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Clare captain Gary Brennan is a key member of the Clondegad team which will face champions Miltown next week

Footballers promoted on scoring difference

Kildare 0-22 Clare 1-14

ALTHOUGH beaten in Newbridge on Sunday afternoon the Clare footballers will play division 2 league football in 2017 as their scoring difference ensured that they will join Kildare in the higher league. The same counties will also meet in the division 3 NFL final in Croke Park on Saturday April 23. Clare are likely to be without David Tubridy however. The Doonbeg man was shown a straight red red following an incident with Kildare wing back Ciaran Fitzpatrick as the game approached injury time. From this observers point of view Tubridy was very harshly red carded.

Fourteen minutes from time, Clare led 1-14 to 0-15 and it looked as if they had every chance of at least drawing. However powered by their bench,with Eamon Callaghan particularly effective, the home county scored the last seven points with Clare not managing a score in that spell. So while Clare were delighted when word came through that Longford had beaten Westmeath, joining Clare and Offaly on eight points, they were somewhat deflated with how they finished the game.

The teams were tied 1-8 to 0-11 at half time following a very open, fluid and often high quality opening 35 minutes. Pat Burke scored the Clare goal in the 10th minute following a superb run through the middle from Gary Brennan. Clare had won the Kildare kick out following a Jamie Malone point from play, which was his second of the half. Burke’s goal put Clare into a 1-3 to 0-3 lead with Eoin Clare to other Clare point scorer in the opening ten minutes.

Kildare full forward Alan Smith put over 0-4 from play in the opening 35 minutes while Niall Kelly, Eoghan O’Flaherty, Tommy Moolick, Niall Kelly and Paul Cribbin kicked the remaining points for the home county.

A feature of the first half was some outstanding scores from both teams with Malone and Cleary putting over the pick of Clare’s first half points.

They could also have goaled in the seventh minute when Cleary and Burke combined and were only denied when Kildare full back David Hyland cleared off the line.

In a two minute spell, between the 28th and 30th minutes, Clare lost three of their own kick outs which resulted in three quick Kildare points from Moolick, Smith and Kelly. However Clare goalkeeper Joe Hayes showed his experience when attempting to slow down the kick outs and this paid off when Gary Brennan was fouled while contesting the fourth one during that period.

Clare started the second half positively and points from Malone, Tubridy, who put over two from play, followed by a Cleary free, established a 1-12 to 0-13 lead, 15 minutes into the second half. Cleary from a free and Malone pointed again but Clare did not add to their tally in the closing 14 minutes.

The clear message to emerge from St Conleth’s Park is that Clare need more impact from the bench to compete in division 2. They played some outstanding attacking football at stages in Newbridge but when fatigue set in as the game wore on, Clare did not have the same resources as Kildare.

They had a number of outstanding performers with Jamie Malone, Gary Brennan and Pearse Lillis excelling while Gary Brennan and Cathal O’Connor did their utmost in the middle of the field.

Clare can reflect on a league campaign in which they buried teams that they were better than and it was that scoring difference which promoted them.

Clare: Joe Hayes (Lissycasey); Seánie Malone (Miltown), Kevin Harnett (Meelick), Martin McMahon (Kilmurry Ibrickane); Pearse Lillis (Cooraclare), Dean Ryan (Éire Óg), Cian O’Dea (Kilfenora); Gary Brennan (Clondegad), Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen); Seán Collins (Cratloe), Eoin Cleary (Miltown), Jamie Malone (Corofin); David Tubridy (Doonbeg), Keelan Sexton (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Pat Burke (Kilmacud Crokes).

Subs: Shane McGrath (Thomas Davis) for Cian O’Dea (half-time), Podge Collins (Cratloe) for Keelan Sexton (43), Enda Coughlan (Kilmurry Ibrickane) for Seánie Malone (57), Seán Haugh (O’Curry’s) for Shane McGrath (66), Graham Kelly (Miltown) for Pearse Lillis (70).

Scorers: David Tubridy (0-6, 0-3f, 0-1 45), Jamie Malone (0-4), Eoin Cleary (0-4, 0-3f), Pat Burke (1-0).

Wides: 3

Frees: 23

45s: 2

Red card: David Tubridy.

Kildare: Tom Corley; Peter Kelly, David Hyland, Ollie Lyons; Ciaran Fitzpatrick, Fergal Conway, Hugh McGrillin; Kevin Feely, Tommy Moolick; Padraig O’Neill, Niall Kelly, Eoghan O’Flaherty; Fionn Dowling, Alan Smith, Paul Cribbin.

Subs: Kevin Murnaghan for Hugh McGrillin (half-time), Eamon Callaghan for Fionn Dowling (48), Johnny Byrne for Padraig O’Neill (49), Eanna O’Connor for Eoghan O’Flaherty (70).

Scorers: Eoghan O’Flaherty (0-7, 0-5f), Alan Smith (0-4), Paul Cribbin, Niall Kelly (0-3 each), Eamon Callaghan (0-2), Tommy Moolick, Ciaran Fitzpatrick, David Hyland (0-1 each).

Yellow card: Kevin Feely.

Referee: Cormac Reilly (Meath).

Peter O’Connell

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