Stronger Clare dominate second half as LIT falter
Waterford crystal cup quarter final
By Michael O Connor.
Following a display in round 1 of the Crystal cup that could have ended horribly against IT Tralee the banner men rebounded to secure a place in the semi finals at the expense of a LIT side that never looked like troubling Clare despite a spirited display by Willie Hyland.
Clare showed one change from the programme line up with Ciaran O Doherty coming in for Gerry Quinn who suffered a tragic family loss early in the day. LIT showed up with a strong Clare representation in their line up as Eamonn Glynn, Conor Cooney, Patrick Donnellan, Bernard Gaffney and Mark Flaherty made the starting 15.
Fergal Lynch who has showed up well in the early season games opened the scoring and indeed hit a hat trick of scores in the first half. Stephen Lambert from Kilbecanty in South Galway responded for the Limerick college managed once more by Davy Fitzgerald as the bitter cold was a hostile and unwelcome guest to Sixmilebridge as the game scheduled initially for 1pm was delayed for three hours to allow a thaw in the ground. Conor McGrath and Bernard Gaffney exchanged scores as indeed Gaffney should have had the ball in the Clare net after five minutes only to see his effort when one on one with Philip Brennan receive a deflection for a 65 that Gaffney sent over. Mark Flaherty, and Gaffney (2) left LIT on five points after 19 minutes with Colin Ryan and Lynch keeping the home side in touch and two points in arrears. Gaffney who at this stage was the LIT side’s sole avenue for scores hit three wides from scorable frees to let Clare off the hook. After 26 minutes parity was the case in the scoring stakes as Colin Ryan and Danny Morey hit fine efforts from play. Gaffney who was now at centre forward rounded off the first half scoring with two further scores, one from play as Clare took the lead in the final minutes of the first half courtesy of Fergal Lynch, Diarmuid McMahon after a smart handpass from Ryan and Cathal McInerney as they ran to the warmth of the dressingrooms with Clare (0-8) to (0-7) ahead.
Missing the services of NUIG quartet Donal Touhy, Caimin Morey, John Conlon and Domhnall O Donovan Clare had entered the game as outsiders in the bookies eyes but LIT looked far from the finished article without key senior players Canning and Callanan to name but a few for the side who will have a major say in the destination of the Fitzgibbon cup which commences next Thursday.
Conor McGrath who is not on the UL senior panel opened the second half scoring with a smart effort to send Clare two clear before Willie Hyland who had been moved into full forward caused Cian Dillon some trouble scoring three points between the 36th and 40th minutes to send the Limerick college a point clear (0-10) to (0-9) as the lights were now shining brightly in O Garney park. Unfortunately for the Bridge executive who had their pitch and surroundings in pristine condition the scoreboard once again was not working leading Tom Sheehan to announce the score a number of times during the game.
To counteract the Hyland threat Cian Dillon and James McInerney switched roles and it proved a match winner for Ger O Loughlin’s men as McInerney stifled the Laois dangerman and Dillon hurled better at number 6 setting up attacks with his pace. Paul Browne stretched LIT two clear after 46 minutes. Colin Ryan who got through some smart play at midfield and added a number of points was on target in the 47th minute moments before Cian Dillon and COnor McGrath set up Diarmuid McMahon for the game’s first goal as Clare retook the lead. Adrian Donovan replaced Conor Tierney as Cormac O Donovan had entered the fray for Danny Morey at the break. Another solo upfield by Dillon opened the LIT rearguard with the ball getting to McMahon once more as he attempt for a point ended up in the net and Clare now were five clear with twenty minutes remaining after being a point in arrears only three minutes previously.
Willie Hyland (3) and Colin Ryan (2) shared five points between the 50th and 60th minutes to keep frozen spectators somewhat interested as this game was indeed a worthwhile effort for both sides especially Clare who had thrown off the cobwebs of the ITTralee game only 6 days previous. Martin Duggan just introduced forced a great double save from Philip Brennan in the 62nd minute as Brian Glynn from Inagh/Kilnamona joined his elder brother Eamonn on the LIT replacing Sean Tobin. LIT kept in contact with a Paudie O Brien score to leave just a goal in the game with five minutes remaining just before Adrian Donovan secured the win with Clare’s third goal squeezed in between late scores from Colin Ryan and Conor McGrath as Clare were safely into the semi finals of the competition last won in 2009 when they defeated Tipperary in Ogonnelloe.
Clare had solid displays from Mark Earley who impressed, Cian Dillon , Ciaran O Doherty, Liam Markham, James McInerney when moved to the edge of the square. Colin Ryan and Nicky O Connell got through some intelligent play with Fergal Lynch early on, Diarmuid McMahon and Conor McGrath showing up well. Once again Clare look as if the forward play will concern them most once again this season. LIT were served well by Eamonn Glynn, Conor Cooney, Patrick Donnellan, John O Keeffe, Paudie O Brien, Willie Hyland who impressed and Bernard Gaffney who missed and scored with regularity.
CLARE: Philip Brennan, Mark Earley, Cian Dillon, James Gunning, Ciaran O Doherty, James McInerney, Liam Markham, Colin Ryan (0-5), Nicky O Connell, Fergal Lynch (0-3), Diarmuid McMahon (2-1), Conor Tierney, Conor McGrath (0-3), Danny Morey (0-1), Cathal McInerney (0-1). Subs: Cormac O Donovan for Morey, Adrian Donovan 1-0 for Tierney
LIT: Matthew Ryan, Eamonn Glynn, Ciaran Cowen, Conor Cooney, Jason Hayes, Patrick Donnellan, John O Keeffe, Paul Browne (0-1), Paudie O Brien (0-1), Stephen Lambert (0-1), Willie Hyland (0-6), Sean Tobin, Padraig Landers, Bernard Gaffney (0-5), Mark Flaherty (0-1). Subs: Martin Duggan for Landers, Donie Reale for Gaffney, Brian Glynn for Tobin
REFEREE: Michael O Connor (Limerick).