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Clare's Eoin Cleary in action against Kerry in the Munster SFC Semi-Final. Pic bu Eugene McCafferty

Brilliant Banner Book Spot In Round Three Of All Ireland SFC Qualifiers

Clare booked their spot in the next round of All Ireland SFC Qualifiers with an impressive 3-17 to 0-17 win over Leitrim in Carrick on Shannon.

An outstanding first half from Colm Collins’ men set them on their way to victory as they built up a 2-12 to 0-6 lead by the half-time whistle.

The goals came in a dominant 10 minute spell that saw the Banner raid for 2-5 without reply with goals from Jamie Malone and Gary Brennan.

Malone’s came after a brilliant run from Conal O’hAinifein which opened up the Leitrim defence. He fed the Corofin man who rounded the goalkeeper before slotting home. The second arrived when a teasing ball into the danger zone was palmed off the crossbar by Brennan, but the captain reacted quickest to slap home the rebound and send Clare 2-8 to 0-2 clear.

There could have been plenty more green flags for Clare in the opening period with four other goal chances going awry.

Clare’s running game caused no end of problems, while the quality of ball directed toward the inside line of Tubridy and Cooney of the highest order. Both were showing brilliantly for possession and the use of it was intelligent.

The second-half was all about control as Clare continued to dominate, with Cleary and Malone keeping the scoreboard ticking over.

Two subs combined for Clare’s third goal as Kieran Malone made a powerful run before laying off for Eimhin Courtney to slot home with 15 minutes to go.

From here Leitrim rattled off six unanswered to close the gap, but Gary Brennan stopped the rot to put his side 10 points clear with the clock ticking into injury time.

Leitrim almost got in for a goal in the closing stages but Heslin fisted over under pressure after a dangerous ball across the square.

The home side never threatened the result as Clare booked their spot in Monday’s draw.

Clare: Stephen Ryan; Gordon Kelly, Cillian Brennan, Dean Ryan; Sean Collins, Aaron Fitzgerald, Conal Ó hAiniféin; Gary Brennan, Cathal O’Connor; Seán O’Donoghue, Eoin Cleary, Jamie Malone; Gavin Cooney, David Tubridy, Cian O’Dea.

Subs: Kieran Malone for Jamie Malone, Eimhin Courtney for Gavin Cooney, Gearoid O’Brien for Cian O’Dea, Darragh Bohannon for Cathal Malone, Cormac Murray for David Tubridy, Einne O’Connor for Gordon Kelly.

Scorers: Eoin Cleary (0-7, 3f), David Tubridy (0-5, 1 “45, 1f), Jamie Malone (1-2), Gary Brennan (1-3), Eimhin Courtney (1-0).

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