Clare 2-18 Laois 0-14
Considered a trifle fortunate to score a one point win over Laois in the opening round of the 2016 qualifier, Clare were by far the better team when the counties clashed at the same stage a year later, this time at O’Moore Park park in Portlaoise this afternoon.
The visitors were full value for their ten point victory which means that their name will be in the draw on Monday morning when the round 3A pairings are decided.
On a day when they were never behind, Clare had a three point advantage at half time when the score was 0-11 to 0-8. Both sides had goal chances in the opening half when Clare did find the net through Jamie Malone only for referee Jerome Henry to disallow the score and award a free to Laois, penalising the Clare man of over carrying.
A major turning point came seven minutes into the second half when when Laois midfield John O’Loughlin was sent off on a second yellow card. The loss of the experienced midfielder was a major blow to the home side and from here on Clare’s grip on the game increased.
Midway through the second half with Clare still leading by three points, Jamie Malone finished off a tremendous move for the winner’s first goal.
They followed with four unanswered points to open ten point lead with fifteen minutes remaining. Laois pulled one back but then Clare struck for their second goal, Keelan Sexton applying the finish.
The fact that Clare introduced seven substitutes in this tie was a cause of concern for Clare fans after this game but Clare officials were satisfied that everything was in order and that they had clarified this with the match officials
There were a number of outstanding performances from Clare with Kevin Harnett, Gordon Kelly,Martin McMahon, Pierce Lillis and Eoin Cleary amongst those in outstanding form
Clare; Joe Hayes; Gordon Kelly, Kevin Harnett, Dean Ryan; Pearce Lillis (0-2), Martin McMahon, Ciaran Russell; Gary Brennan (0-2), Cathal O’Connor (0-2); Cian O’Dea, Sean Collins, Jamie Malone (1-1); Keelan Sexton (1-2), Eoin Cleary 0-9), David Tubridy
Subs;John Hayes for Russell; Gearoid O’Brien for Tubridy; Seanie Malone for Sexton; Darren Nagle for O’Dea; Eoghan Collins for Harnett (blood sub); Kieran Malone for Lillis; Darragh Bohannon for S.Collins;
Laois; Graham Brody; Darrren Strong (0-1), Mark Timmons, Trevor Collins; Eoin Buggie, Padraig McMahon, Colm Begley; Brendan Quigley, John O’Loughlin; Alan Farrell, David Conway (0-1), Damian O’Connor; Stephen Attride (0-3), Donal Kingston (0-8,7f), Gary Walsh (0-1)
Subs; Niall Donoher for D.O’Connor; James Kelly for E.Buggie; Ross Munnelly for G.Walsh; Paul Kington for Conway; James Finn for B. Quigley; Brian Daly for Attride.
Referee; Jerome Henry, Mayo