Clare’s dream of adding the All-Ireland senior hurling championship title to the national league crown won earlier in the season is over.
Before an attendance of 31,690 at Semple stadium in Thurles yesterday, they went under to neighbours Galway on a day when the Tribesmen’s aerial supremacy proved decisive.
Clare failed to match Galway’s physicality and can have no complaints with the result. Joe Canning, not for the first time, proved a key figure in Galway’s victory, the Portumna man’s goal twenty seconds into the second half putting the winners ten points clear and leaving Clare with a mountain to climb.
A Conor Cooney goal after fifteen minutes helped Galway to a 1-10 to 0-6 half time lead after they had played with the aid of a fresh wind. It was a lead they deserved as they had dominated the exchanges in a majority of positions.
Clare recorded the opening score when Tony Kelly converted a 20m free but Galway hit the next three scores through Johnnie Coen, Joseph Cooney and Joe Canning.
With Colm Galvin creating some opportunities Clare replied with points from Kelly(free) and Galvin to level the game at 0-3 each after nine minutes.
A Canning free had Galway back in front before Conor Cooney fired low past Andrew Fahy and from here to the finish of the half the Tribesmen had the better of matters.
Trailing by seven points at half time, Clare needed a good start to the second half but they were rocked straight from the throw in. David Burke won possession from the throw in and raced through the Clare defence, surprisingly easy it must be said, before passing to Canning whose piledriver gave Andrew Fahy no chance in the Clare goal.
Clare responded with three unanswered points and by the three quarter stage they had the winner’s lead back to six points. They had it back to four with ten minutes remaining but that was as good as it got.
Joe Canning spent much of the final quarter helping out his defence, a defence which Clare simply could not break down.
On a disappointing day for Clare hurling, Colm Galvin did well, contributing five points from play while substitutes Conor McGrath and Colin Ryan each scored a brace of points.
For the winners Daithi Burke, Aidan Harte, John Hanbury and Joe Canning stood out.
Scorers; Galway; Joe Canning (1-8) Conor Cooney (1-0) David Burke, Joseph Cooney (0-2) each. Johnny Coen, Padraic Mannion, Aidan Harte, Cyril Donnellan, Cathal Mannion (0-1) each;
Clare; Tony Kelly (0-7); Colm Galvin (0-5); Conor McGrath and Colin Ryan (0-2) each; David McInerney (0-1);
Galway; Colm Callinan; Johnny Coen, John Hanbury, Padraic Mannion; Gearoid |McInerney, Daithi Burke, Aidan Harte; David Burke, Adrian Tuohy; Conor Cooney, Joseph Cooney, Joe Canning; Conor Whelan, Jason Flynn, Cathal Mannion;
Subs; Cyril Donnellan for C. Cooney, Davy Glennon for Flynn; Fergal Moore for Coen; Andy Smith for Whelan; Sean Moloney for J. Cooney
Clare;Andrew Fahy (Whitegate); Oisín O’Brien (Clonlara), Pat O’Connor (Tubber), Cian Dillon (Crusheen); Jack Browne (Ballyea), Conor Cleary (Miltown St. Josephs), Brendan Bugler (Whitegate); David McInerney (Tulla), David Reidy (Éire Óg); Colm Galvin (Clonlara), Podge Collins (Cratloe), Tony Kelly (Ballyea); John Conlon (Clonlara), Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg), Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones).
Subs; David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona) for Bugler, Conor McGrath (Cratloe) for Collins; Aaron Cunningham (Wolfe Tones) for Shanagher; Colin Ryan (Newmarket) for Reidy.