Kilkenny’s dominance of the inter county hurling season looks set to continue after their convincing win over Clare in the All-Ireland intermediate final at Semple stadium this evening.
Before an attendance of 1,401, their ability to get through for goals proved too much for Clare and the noresiders deservingly took the honours
Five points up after ten minutes when they had 1-2 on the scoreboard despite having lost centre back Shane Taylor to injury in the very first minute, things looked good for Clare.
Then, in the space of six minutes they conceded three goals after some poor defensive play and when the half time whistle sounded they found themselves seven points in arrears with the score at 4-5 to 1-7.
Throughout the pitch Clare struggled to cope with Kilkenny’s physicality and this was particularly true of the Clare full back line.
Being forced into an early change didn’t help Clare who lost centre back Shane Taylor in the opening minute after he suffered a heavy knock. They were already down Ben O’Gorman from Wolfe Tones who failed a late fitness test and the loss of these players certainly cost the Banner side
Kilkenny’s first goal came in the thirteenth minute when team captain Nicky Cleere applied the finish. They had their second four minutes later when John Walsh flicked the ball past the advancing Clare goalie Daniel Vaughan and Clare were still recovering from this when Billy Ryan struck for the Noresider’s third goal. Six minutes later midfielder Luke Scanlan broke through the middle for goal number four and Clare were in serious trouble.
In the second half Clare tried hard but the closest they got to the winners was four points with seven minutes remaining. On the few occasions that the Clare men looked like closing the gap, Kilkenny, trained by former St. Josephs Doora-Barefield player Sean Mangan, struck for a score and emerged as worthy winners.
They played the final six minutes with fourteen men after defender Evan Cody picked up a second yellow card.
For this game Clare made two changes from the side which started in the Munster final against Limerick. Broadford’s Shane Taylor came in at centre back and Danny Russell regained his place in attack to the exclusion of Dara Walsh and Colin Crehan.
Both Ben O’Gorman and Shane Gleeson who had impressed in the Muinster final when introduced, were ruled out due to injury.
Scorers; Kilkenny; John Walsh (2-2); Nicky Cleeree (1-4) Billy Ryan (1-4) Luke Scanlon (1-2) Alan Murphy (0-2), Jack Langton and Sean Morrissey (0-1) each
Clare; Shane McGrath (0-10) Ryan Taylor (1-0) Jason McCarthy, Kevin Hehir (0-2) each Danny Russell, David Conroy (0-1) each
Kilkenny; Aaron Duggan; Evan Cody, Tom Aylward, Luke Hickey; Jason Cleere, Conor Delaney, Jeoff Brennan; Jack Langton, Luke Scanlon; Alan Murphy, Conor Tobin, Ritchie Leahy; Billy Ryan, Nicky Cleere, John Walsh;
Subs; Sean Morrissey for Tobin; Jack McGrath for Leahy. Shane Donnelly for Murphy.
Clare; Daniel Vaughan (Tulla); Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones), Eoin Quirke (Whitegate), Ciaran Cooney (O’Callaghan Mills); Aidan McGuane (Kilmaley), Shane Taylor (Broadford), Jason McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona); David Conroy (St Joseph’s, Doora/Barefield) Kevin Hehir (Inagh-Kilnamona); Oisin Donnellan (Feakle), Shane McGrath (Feakle) captain, Darragh Corry (Tulla); Danny Russell (Éire Óg), Michael O’Neill (Kilmaley), Ryan Taylor (Clooney-Quin)
Subs; Dara Walsh (Eire Og) for S. Taylor(inj.) Eoin Enright (Kilmaley) for Hayes; Pauric O’Loughlin (Clonlara) for Donnellan