National League Division 1 Group B Round 1
Antrim 1-21 Clare 0-22
A SOBERING start to the new season for Clare as hosts Antrim grittily dug out a rousing home victory in what was their first top flight league tie since 2008. Eoin Brennan reports.
With a strong gale dictating matters, Clare started brightly with its aid to ease 0-9 to 0-3 clear by the 15th minute, four from Tony Kelly. However, Antrim incrementally grew in confidence as the half developed and would wipe out the visitors’ lead in the 29th minute when a teasing ball over the top found chief marksman Ciaran Clarke to race through and finish to the net at 0-12 to 1-09. Clare did restore a two point cushion by the break but with the elements to come, a buoyant Antrim quickly snatched the whip hand to inch ahead for the first time by the 46th minute through Keith Molloy.
In a blow-for-blow second period, the sides were level on seven occasions and as late as the 70th minute before Antrim tacked on injury-time points through Neil McManus and Clarke to seal a memorable victory.
Meanwhile, it’s back to the drawing board for Clare who host Wexford next Sunday in Cusack Park.
Antrim: Ryan Elliott (Cuchullains); Damon McMullan (Loughgiel Shamrocks), Gerard Walsh (O’Donovan Rossa), Stephen Rooney (St Paul’s); Eoghan Campbell (Ruairí Óg), Paddy Burke (Ruairí Óg), Joe Maskey (Naomh Éanna); Keelan Molloy (Cuchullains), Neil McManus (Ruairí Óg); Niall McKenna (Patrick Sarsfields), James McNaughton (Loughgiel Shamrocks), Michael Bradley (St John’s); Conal Cunning (Cuchullains), Conor McCann (Kickams Creggan), Ciaran Clarke (Ballycastle McQuillan) Subs: Eoin O’Neill (Cuchullains) for McNaughton (47), Domhnall Nugent (St John’s) for McCann (56), Conor Johnston (St John’s) for Bradley (62), Daniel McCloskey (Loughgiel Shamrocks)
Scorers: Ciaran Clarke (1-11, 9f, 1’65); Keela Molloy, Neil McManus (2f) (0-3 each); Conal Cunning (0-2); Conor McCann, Eoghan Campbell (0-1 each)
Clare: Eibhear Quilligan (Feakle); Paul Flanagan (Ballyea), Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown), Paddy Donnellan (Broadford); Aidan McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona), John Conlon (Clonlara), Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe): Cian Galvin (Clarecastle), Tony Kelly (Ballyea); Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge), David Reidy (Éire Óg), Colin Guilfoyle (Newmarket-on-Fergus); Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones), Ryan Taylor (Clooney-Quin), Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg) Subs: Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones) for Flanagan (HT), Liam Corry (Éire Óg) for Taylor (HT), David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona) for Galvin (49), Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge) for Guilfoyle (49), Jack Browne (Ballyea) for Donnellan (68)
Scorers: Tony Kelly (0-11, 7f, 1’65); David Reidy (0-3); Shane O’Donnell, Diarmuid Ryan (0-2 each); Cathal Malone, Aron Shanagher, Colin Guilfoyle, Aidan McCarthy (0-1 each)
Referee: Liam Gordon (Galway)