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Clare hurler Shane O'Donnell, who has been awarded a scholarship to Harvard University in the USA.

Blistering opening quarter paves the way for Clare victory

Clare 2-18 Kilkenny 1-18

Despite being the better team for most of this league game at Nowlan park this afternoon, Clare had to survive some anxious moments in the closing stages before emerging with a one goal victory over Kilkenny.

A blistering first quarter by the visitors paved the way for this victory, their second in this campaign, as they outplayed the Noresiders l;throughout the pitch in that openingn period

Even the most ardent of Clare followers would not have predicted an eleven point lead for Clare after twenty minutes of this Allianz league round 2 tie but the visitors were full value for this and, in fact, could have been further ahead but Podge Collins didn’t capitalise when put through by Shane O’Donnell in the fifteenth minute.

Kilkenny’s concern was reflected in the fact that they had made three changes in personnell by the 25th minute and these helped bring about an improvement in their play which yielded 1-4 in ten minutes.

Clare finished the half strongly with four points in as many minutes to go to the break with an eight point advantage with the score at 2-12 to 1-7.

Clearly strong words were uttered in the Kilkenny dressing room at half time and they returned a more determined outfit and hit three points in as many minutes after the restart before Clare had their first score of the new period.

Midway through the half the scoreline read 2-17 to 1-14 in Clare’s favour but the margin should have been greater but the visitors were guilty of some woeful misses. They had twelve wides in the second half and many came from very scoreable positions in a tie in which their overall tally of wides came to eighteen, double that of their opponents.

When Kilkenny landed four unanswered points to cut the winner’s margin to two with three minutes of normal itme remaining, things didn’t look good for Clare. The home side missed a chance from a ’65 to leave the minimum between the sides while David McInerney made a timely intervention when Walter Walsh looked to be through on goal before substitute Niall Deasy sealed victory with a point in the third minute of ‘added time’.

The result leaves Clare sitting on top of the table along with the Davy Fitzgerald managed Wexford who also have won their opening two games. Clare’s next game will be on Sunday week (February 18) when they entertain Cork at Cusack Park

Clare; Donal Tuohy (Crusheen); Jack Browne (Ballyea), Conor Cleary (Miltown St.Josephs), Patrick O’Connor (Tubber) Captain; David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona), 0–1 David McInerney (Tulla), Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge) 0-1; Colm Galvin (Clonlara) 0-1, Tony Kelly (Ballyea) 0-1; Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge) 0-2. John Conlon (Clonlara) 0-3. David Reidy (Éire Óg) 1-3; Shane O Donnell (Éire Óg) 1-0. Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin) 0-5. Podge Collins (Cratloe)

Subs: Mikey O’Malley (Kilmaley) for Fitzgerald; Ian Galvin (Clonlara) for Collins Niall Deasy (Ballyea) 0-1 forMalone; Jason McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona) for Duggan,

Kilkenny; Eoin Murphy (0-2); Joey Holden, Padraic Walsh, Paddy Deegan; Cillian Buckley, Robert Lennon, Joe Lyng; James Maher, Ollie Walsh; John Donnelly, Ritchie Reid, Robert Leahy (0-1); Bill Sheehan (1-0) Walter Walsh (0-2), Alan Murphy (0-10, 8f, 2 ’65’s.

Subs; Enda Morrisseyfor J. Lyng; Pat Lyng (0-1) for O. Walsh; Martin Keoghan (0-2) for R. Reid; Conor O’Shea for Lennon; Liam blanchfield for Donnelly;

Referee; James McGrath, Westmeath

By Seamus Hayes

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