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All so easy for Clare

Clare 5-22 Down 0-6

There were few who expected anything other than a Clare victory from this Division 2 League tie but nobody would have predicted the final scoreline.

Darach Honan tries to evade Down’s Sean Ennis. Photographs by John Kelly

Clare 5-22 Down 0-6

There were few who expected anything other than a Clare victory from this Division 2 League tie but nobody would have predicted the final scoreline.
The fact that Down were reduced to 13 men for half the game ended the game as a contest and the result was clear long before the final whistle sounded at Cusack Park in Ennis on Sunday.
As has been the case in their games in the earlier rounds, Clare started slowly and seven minutes had elapsed before they got the game’s opening score. The manner in which the winners struggled in the early minutes suggested they might have to battle hard for victory.
However, all changed as early as the eighteenth minute when Down defender Kevin McGarry picked up a second yellow card which marked the end of his involvement in the game. At the time, Clare led on a scoreline of 0-5 to 0-1 but they were struggling to take command of the contest.
With the advantage of the extra man, Clare took control and a Caimin Morey goal in the 22nd minute rocked the visitors. Four minutes later, the winners struck for goal number two from a Colin Ryan penalty, awarded for a foul on Morey. They added five points before the break at which stage the score stood 2-12 to 0-2.
Whatever slim hopes Down may have had of making a recovery disappeared 30 seconds into the new half. Aidan Clarke’s rash challenge on Clare captain Pat Vaughan, earned the Down full-forward a straight red card and it was all one way traffic from here on.
In the third quarter, the home side outscored the visitors by 0-6 to 0-1 before Colin Ryan’s second goal, at the mid point of the half, pushed the score to 3-18 to 0-3.
Clare now had Diarmuid McMahon, Cathal McInerney and Sean Collins in attack and with the game inside the last 10 minutes, McMahon struck for the first of two goals.
To their credit, the visitors battled to the end but being two players down, they were unable to trouble the Clare defence. To add to Down’s woes, they lost substitute Danny Toner to injury in the closing stages of the tie.
Clare availed of the opportunity to try out players in different positions. Cian Dillon played at midfield with Cathal Chaplin filling the centre-back position. Pat O’Connor was at wing-back where he did well as did Caimin Morey who lined out at full-forward.
Goalkeeper Donal Tuohy wasn’t called on once to make any saves.
There are a lot stiffer tests ahead for Clare, but, for now, they are very much in contention for a place in the league final. Their next outing will be on Saturday week when they entertain Kerry, two point winners over Westmeath last Sunday.

Donal Tuohy; Pat Vaughan (captain), Conor Cooney, Domhnaill O’Donovan; Brendan Buglar, Cathal Chaplin, Patrick O’Connor; Nicky O’Connell, Cian Dillon; John Conlon, Fergal Lynch, Jonathon Clancy; Darach Honan, Caimin Morey, Colin Ryan.
Subs: Diarmuid McMahon for Lynch (44 minutes); Cathal McInerney for Honan (48 minutes); Sean Collins for Clancy (52 minutes), James McInerney for Cooney (54 minutes); Mark Earley for Vaughan (58 minutes).
Scorers: Colin Ryan (2-5, 1-2f, 0-1 line ball); Diarmuid McMahon (2-0); Nicky O’Connell (0-6, 5f, 1 ’65); Caimin Morey (1-2); John Conlon (0-3); Cian Dillon, Fergal Lynch (0-2 each); Jonathon Clancy, Sean Collins (0-1 each).
Frees for: 14; wides: 9; 65s: 2

Down: Graham Clarke; Michael Hughes, Fintan Conway, Sean Ennis; Kevin McGarry, Conor Woods, Michael Ennis; Andy Savage, Eoin Clarke; James Coyle, Brendan Ennis, Aaron O’Prey; Scott Nicholson, Aidan Clarke, Conor Mageean.
Subs: Declan McManus for Nicholson (20 minutes); Ciaran Coulter for Conway (48 minutes); Danny Toner for O’Prey (53 minutes) John Merron for Mageean (55 minutes); Scott Nicholson for Toner, inj (66 minutes).
Scorers: Eoin O’Neill (0-3, 2f); James Coyle (0-2f); Conor Mageean (0-1).
Frees for: 18; wides: 7; 65s: 1
Bookings: Kevin McGarry (14 and 18 minutes); Michael Hughes (70 minutes).
Sent off: Kevin McGarry (18 minutes) Aidan Clarke (36 minutes).

Referee: Tommy Ryan, Tipperary.

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