billy Ryan was over the bar after a pressurised clearance from Daniel Vaughan fell his way. Only frees from McGrath was ensuring Clare supporters had a reason to care about the final quarter. Indecision in the Clare rearguard led to John Walsh on score Kilkenny's 20th point. Sustained pressure from Clare led to a well worked Jason McCarthy point entering the final quarter. Just as Clare got a foothold Pat O Grady's men attacked and another piece of poor defending allowed Billy Ryan another score. McGrath converted a foul on Hehir who was back in the game after a promising opening 10 minutes. Again another free converted by Kilkenny, this time by Alan Murphy kept 6 points between the sides entering the last ten minutes. Kilkenny's ability to concede frees 50m from goal was classical to deny Clare any form of a goal chance to make the game competitive. McGrath with his 8th an 9th scores narrowed it to four before Billy Ryan and Alan Murphy restored an invaluable six point lead and this was the end of the Clare challenge as Kilkenny tagged on scores as Evan Cody received a second yellow card as John Walsh rounded off with his side's fifth goal.
The Kilkenny full forward line scored (3-10) with the vast majority emanating from play as they overran their opponents with ease. Others from the winners to shine included Luke Hickey, Conor Delaney, Luke Scanlon, Alan Murphy and Tom Alyward. Clare had honest performers in Shane McGrath who was for me the most consistent player on the field aided well by Kevin Hehir, Jason McCarthy with Danny Russell and Ryan Taylor early on.
KILKENNY:  Aaron Duggan (Dicksboro), Evan Cody (Dicksboro), Tom Aylward (Mullinavat), Luke Hickey (James Stephens), Jason Cleere (Bennettsbridge), Conor Delaney (Erin’s Own), Jeoff Brennan (St Patrick’s), Jack Langton (Clara)(0-1),  Luke Scanlon (James Stephens)(1-2), Alan Murphy (Glenmore)(0-2), Conor Tobin (Fenians),  Richy Leahy (Rower Inistioge), Billy Ryan (Graigue Ballycallan) (1-4), Nicky Cleere (Bennettsbridge)(1-4), John Walsh (Mullinavat) (2-2).
Subs:  Sean Morrissey (Bennettsbridge)(0-1) for Tobin (45), Jack McGrath (James Stephens) for Leahy (54), Shane Donnelly (St Lachtain’s) for Murphy (60)
CLARE: Daniel Vaughan (Tulla), Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones), Eoin Quirke (Whitegate), Ciaran Cooney (O’Callaghan’s Mills),  Aidan McGuane (Kilmaley), Shane Taylor (Broadford), Jason McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona) (0-2), David Conroy (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield), Kevin Hehir (Inagh-Kilnamona)(0-3), Oisin Donnellan (Feakle),  Shane McGrath (Feakle) (0-10), Daragh Corry (Tulla), Danny Russell (Éire Óg)(0-1),  Michael O’Neill (Kilmaley), Ryan Taylor (Clooney-Quin)(1-0)
SUBS:  Dara Walsh (Éire Óg) for Taylor (2, inj), Eoin Enright (Kilmaley) for Hayes (HT), Paraic O’Loughlin (Clonlara) for Donnellan (40).
Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow)

All Ireland Senior Hurling Qualifier Rd 2

posted 11 Jul 2016, 03:14 by John O'Sullivan


CLARE....................0-19      LIMERICK....................0-15

By Michael O Connor.

The real championship was now in play with a sense of sulphur looming over nearly every camp that lost. Did national league success really matter if the championship run ended in Semple Stadium and over two weeks before the Galway races?

The runaway success against Laois answered no questions regarding the Clare make up except there was hunger to score heavily. It was pointed out by the hurling number crunchers that since the 2013 title win Clare had managed only meagre wins in qualifier games and that a statement of intent was needed if Clare were to be meaningful All Ireland contenders come quarter final stage. In front of David Fitzgerald's charges were a Limerick side that struggled past a game Westmeath side in Mullingar with suggestions that not all was ideal in terms of Limerick's preparations all season. Following the game Limerick manager TJ Ryan intimated that his three year run as manager would be under serious question as to if he would continue with the strong suggestion that he will step down in the coming days.

