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Clare into League Final

posted 18 Apr 2011, 07:25 by Unknown user   [ updated 18 Apr 2011, 07:28 by Denis Tuohy Agricultural Consultant ]

Clare 4-28        Carlow 0-8 

THIS could have been an afternoon fraught with tension for the Clare hurlers but transpired to be a carefree stroll in Cusack Park, Ennis yesterday.

Defeat to Laois created doubt over Clare’s prospects of reaching the Division 2 decider but, ultimately, they proved to be masters of their own destiny. 

Clare obliterated the Carlow challenge in a game that was as hopelessly one-sided as a glance at the scoreline would suggest. And the clear superiority of Ger O’Loughlin’s men meant there was no need to establish hotlines to Loughiel and Tralee to determine how Antrim and Laois were faring. 

Bursting from the traps, they led 1-15 to 0-4 at the midway point and ran out deserved winners by a 32-point margin. 

"It took us the first quarter to settle down and it did look like Carlow had come on a mission to perform," said Clare boss O’Loughlin. 

"I was a bit worried but once we settled, I thought we showed a bit of class above Carlow. We’ve seen that there are a lot of inconsistencies in our game this season and I just hope we can get some confidence from this win." 

Clare’s superior stickwork and strength in attack enabled them to carve open the Carlow defence at will. Their full-forward line of Conor McGrath, Colin Ryan and Diarmuid McMahon amassed 3-12 as they wreaked havoc on the Carlow inside rearguard. 

Cratloe youngster McGrath continues to adapt impressively to the rigours of senior hurling and his run set up McMahon for Clare’s opening goal. 

Clare’s control failed to cease in the second-half as Ryan slammed home a 20-yard free before Jonathan Clancy finished excellently to the net and McMahon raised his second green flag. 

Carlow had collapsed in key sectors all over the pitch and despite full-back Shane Kavanagh and corner-forward Ruairi Dunbar trying hard to ignite their challenge, this was a chastening experience. 

"We were just pathetic," conceded manager Kevin Ryan. 

"We can’t take any positives from it. It was a nothing game for us and we were missing too many. The lads have been back with their clubs for the last two weeks and it really showed. 

"We’re not that bad and they’re not that good. There was only a point between the teams last year and there isn’t that much between us now. 
But we just didn’t show up (today) and you can’t do that against a team like Clare." 

Clare now have the chance to settle a score with Limerick. 

"We’ve a huge hurdle now against Limerick the next day," said O’Loughlin. "We were beaten by a far better team when we played them earlier on in the league. I’m just hoping the couple of matches and weeks since then will have brought us on. We’ve a very young team and we’ve to focus to get the best out of them." 

Scorers for Clare: D McMahon 2-4, N O’Connell 0-8 (3f, 1 65), C Ryan 1-4 (1-1f), J Clancy 1-3, C McGrath 0-4, J Conlon 0-3, S Collins, C Tierney 0-1 each. 

Scorers for Carlow: R Dunbar 0-4 (1f), P Kehoe 0-2 (1f), J Kavanagh, E Byrne 0-1 each. 

CLARE: D Tuohy; P Vaughan, C Cooney, D O’Donovan; P O’Connor, C Dillon, P Donnellan; N O’Connell, L Markham; J Conlon, F Lynch, J Clancy; C McGrath, D McMahon, C Ryan. 

Subs: M Earley for O’Donovan (blood) (15), O’Donovan for Earley (20), G Quinn for O’Connor (53), C McInerney for McGrath (53), S Collins for Lynch (59), B Bugler for Markham (61), C Tierney for Ryan (65). 

CARLOW: N Roberts; A Corcoran, S Kavanagh, B Doyle; D Shaw, D Kavanagh, R Coady; J Kavanagh, J Rogers; A McDonald, E Byrne, J Doyle; C Doyle, E Nolan, R Dunbar. 

Subs: P Kehoe for B Doyle (25), HP O’Byrne for D Kavanagh (ht), K McCabe for McDonald (ht), J O’Hara for Coady (ht), E Kane for Corcoran (48). 

Referee: Michael Haverty (Galway).