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Clare to stay in Division 4

Darragh Blake battles for possession with David Keenan, Stephen Ormsby and Niall Carty. Photographs by John Kelly

Roscommon  0-16  Clare  1-10

Failure to convert a number of prime scoring opportunities cost Clare dearly at Cusack Park on Sunday and ensures they will play in Division 4 for at least another season.

Darragh Blake battles for possession with David Keenan, Stephen Ormsby and Niall Carty. Photographs by John Kelly

Roscommon  0-16  Clare  1-10

Failure to convert a number of prime scoring opportunities cost Clare dearly at Cusack Park on Sunday and ensures they will play in Division 4 for at least another season.
The home side missed a lot of opportunities from both open play and frees whereas the visitors capitalised when the opportunity presented.
The failure of the Clare half-forwards to make an impression proved costly for the home side. The lacklustre nature of thoer performance was reflected in the fact that all three were replaced during the 70 minutes.
Roscommon’s determination to win promotion was reflected in the presence of Senan Kilbride and Karl Mannion. Both had played with their club St Bridget’s in the All-Ireland Club Football final at Croke Park just three days earlier on St Patrick’s Day when they went under to Crossmaglen Rangers. Kilbride started at full-forward while Mannion was introduced shortly before half-time. Both made significant contributions.
The game also marked the return from injury of Donie Shine who lined out at centre-forward. He finished as the game’s top scorer with 0-7 to his credit while Kilbride chipped in with 0-4. Seven of the 11 points scored by this due came from place; their tally of wides was five, six less than the home side.
The Connacht champions made the better start and by the end of the first quarter they were five points clear, 0-7 to 0-2. The Clare half-forwards were struggling from the outset while full-back Barry Duggan was also struggling to cope with Kilbride.
The move of Cathal O’Connor to midfield to partner Gary Brennan improved matters for Clare and they struck for three points to close the gap to two with ten minutes to play in the half.
However, they failed to maintain this scoring rate and the visitors finished strongly to lead at the break, 0-10 to 0-6.
Clare started the second half brightly with a brace of points from Alan Clohessy in the opening two minutes. They failed to capitalise on a couple of great chances while, at the other end of the field, the conceded some soft frees that Donie Shine punished.
As the second half progressed, Clare switched Gary Brennan to full forward and this move paid dividends quickly as he broke through for the game’s only goal that left the minimum between the teams with 20 minutes to play.
Clare were now enjoying the lion’s share of possession but they failed to make this count and a number of chances were fluffed. After Brennan’s goal, they went 14 minutes without a score, while Roscommon added three points to their tally.
With Brennan causing huge problems for the visitors, they moved quickly to snuff out the danger by deploying a forward as an extra defender that cut off the supply to the Clondegad man.
Alan Clohessy took over the freetaking duties from an off-form Tubridy and he pointed a 30m effort with six minutes still to play. Clare, despite their best efforts, were unable to get back on terms and to the delight of their followers who outnumbered the home side supporters, Roscommon captured the spoils and remain firmly in contention for promotion.
On a disappointing day for Clare, two of the newer players to this level, Kevin Hartnett and Shane McNeilis did well in defence. Cathal O’Connor was impressive when he moved to midfield while Gary Brennan impressed throughout.
David Keenan, Sean Purcell and Sean McDermott impressed in defence for the winners while up front, Donie Shine and Senan Kilbride caused a lot of problems for Clare.

Roscommon: Geoffrey Claffey; Sean McDermott, Donal Ward, Stephen Ormsby; Niall Carty, David Keenan, Sean Purcell; Michael Finneran, Kevin Higgins; Fintan Cregg, Donie Shine, Cathal Cregg; Ger Heneghan, Senan Kilbride, John Rogers.
Subs: Karl Mannion for Finneran (inj 31 minutes); Jonathon Dunning for Heneghan (half-time); Senan O’Grady for F Cregg (49 minutes); Conor Beirne for Ormsby (57 minutes).
Scorers: Donie Shine (0-7, 5f); Senan Kilbride (0-4, 2f); Kevin Higgins (0-2); John Rogers (0-2); Cathal Cregg (0-1).
Frees for: 21; wides: 5
Bookings: Donie Shine (12 minutes), Karl Mannion (41 minutes), Donal Ward (56 minutes), Conor Beirne (61 minutes).
Clare: Joe Hayes; Kevin Hartnett, Barry Duggan, Martin McMahon; Laurence Healy, Gordon Kelly, Shane McNeilis; Gary Brennan, Niall Browne; Michael Foran, Dara Blake, Conor Ryan; Alan Clohessy, Cathal O’Connor, David Tubridy.
Subs: Shane Brennan for Ryan (34 minutes); Ger Quinlan for Browne (43 minutes); David O’Brien for Blake (48 minutes); Adrian Cahill for Foran (65 minutes); Darren O’Neill for Quinlan (inj 69 minutes).
Scorers: Gary Brennan (1-1); Alan Clohessy (0-4, 1f); David Tubridy (1f); Cathal O’Connor (0-2 each); Niall Browne (0-1).
Frees for: 15; wides: 12
Bookings: Niall Browne (38 minutes).
Referee: Ray McBrien, Leitrim.

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