Galway 1-23 Clare 1-18 (after extra-time)
Confusion reigned at the end of normal time in this absorbing All-Ireland MHC semi-final but ultimately it was Galway who reacted better to the surprise of the additional 20 minutes.
After finishing all square after 60 minutes, both teams were left perplexed by the provision of extra-time.
With no mention of it in the match programme, on the PA before the game or in the fixture notice during the week, the counties assumed it would take another day to separate the teams.
But after being told they had to fight it out for some more, it was Galway, led by their captain Shane Maloney who shot four points in extra-time, who came out on top.
Still, Tribe manager Mattie Murphy wasn’t too happy with the circumstances.
"Nobody knew about extra-time but sure they don’t need tell us these things," he lashed. "They can reschedule matches as they go along."
Clare’s magnanimous joint-manager Donal Moloney said: "We were in the dark over extra-time — both teams probably deserved another day but we’ve no complaints — Galway deserved their win. I think the biggest problem for us was the sheer size and physicality of Galway wore us down.
"It took everything out of us to battle through the first hour and there was very little left in the tank.
"They had big men all able to hurl. In normal time we had it won and then a late goal and then the width of an upright decided the thing — that’s the way it goes."
That width of an upright at the Davin Stand end was all that came between captain Tony Kelly’s late, difficult free and winning this tie.
After Galway’s Gerard O’Donoghue found the net to level matters a minute into injury-time following a scramble, there was still time for Kelly to strike from long range but his effort ricocheted off the post and extra-time was called.
Clare, who looked destined to win after a convincing first half, were second best throughout extra-time.
Galway were ahead at the half time break, 1-19 to 1-16, after Maloney (twice) and subs Michael Mullins and Jack Carr pointed in contrast to a weary Clare whose only point came from Colm Galvin.
Gavin again and Aaron Cunningham were Clare’s scorers after the turnaround but Maloney bagged himself another brace with Carr and another replacement, Brian Molloy, finding their range.
For Clare it was a cruel way to go out but they’ll be kicking themselves for letting Galway back into the game.
Four points ahead at the normal time interval, 0-9 to 0-5, they saw their lead evaporate by the 42nd minute when Maloney slotted over a free, Galway’s fourth score on the bounce.
An Oisín Hickey goal for Clare in the 50th minute after some fine work by Cunningham seemed to give the Munster men the leg-up they needed to go on and win the game.
But Galway couldn’t be shaken off. A Cunningham point in added time to put Clare ahead by three was immediately followed by O’Donoghue’s ground shot to the Banner net.
It seemed Clare’s game to lose after the first half. They were first off the mark in normal time through Cunningham in the fourth minute but were pegged back almost immediately when Billy Lane followed up with a point after Shane O’Brien had excellently hooked O’Donoghue, who had attempted to goal.
O’Donoghue did get on the scoreboard a minute later before Shane O’Donnell and Maloney exchanged scores.
Maloney’s was the last of Galway’s points for a yawning 14 minutes as Kelly, Cunningham and Cathal O’Connell from a free reeled off three scores in as many minutes.
It was a just reward for their dominance in general play, although O’Donoghue had a second goal opportunity in the 18th minute when doubling the ball after a strong solo run by Lane.
A deft Galvin hand-pass then found O’Connell in space and he duly split the posts.
A Maloney free in the 23rd minute ended Galway’s scoring famine but it was cancelled out a minute later when O’Donnell did so well to strike over the ball.
Lane won another free which Maloney ploughed over to reduce their arrears to two, 0-7 to 0-5, with three minutes left in the half.
O’Connell fired over a quick brace to give them a cushion of four at half time.
How they would have wished for more.
Scorers for Galway: S Maloney 0-10 (7f); G O’Donoghue 1-2; J Carr 0-3; D Higgins, P Brehony 0-2 each; B Lane, J Hanbary,
M Mullins, B Molloy 0-1 each.
Scorers for Clare: C O’Connell 0-5 (3f); A Cunningham 0-4; O Hickey 1-0; T Kelly (1f), C Galvin 0-3 each; S O’Donnell 0-2;
M Moroney 0-1.
GALWAY: S Mannion; O Teagle, P Killeen, C Diviney; J Hanbary, S Sweeney, P Mannion; B Lane, P Brehony; J Flynn, J Glynn, A Tuohy; G O’Donoghue, S Maloney, K Cullinane.
Subs: J Carr for Cullinane (h-t); D Higgins for Tuohy (38); B Molloy for Lane (48); M Mullins for Flynn (54); P Flaherty for O’Donoghue (69); S Caulfield for Killeen (74); B Keane for Hanbary (80).
CLARE: E Quilligan; S O’Brien, J Browne, S Morey; J Colleran, J Shanahan, G O’Connell; C Galvin, T Kelly; P Duggan, C O’Connell, E Enright; S O’Donnell, O Hickey, A Cunningham.
Subs: S Liddy for Enright (39); M Moroney for G O’Connell (46); D Moloney for Liddy (h-t e-t); G O’Connell for Hickey (78).
Referee: Seán Cleere (Kilkenny).