Kildare 0-18 Clare 1-14
CLARE fell to a heartbreaking one point defeat in Newbridge on Sunday afternoon. Five points down at half-time, they took the game to the home county in the second half, with Shane Brennan scoring a crucial goal. He flicked to the net following a Keelan Sexton angled delivery. Fifteen minutes from time Clare led 1-12 to 0-13 and at that point, the pendulum seemed to be swinging in their direction.
However late points from Fionn Dowling and Paul Cribbin swung the result in favour of Cian O’Neill’s team, who are now promoted. Eoin Cleary had an opportunity to equalise from an injury time free but it drifted wide. Unless Clare beat Meath in their final game in Ennis next Sunday, they will need Down and Derry to lose their final league ties, to stave off relegation to division 3.
Kildare led 0-11 to 0-6 at half-time, with their midfielder Kevin Feely kicking 0-5 from frees. Clare started with Shane Brennan at midfield with his brother Gary and while the younger Brennan had a good first half, he should have put away a great goal chance, 11 minutes before the interval. Instead his shot hit the butt of the Kildare post and the home county cleared.
Eoin Cleary pointed 0-3 in the first half, including an excellent right footed effort, supporting a Jamie Malone run. Both Brennan’s also pointed as did David Tubridy. Too often though Clare left Keelan Sexton isolated in a one man full forward line and while their support play was decent at times, when they kicked ball into the full forward line, there was often three Kildare backs and one Clare forward.
However Clare were a transformed team in the second half and took the game to Kildare, who were not great at defending against a running team. While the result was disappointing the performance was exceptional with Eoin Cleary, Shane Brennan, Jamie Malone and Kevin Harnett outstanding.
Clare: Joe Hayes (Lissycasey); Martin McMahon (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Kevin Harnett (Meelick), Dean Ryan (Éire Óg); Liam Markham (Cratloe), Gordon Kelly (Miltown), John Hayes (Kilrush); Shane Brennan (Clondegad), Gary Brennan (Clondegad-captain); Jamie Malone (Corofin), Eoin Cleary (Miltown), Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen); David Tubridy (Doonbeg), Keelan Sexton (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Cian O’Dea (Kilfenora).
Subs: Darren Nagle (Liscannor) for John Hayes (47- black card), Ciaran Russell (Éire Óg) for Cian O’Dea (53) Eoin Collins (Ballyhaunis) for Shane Brennan (61).
Scorers: Eoin Cleary (0-7, 3f), Shane Brennan (1-2) David Tubridy 0-2, (0-1f) Gary Brennan, Jamie Malone, Keelan Sexton (0-1) each.
Kildare: Mark Donnellan; Mick O’Grady, David Hyland, Ollie Lyons; Johnny Byrne, Eoin Doyle (captain), Keith Cribbin; Kevin Feely, Tommy Moolick; Fergal Conway, Niall Kelly, Paul Cribbin; David Slattery, Fionn Dowling, Chris Healy.
Subs: Conor Hartley for David Slattery (51-black card), Cathal McNally for Chris Healy (57), Ben McCormck for Kevin Feely (58 black card), Eamon Callaghan for Niall Kelly (70).
Scorers: Kevin Feely (0-7f), Paul Cribbing (0-3), Niall Kelly, Fionn Dowling (0-2 each), Tommy Moolick, Chris Healy, Fergal Conway, Ben McCormack (0-1 each).
Referee: Padraig Hughes (Armagh).