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Blistering start sees Clare through

Cathal O'Connell slots the ball past Galway keeper Shane Mannion in the U-21 hurling semi-final at Semple Stadium on Saturday Evening. Photograph Arthur Ellis
Clare 1-16 Galway 0-7

A blistering start to the second half, which saw them score 1-5 in the opening ten minutes, paved the way for a comfortable Clare victory over Galway in the All-Ireland U-21 hurling semi-final at Thurles this Saturday evening.

Starting the second half just two points adrift, Galway held high hopes of dethroning the All-Ireland champions but Clare stepped up the pace and by the mid-point of the half, the holders were well on the way to a second successive final.

Indeed, such was their dominance that with ten minutes remaining they were able to call ashore senior star Podge Collins and followed this by replacing Colm Galvin and Tony Kelly ahead of the upcoming final.

The goal came from the game’s top scorer, Cathal O’Connell, who was outstanding on the evening.

Both sides were guilty of missed chances in the opening half when Clare hit eight wides, one more that the Tribesmen. Clare led from the start with Cathal O’Connell putting them ahead after two minutes. They were level twice in the opening ten minutes before a brace from Davy O’Halloran gave the Claremen a lead they held to the break, when the score stood at 0-5 to 0-3.

Just before half time, Clare forward Aaron Cunningham suffered a hamstring injury, which ended his involvement in the game. Cathal Malone was sent into the action in place of the Shannon clubman.

In the final on September 14, Antrim will provide the opposition after a shock but fully merited win over Wexford. The final score was 2-15 to 1-16 with Wexford’s goal coming in the closing minutes.

The attendance at Thurles for the semi-finals was 6,238.

Clare: Ronan Taaffe; Paul Flanagan, David McInerney, Jack Browne, Seadna Morey (0-1), Alan O’Neill, Stephen O’Halloran, Colm Galvin, Tony Kelly, Peter Duggan (0-1), Podge Collins (0-2), Shane O’Donnell (0-1), Cathal O’Connell (1-6), Aaron Cunningham, Davy O’Halloran (0-3).

Subs: C Malone (0-2) for Cunningham (inj); Daire Keane for O’Donnell; M O’Neill for Collins; Jamie Shanahan for Galvin; Enda Boyce for Kelly.

Galway: Shane Mannion, Paul Killeen, John Hanbury, Barry Keane, Paul Huban, Dara Burke, Matthew Keating, Adrian Tuohy, Paul Claffey, Tom Flynn, Conor Cooney (0-3), Jonathon Glynn, Padraic Brehony, Cathal Mannion (0-3), Jason Flynn.

Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan, Cork.

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