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Quarter-final spot for Clonlara

Clonlara 2-13   Scariff 1-11

CLONLARA’S determination to retain the Hamilton Trophy was highlighted in this round 4 tie at Sixmilebridge on Saturday. Scariff threatened on a number of occasions to topple the champions but the experience of the South-East Clare men shone through in the end and they deservingly captured the points and a quarter-final spot.

Scariff's Alphie Rodgers puts pressure on Clonlara's Nicky O' Connell. Photograph by Declan MonaghanScariff got off to a tremendous start with goalkeeper Brendan McNamara coming upfield to crash a 20m free to the Clonlara net in the seventh minute after Kenny McNamara had been fouled. They were level, 0-4 to 1-1, at the end of the first quarter. Three minutes later, Darach Honan struck for a superb goal when, after winning possession from a delivery by his team captain Tomás O’Donovan, he raced through and, despite a heavy tackle, he fired past McNamara.
It was 1-6 each at half-time and Scariff fans were quietly confident that they could prevail, despite the fact that they would have to face the fresh breeze in the second half.
Clonlara had a dream start to the second period and Honan played a central role. He won possession about 50m from the Scariff goal and picked out William Slattery with a superb delivery. Slattery’s first-time effort was heading for goal but Donal Madden made sure when he won the race and blasted to the net. Honan quickly added a point and the South-East Clare outfit had put down a marker that it would take a big effort to deny them a win.
Four points separated the teams at the three-quarter stage when Scariff made some changes and introduced Michael Rodgers and Damian O’Grady.
Ten minutes from time. the winners lost Darach Honan with a hamstring injury. Diarmuid O’Meara came into the action at midfield and shortly before the end he suffered a facial injury when struck by the ball and was forced to retire. Scariff battled to the end and three Ross Horan frees left a goal between the teams with four minutes of normal time remaining.
A brace of points from long-range frees by Nicky O’Connell in injury time sealed a merited win for the champions, who had impressive displays from Domhnall and Cormac O’Donovan, Nicky O’Connell, John Conlon, Darach Honan and Donal Madden.
Darragh Kelly, Enda Murphy, Michael Scanlon and Ross Horan battled hard for Scariff, who wasted a number of good scoring chances in the opening half in particular.

Clonlara: Ger O’Connell; Paul Collins, John Moloney, Senan Nihill; Nicky O’Connell, Domhnall O’Donovan, Pat O’Hare; Diarmuid Conway, Cormac O’Donovan; John Conlon, Tomás O’Donovan, William Slattery; Tommy Lynch, Darach Honan, Donal Madden.
Subs: Diarmuid O’Meara for Honan (51 minutes) and Paul Nihill for O’Meara (injured, 58 minutes).
Scorers: Nicky O’Connell (0-6, all frees), Donal Madden (1-2, 0-1f), Darach Honan (1-1), John Conlon (0-2), Cormac O’Donovan and Tommy Lynch (0-1 each).
Frees for: 16. Wides: 7.
“We are delighted to be in the knock-out stage again and we will take it match by match.” Colm Honan, Clonlara.

Scariff: Brendan McNamara; Cathal Nash, Darragh Kelly, Barry McNamara; Michael Moroney, Conor McNamara, Enda Murphy; Jim Minogue, Padraig Brody; Patrick Moroney, Michael Scanlon, Ross Horan; Diarmuid Nash, Kenny McNamara, Alphie Rodgers (yellow card).
Subs: Michael Rodgers for B McNamara (45 minutes), Damian O’Grady for J Minogue (45 minutes) and Evan McNamara for Moroney (55 minutes).
Scorers: Ross Horan (0-7, 0-4f), Brendan McNamara (1-0, free), Michael Scanlon (0-3) and Patrick Moroney (0-1).
Frees for: 15. Wides: 10. 65s: 1.
“We didn’t take full advantage of the wind and even against the wind we missed chances that probably cost us the game.” Mark McKenna, Scariff.

Referee: Rory Hickey, Éire Óg.

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