The continued absence due to injury of Conor McGrath was a key downer for Clare as they could ill afford the loss of their proven championship performer despite having what appeared to be a strong forward division waiting on the line.

 Aron Shanagher opened the scoring after 15 seconds as Tony Kelly was left isolated at full forward by Clare at the throw in only for Shane Dowling to respond with a 70 metre seconds later. John Conlon hit the side netting after evading his marker before Kevin Downes scored an excellent effort.  Darragh O Donovan added a third Limerick score after 6minutes as Clare were finding it difficult to get past the Shannonsiders half back line and were reduced to long range efforts that did not find the desired target. If anything a more motivated Limerick line and players were taking the game to Clare. The next scores came in the space of 30 seconds as Dowling (free) and John Conlon (free). Brendan Bugler cleared the ball of the Clare line as a goalward effort by Dowling was sent out for a 65 that the Na piarsaigh man scored.

Padraic Collins and David McInerney appeared to inject new impetus into Clare as Limerick faltered a little with a point apiece in the 18th and 19th minutes respectively. A huge puck out from Andrew Fahy ended with  Shane O Donnell on the scoreboard as Clare were now clearly on the frontfoot. Limerick failed to score for the last twenty minutes of the first half as Clare hit nine unanswered scores in this period. O Donnell's score sent Clare ahead for the first time since the opening minute. The standard of fare was at best tedious to watch as neither side appeared capable of motivated to score a goal. Cian Dillon was the playmaker for Clare as he took 8 short puck outs from goalkeeper Andrew Fahy.

Padraic Collins and two efforts from Tony Kelly left Clare (0-9) to (0-5) in front with three minutes remaining in the first half as Limerick who were in possession of the ball often enough to score if the ability existed were just hanging on and were thankful that Clare were also unable to score with Kilkenny like ruthlessness. Shane O Donnell who was benefitting from a looser role around the forward line converted another point and it was Tony Kelly who rounded off the opening half scoring to leave Clare (0-11) to (0-5) ahead at the break.

A safe start to the opening ten minutes for Clare in the new half would see them into the last 6 was the common perception. That theory would have been stronger with a goal to aid the scoreline but that option on the day was as rare as a white blackbird. Limerick made two replacements and one of those, namely Gearoid Hegarty had the first score of the new half.  Within two minutes Shane Dowling sent over another free before Tony Kelly and Shane O Donnell responded to negate the positive Limerick start.

Limerick threw off the shackles somewhat led by Diarmuid Byrnes and it did upset Clare who could not build up a bank of scores to definitively say the game was over as a contest. Tony Kelly, Diarmuid Byrnes and James Ryan added to the scoresheet by the 47th minute to leave Limerick (0-14) to (0-9) in arrears.  The intervening 15 minutes was far more entertaining than the previous 45 minutes but still it would require a goal from Limerick to win the game and as Clare were matching Limerick effectively score for score it was beyond the reach for Limerick to win the game. Paul Browne, Diarmuid Byrnes (2), Shane Dowling, Tony Kelly and Jack Browne were the 6 point scores entering the final ten minutes with Clare holding a (0-16) to (0-13) lead.

The last ten minutes of normal time did have exciting moments but only two points with Kelly and Dowling each with a free on the mark as Clare hung onto the three point lead with five minutes of injury time to play.  Aron Shanagher won was a fortunate penalty in the eyes of many in the 71st minute that Tony Kelly chose to put over the bar. James Ryan hit back from play before a trademark late score from play by Kelly sent Clare through as four point winners with the least amount of fuss and spectacle.

