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Clare take quarter-final place

Clare  3   Cork Business League  2

Clare deservingly progressed to the quarter-finals of the Oscar Traynor inter-league competition when they defeated the Cork Business League at Newmarket on Saturday. However, it took an injury time goal to seal the home side’s place in the last eight of the competition.

Clare’s Daryl Eade takes possession under pressure from Cork’s Gerry O’Reilly. Photograph by Mike MulcaireClearly the better side over the 90 minutes, Clare’s dominance wasn’t reflected in the final score.
Indeed, for a long time, it appeared as if they might not progress – they had to win to continue in the competition – but their determination was eventually rewarded two minutes into added time when Bunratty’s Con Collins scored the winner.
Paudie Morris in the Cork goal was by far the busier of the goalkeepers on the day, a clear indication of the home side’s dominance. Having won the toss, Clare captain David Russell elected to play with the aid of the wind.
While the winners took control from an early stage, it was evident that Cork were dangerous on the break and this was highlighted as early as the 13th minute when John Healy came to the winner’s rescue with an excellent save at the edge of the area.
Trevor Maxwell, Stephen Hickey and Richard Lillis all came close for the winners in the opening period before Stephen Hickey finally broke the deadlock in the 45th minute when he scored after Maxwell had knocked a Mattie Nugent delivery into the Avenue striker’s path.
The goal separated the sides at half-time but the lead was short lived as, within two minutes of the resumption, slack defending by Clare was punished when the visitor’s captain, Joe Monaghan, struck for the equaliser. His well-hit effort should have been cut out by the Clare defence and, while goalkeeper Healy got to the shot, he was unable to prevent the ball from getting over the line.
Four minutes later the Killaloe man’s involvement in the game ended when he picked up a leg injury in a tackle with Stuart Howard.
The Cork side’s striker was yellow carded and while the Avenue United goalie tried to play on, he quickly signalled to the bench that he was unable to do so and Ciaran McGlynn was called into the action.
Five minutes later, he found himself picking the ball out of the net when Stuart Howard put the visitors into the lead. There didn’t appear to be any danger when Monaghan sent the ball forward but the Clare defence was caught out and Howard coolly took the ball around the advancing McGlynn before tapping into an empty net.
The goal came a minute after Stephen Hickey should have put Clare ahead. The Clarecastle man saw his left-footed effort go wide when he only had visiting goalie Paudie Morris to beat. A minute before that he had another chance but failure to control the ball quickly meant that the opportunity was missed.
With victory essential for Clare to progress, their chances of continuing in the competition looked slim.
However, the management team made what proved to be a number of vital changes when they opted to play with three in defence, pushing players forward, while they also decided to introduce Gary Collins and Mike O’Malley and the Newmarket duo certainly made a big difference.
O’Malley caused a lot of problems for the visitors and helped Clare to push forward more often. They were rewarded as the mid-point of the half approached when Richard Lillis ran on to a Gary Collins cross and blasted the ball into the net for the equaliser.
With team captain Russell leading by example and O’Malley and Richard Lillis setting up a lot of attacks down the left flank, Clare supporters remained confident that their side would pounce for a winner.
The breakthrough finally came in the second minute of injury time – there were five and a half in all as there had been a delay when goalkeeper Healy was injured while each side had introduced their quota of three subs in this half – and the hero proved to be Bunratty’s Con Collins.
A Mike O’Malley free caused all sorts of problems for the visitor’s defence, who could only parry a couple of Clare efforts, and when the ball fell to Collins, he remained calm and, from the edge of the area, found the roof of the net for the goal which sent Clare through to the quarter-finals.
Particularly impressive for Clare were David Russell, Richard Lillis, Mattie Nugent, and Trevor Maxwell.

Clare: John Healy, (Avenue); Liam Murphy, (Newmarket); Richard Lillis, (Bunratty); Mattie Nugent, (Avenue); David Russell, (Avenue) capt; Dave McCarthy, (Avenue); Daryl Eade, (Rock Rovers); Con Collins, (Bunratty); Stephen Hickey, (Rock Rovers); Adrian McDonagh, (Avenue); Trevor Maxwell (Bridge Utd).
Subs: Ciaran McGlynn, (Newmarket) for Healy (injury, 53 minutes); Gary Collins (Newmarket) for Eade (59 minutes); Mike O’Malley (Newmarket) for McCarthy (61 minutes).

Cork Business League: Paudie Morris; Adrian Evans, Ritchie Wallace, Brian Darcy, Martin Hayes, Tom Frawley, Gerry O’Reilly, Joe Monaghan, Stuart Howard, Eric Montgomery, Eoin O’Donovan.
Subs: Mick Mehigan for Wallace (65 minutes); Barry O’Donovan for Howard (69 minutes); Jonathan Clancy for G O’Reilly (72 minutes).

Referee: John Murray; Linesmen: Julian Stanford and Michael Monaghan.


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