Dubs ease past error prone sluggish Clare side.
All Ireland senior hurling qualifier rd 2
By Michael O Connor.
Dublin the winners, Clare the losers. Thats the bottom line. Errors, lack of pace, poor striking and simply the inferior side sums up Clare’s tame exit from the Championship. Surreal the attendance in Croker but satisfying perhaps nonetheless that the senior side would get an outing at headquarters in hope that maybe more would come in late July. Local knowledge would play a key part in the team selection, planning and positioning of Anthony Dalys’s side. The former Clare manager put pace where Clare had none and accurate skilful forwards against tackle shy defenders as Clare were wiped out in defence.
The late inclusion of Domhnall O Donovan for Nicky O Connell was well heralded in the 24 hours prior to throw in. As Anthony Daly said prior to the game “when you in the darkest corner you have to get out of it”, referring perhaps to the drubbing handed out by Kilkenny. The first score fell to Alan McCrabbe from a free after a foul by Cian Dillon after four minutes of low key action that was started by a wide from a free by Colin Ryan.
Clare were on level terms after 6 minutes following a well taken effort by Clonlara’s John Conlon. Pat Vaughan sent a long range free a foot wide as the standard of fare in the opening 10 minutes was low key with players and formations switching with Fergal Lynch scoring a brilliant effort the highlight with the Clare defence being tested by the Dublin forwards running hard at them. David O Callaghan pointed from play as Conor Cooney was finding Peadar Carton a troublesome opponent. Colin Ryan and Stephen Hiney popped over minors as Clare suffered a severe loss with Pat Vaughan retiring injured with an ankle injury. Nicky O Connell entered the fray with Domhnall O Donovan reverting to corner back.
The old forward passing problems were surfacing as pass were going astray as Clare benefitted better from shooting from afar. Jonathan Clancy was winning no ball in his battle with Stephen Hiney as the Clare full back line were left no protection as Dublin hit nine points in a row from David O Callaghan (4), Alan McCrabbe (3), Shane Durkin and a huge score from Peter Kelly as Cian Dillon was moved from full back with Conor Cooney picking up O Callaghan with Dublin operating a two man full forward line.
With 30 minutes elapsed the game looked over for Clare as they were nine points in arrears, (0-13) to (0-4) as the forwards did not win one ball in the air or ground for 15 minutes. John Conlon and Fergal Lynch swopped roles. Clare’s first score in 15 minutes came from John Conlon but once again the Clare half back line were run off the field as O Callaghan, Jonathan Clancy and Nicky O Connell exchanged scores entering the final moments of a torrential first half of one of the most insipid Clare displays of a generation to retire (0-14) to (0-7) behind at the break.
Clare started the second half with Markham at the edge of the square, Dillon at right corner back, Conlon at right half forward and Lynch at number 11. Clare struck early for the first score in the 36th minute after Honan was fouled with Ryan on target from the free. The Clare defence in compete reverse to first half were now in control and a hat trick of scores from Fergal Lynch who was impressing in the half forward, Nicky O Connell and Darach Honan had the Dublin lead cut to three points as Honan forced a save from Maguire. Colin Ryan pointed the resulting 65 and now only the minimum separated the sides as Conlon sneaked in the ball for a welcome score.
A huge dollup of luck for Dublin against the run of play and an error on the part of Donal Touhy when Peter Kelly’s speculative effort was missed by the outrushing Touhy and the ball bounced unopposed to the net. Dublin were now four points clear once again and the impetus knocked from Clare. Further mishap for Clare occurred seconds later when Patrick Donnellan was forced off the field with an upper body injury to be replaced by Gerry Quinn. Alan McCrabbe (2) stretched the home side lead to six points in the 54th minute as Clare now simply required at least two goals to win the tie. Darach Honan wasted a simple point scoring chance and within seconds the ball was over the ball from Maurice O Brien at the Clare end.
Clutching at straws would be an ample title for the last quarter of the game as Nicky O Connell now at the freetaking duties sent an effort wide to match three from play by the Clare forwards. Simon Lambert and McCrabbe from a sideline and a goal from Simon Lambert ended the game if it was ever in doubt for Clare with a goal with the game entering the final five minutes. It is worth nothing that the Dublin half back line outscored the Clare half forward line by three points and indeed this line was the magnificent foundation on which Dublin secured their win.
In victory, Dublin will feel their development is continuing and 2-22 is an impressive return. The defeat at the hands of Kilkenny is something they had expected and defended in that manner. Against Clare they ran at our key players, and it worked. Their best included Oisin Gough, Tomas Brady, Stephen Hiney, Joe Boland, Peter Kelly, David O Callaghan, Alan McCrabbe and John McCaffrey. Indeed the 14 points, the majority from play by deadly duo McCrabbe and O Callaghan exerted all lifeblood from Clare alongwith the timely goal when Dublin looked at their weakest.
Clare were beaten everywhere and whilst sacrificial lambs are being offered at the altar and the ever popular blame game is underway it was a case of a division 1 team facing a division two side. The loss of Vaughan and a hard working Donnellan weakened the defence with only Fergal Lynch showing well alongwith Brendan Bugler and Brian O Connell early on holding their own to some degree.
DUBLIN: Gary Maguire, Niall Corcoran, Tomas Brady, Oisin Gough, Stephen Hiney (0-2), Joe Boland, Peter Kelly (1-1), John McCaffrey, Maurice O Brien (0-1), Declan O Dwyer (0-1), Liam Rushe (0-1), Shane Durkin(0-1), Peadar Carton, David O Callaghan (0-6), Alan McCrabbe (0-8). Subs: Michael Carton for P Carton, Liam Ryan for O Dwyer, Simon Lambert (1-1) for Durkin, Kevin Flynn for Rushe, Shane Ryan for O Callaghan.
CLARE: Donal Touhy, Pat Vaughan, Cian Dillon, Conor Cooney, Brendan Bugler (0-1), Diarmuid McMahon, Patrick Donnellan, Brian O Connell, Domhnall O Donovan, Sean Collins (0-1), John Conlon (0-3), Jonathan Clancy (0-2), Darach Honan (0-1), Fergal Lynch (0-2), Colin Ryan (0-3). Subs: Nicky O Connell (0-2) for Vaughan (inj), Alan Markham for Collins, David Barrett for Ryan, Gerry Quinn for Donnellan (inj),
REFEREE: John Sexton (Cork)