CLARE: Andrew Fahy, Oisin O Brien, Cian Dillon, Patrick O Connor, Brendan Bugler, David McInerney (0-1), Jack Browne (0-1), Conor Cleary, David Reidy, Colm Galvin, Tony Kelly (0-9), John Conlon (0-1), Padraic Collins (0-3), Shane O Donnell (0-3), Aron Shanagher (0-1). SUBS: Aaron Cunningham for Conlon,  David Fitzgerald for Browne

LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid, Tom Condon, Richie McCarthy, Richie English, Diarmuid Byrnes (0-3), Gavin O Mahony, Paudie O Brien, Paul Browne (0-1), Darragh O Donovan (0-1), Declan Hannon, James Ryan (0-2), Cian Lynch, Kevin Downes (0-10, Shane Dowling (0-6), Graeme Mulcahy. SUBS:  Tom Morrissey  for O’Donovan,  Gearoid Hegarty (0-1)  for Hannon, Seamus Hickey for O’Brien,  Barry Nash for Mulcahy,  Alan Dempsey  for English.

Referee: James Owens (Wexford).

In the preceding qualifier game Wexford created a shock of some proportion defeating Cork and the raw emotion of their supporters brought alive Semple stadium and maybe the championship.

Senior Hurling Qualifier Rd 1

posted 3 Jul 2016, 12:46 by John O'Sullivan

CLARE..............5 32         LAOIS...............0-12

By Michael O Connor.

 

A game to forget for those looking for a contest was the fear for what transpired to be a sizable  attendance of 5,518 for this round 1 qualifier in Cusack Park on Saturday evening. The oddsmakers who were stung later for the first goalscorer after unsure information from media outlets offered Clare at even money at -17 points. As it turned out they could have offered -34 and still pundits would have won such was the paucity of Cheddar Plunett's charges.

 Clare were forced to change regular net minder Patrick Kelly who suffered a ligament leg injury as Whitegate's Andrew Fahy made his senior inter county championship debut. The Whitegate man was in goal when Clare won the 2011 Intermediate All Ireland crown. Conor McGrath was also ruled out and he was replaced by Aron Shanagher as the bookies had Clare marked up for the easiest of wins. There was little change other wise to the Clare side from earlier outings in the league and championship as David McInerney who earlier in the season was touted to be missing most of the year was in for the start. Darach Honan who disappointed in championship action was untogged along with a multitude of panellists.

Charles Dwyer was on hand with the first score after 5 seconds as Aron Shanagher saw a goal effort saved then the rebound going wide. As Tony Kelly was now on frees due to the absence of McGrath the expectancy was there for a bountiful return from the Ballyea sharpshooter. He didnt fail in this regard and was on the mark after three minutes for Clare's first score. Clare hit two wides before David Reidy saw his effort saved on the line but Shane O Donnell who had a barren time in front of goal all season poked the rebound to the net in the 5th minute. Laois possess for the last half decade one of the best forwards in hurling in the person of Willie Hyland and a lot of what they play goes through the Clough Ballacolla man. Laois goalkeeper Enda Rowland was on hand to send over a long range free after nine minutes before PJ Scully added another Laois free after 12 minutes as Clare failed to score from the 5th to the 14th minute when once again Tony Kelly converted the easiest of frees. One of the best scores of the day fell to Podge Collins after 15 minutes before John Conlon and Tony Kelly added further points by the end of the first quarter to open up a five point lead.

Clare forward striking was causing distress for the Clare management as long ball to nowhere or no one in particular and against better opponents scores would have been conceded such was the possession giveaway. Willie Dunphy responded with a Laois point after Conor Cleary failed to clear the ball in front of goal. David McInerney (2), Neil Foyle, Tony Kelly (2) and Conor Cleary were all point scorers by the 30th minute as the home side were stretching clear on a (1-10) to (0-5) lead. The last five minutes of the half ended all hope of an entertaining second half as Clare stepped up a gear on the field adding (1-4) without reply. Colm Galvin (2), Tony Kelly and John Conlon took the point chances as Aron Shanagher hit the first of his eventual hat trick to leave Clare 15 clear, (2-14) to (0-5) ahead at the break.

Clare did the basics right and any real analysis on the game would hinge on a woeful Laois effort and perhaps 15 minutes of the first half that saw Clare malfunction in the scoring stakes. Clare supporters all over the ground engaged themselves on their phones for the second half regaling friends with updates from Pairc Ui Rinn instead of watching the game. Clare hit Laois hard for eight points in a row in the opening ten minutes of the second half to open up a mammoth 23 point lead with Tony Kelly (3), Shane O Donnell, Davy McInerney, Podge Collins, Aron Shanagher and Conor Cleary on target. Willie Hyland broke up the scoring sequence  before Tony Kelly, Cathal O Connell (who replaced Kelly) and two Shanagher goals sunk Laois deeper into the mire and 29 points behind. Laois goalkeeper Enda Rowland who was in this scribe's opinion his sides best player denied Clare at least three goals and scored two points from frees into the bargain. Mark Kavanagh, Matt Whelan and Willie Hyland (2) rounded off the Leinster sides scoring as Clare still managed a further (1-6) as Podge Collins had his sides 5th and final goal as Laois ended with 13 players as Charlie Dwyer and Ben Conroy both received two yellow cards during the game.

 Best for the winners included Shane O Donnell, Tony Kelly, Aron Shanagher,  David McInerney, Cian Dillon, Pat O Connor, Colm Galvin, Cathal O Connell and Conor Cleary. Enda Rowland, Patrick Purcell, Willie Hyland, Cahir Healy until injury forced his removal and Charles Dwyer tried hardest for Laois

 

CLARE:  Andrew Fahey (Whitegate), Cian Dillon (Crusheen), Patrick O’Connor (Tubber), Oisin O’Brien (Clonlara), Jack Browne (Ballyea), David McInerney (Tulla) (0-3),  Brendan Bugler (Whitegate), Conor Cleary (Kilmaley) (0-2), David Reidy (Éire Óg), John Conlon (Clonlara) (0-2), Padraic Collins (Cratloe) (1-3),  Colm Galvin (Clonlara)(0-2), Tony Kelly (Ballyea) (0-10), Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg) (1-3), Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones)(3-1).

Subs: David Fitzgerald for McInerney, Shane Golden (0-1) for Reidy, Seadna Morey for Cleary, Cathal O Connell for Kelly, Colin Ryan for Conlon,

LAOIS: Enda Rowland (0-2), Dwane Palmer, Cahir Healy, Leigh Bergin, Matt Whelan (0-1), Ryan Mullaney, Patrick Purcell, Colm Stapleton, Charles Dwyer (0-2), Neil Foyle  (0-1), Ben Conroy, John Lennon, Willie Hyland  (0-3), Pj Scully (0-1), Willie Dunphy (0-1). Subs: Ross King for Leigh Bergin (inj), Mark Kavanagh for Scully, Darren Maher for Stapleton, Joe Phelan for Willie Dunphy,

Refere: Barry Kelly (Westmeath)

MUNSTER SENIOR HURLING SEMI FINAL

posted 6 Jun 2016, 07:18 by John O'Sullivan


WATERFORD...................1-21         CLARE................0-17

By Michael O Connor

    The intense heat and faster ground that welcomed both teams to Thurles was light years away from the conditions prevalent when they met in the two league finals less than a month ago. Clare were delighted to win the league final but with respect to the Decies June 5th was the first time they could say they were putting on the field their best or close to same 15 players. The return of Maurice Shanahan and Mahony were warning signs that Clare could not ignore. From a Clare perspective David McInerney, Aaron Cunningham and John Conlon were deemed long term injury victims and it simply amazing to see that they could play any part on Sunday. Great to see such unnaturally fast recoveries but will it have long term consequences?

Waterford had a sensational start to proceedings when Austin Gleeson was accurate after 20 seconds and the ball was in the Clare net with less than two minutes played. A high ball sent in from the side was missed by all and Maurice Shanahan had the unexpected easy finish to the Clare net. David Reidy was denied a Clare goal just before this action when his well hit shot was saved brilliantly by Stephen O Keeffe at the expense of a 65 that was sent wide by Conor McGrath.

This body blow to Clare and concession of scores was curtailed by Clare when they settled and the game began to see saw from end to end. Conor McGrath got the Bannermen off the mark as Conor Cleary added a second after six minutes. Seven minutes elapsed before the next score that once again fell the way of Davy Fitzgerald's side as a booming effort from Colm Galvin. Waterford team captain Kevin Moran who had been underperforming in the league final meetings hit over a well taken effort after 14 minutes before Padraic Collins levelled matters within a minute. Austin Gleeson and Tony  Kelly in particular scored wonderful efforts in the 20th and 22nd minutes respectively. Maurice Shanahan, Padraic Collins, Shane Bennett were amongst those who scored in the final ten minutes as neither side could stamp their authority on proceedings and thankfully from Clare's perspective they contained Waterford despite not making greater inroads on the scoresheet. Half time Waterford (1-9) Clare (0-8)

The first action of the new half saw Tony Kelly drive a 65 wide from out near the sideline as Clare no had used three different freetakers. It was now apparent that Clare needed Colin Ryan on the field to at least fix this issue as it was now gone beyond redemption. Just as Clare urgently required a solid scoring start to the second half it was Waterford who effectively closed out the game with three points in the opening four minutes from Pauric Mahony and Austin Gleeson who was now to all intents scoring with each touch to leave Waterford (1-12) to (0-8) clear.

Conor McGrath from a 40th minute free and Philip Mahony exchanged points as Brendan Bugler took matters into his own hands with a booming effort from inside his own half. Mahony (2), Colin Ruan (65) and David Fitzgerald from play all by the 48th minute still saw Clare in arrears by six points.

A huge cheer greeted the arrival onto the field of Davy McInerney who was greeted with hard shoulders by Waterford defenders. McInerney's His first touch saw the Tulla man solo upfield and was just wide. However, he gave up the ball twice that led to two Waterford scores including Austin Gleeson's score that put five between the sides once more at a crucial time. That score stifled the Clare fightback that had gained momentum and reduced the deficit to four points as David Reidy and Cathal O Connell had been on target. Kevin Moran increased the lead to the previous six points in the 57th  minute. Colin Ryan and Moran once more after 62 minutes ensured this gap remained in place.

It must be accepted that Clare whilst playing within themselves did keep taking the battle to Waterford who now simply had to contain and attack from deep to win the game as Clare required goals to ensure a competitive last five minutes. Austin Gleeson, Cathal O Connell, Jake Dillon, Maurice Shanahan with one outlandish score rounded off the second half scoring. The early concession of a goal by Clare, the save by O Keeffe from Reidy, the off colour nature off Clare freetaking and simply being out hurled for 40 minutes sent Clare on the qualifier route and a possible clash with Laois, Wexford, Westmeath or Cork.

Waterford dominated and controlled the game with strong performances from Stephen O Keeffe, Austin Gleeson, Kevin Moran Pauric Mahony, Maurice Shanahan, Shane Fives and Tadgh DeBurca. Once again Cian Dillon played his role to a high standard even though a little more under pressure than during the league. Others who tried hard but seemed to fade in the second half included Conor Cleary, David Reidy, Brendan Bugler, Colm Galvin early on, Padraic Collins, Tony Kelly as Cathal O Connell looked busy when introduced.

CLARE: P Kelly; C Dillon, P O'Connor, C Cleary (0-1); O O'Brien, B Bugler (0-1), D Fitzgerald (0-1); D Reidy (0-1), C Galvin (0-1), P Collins (0-2), T Kelly (0-1), C McGrath (0-3, 2f); D Honan, S O'Donnell, J Conlon (0-1), Subs: C Ryan (0-2, 65) for Honan 43m; C O'Connell (0-3, 2f) for McGrath 51m; S Golden for Fitzgerald 53m, A Shanagher for Collins 58m; A Cunningham for Galvin 66m;

WATERFORD: S O'Keeffe; N Connors, B Coughlan, S Fives; D Fives (0-1), T De Burca, Philip Mahony (0-1); J Barron, K Moran (0-3); Pauric Mahony (0-6, 5f ), S Bennett (0-1), M Walsh; M Shanahan (1-2), A Gleeson (0-6, I sideline, P Curran. Subs: T Devine for Benett 54m; J Dillon (0-1) for Curran 57m; B O'Halloran for Pauric Mahony, C Dunford for Shanahan 70m; Stephen Bennett for Walsh 74m.

Referee: J Owens (Wexford).

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