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Comfortable victory for minors

Clare 4-10
Waterford 1-6

WITH the exception of a 10-minute spell at the end of the first half, Clare held the upper hand on Waterford in this Munster Minor Football Championship losers’ group tie at Cusack Park on Monday evening.

Wesley De Loughrey holds off Waterford’s David Hallihan.

Clare 4-10
Waterford 1-6

WITH the exception of a 10-minute spell at the end of the first half, Clare held the upper hand on Waterford in this Munster Minor Football Championship losers’ group tie at Cusack Park on Monday evening.
The result means that Clare will be in action again this Saturday, when they travel to Thurles to play Tipperary at 7pm.
There is no denying that Clare deserved this success but there is sure to be concern in the camp at the manner in which they struggled for that 10-minute period. An injury to centre-back Enda Boyce caused huge problems for the team, as the Cratloe clubman was forced to retire when he injured his knee. Following his departure, the visitors scored 1-3 without reply to come within a point of the winners.
Showing one change in personnel from the side which started against Cork last Wednesday – Darren Sexton replaced Ross Dunne between the posts – Clare got off to a dream start with a goal from midfielder Aidan Malone in the opening minute.
It was to prove a great evening for the Kilfenora midfielder, who contributed 3-1 to Clare’s final tally, an excellent score in any championship tie.
The impressive Tony Kelly followed with a point, with another coming from team captain Paudge Collins, as Clare were 1-2 to 0-0 ahead after just six minutes. Two pointed frees from Eamon Power gave Waterford some hope before Malone struck again. First, he pointed a 13m free and then he crashed a penalty to the corner of the net after referee Pádraig O’Sullivan ruled that a Waterford defender had handled the ball on the ground in the square following pressure from Niall Hickey. This goal brought the score to 2-3 to 0-2 and the home side were dominating in most areas.
Then Boyce picked up the injury that forced him to retire. Clare moved Darragh Sexton from wing-forward to centre-back and introduced Darren Malone to the attack. Sexton struggled at centre-back and was quickly sent back to attack while Seánie Malone was switched to defence.
Clare were clearly rattled and this afforded Waterford the opportunity to pick off some scores. They struck for their goal three minutes from the break when the scorer was Emmet Power after good work by Pat White but the Clare defence was in sixes and sevens at this stage. It was 2-5 to 1-5 in Clare’s favour when the half-time whistle sounded.
Waterford had the first score of the second half to close the gap to the minimum but this was to prove their final score of the game. Ten minutes into the half, Niall Hickey had his first score and from here on Clare grew in confidence. Tony Kelly and Hickey added points before Malone raced through from midfield for his third goal at the three-quarter stage.
This score seemed to kill the Waterford challenge and it was all Clare from here to the finish, with Niall Hickey striking for their fourth goal six minutes from the end.
Stan Lineen and Wesley De Loughrey were prominent in the winners’ defence throughout. Aidan Malone turned in a fine performance at midfield while up front Tony Kelly was again in sparkling form. Paudge Collins and Niall Hickey also made valuable contributions.

Clare: Darren Sexton (Kilmurry-Ibrickane); Oisín Vaughan (Ennistymon) Graham Johnson (Kilmurry-Ibrickane), Jarlath Colleran (Doora-Barefield); Stan Lineen (Kilmihil) Enda Boyce (Cratloe), Wesley De Loughrey (Cratloe); Ronan Linnane (Ennistymon), Aidan Malone (Kilfenora); Darragh Sexton (Kilmurry-Ibrickane), Seánie Malone (Miltown), Paudge Collins (Cratloe) capt; Conor O’Reilly (Doora-Barefield), Niall Hickey (Kilmurry-Ibrickane), Tony Kelly (Clondegad).
Subs: Darren Malone (Corofin) for Boyce (inj 20 minutes), Craig O’Brien (Wolfe Tones) for Vaughan (51 minutes), Cathal Duggan (Doora-Barefield) for Hickey (55 minutes),  Anthony Downes (Kilmihil) for Kelly (inj 58 minutes), Gearóid O’Looney (Cooraclare) for Linnane (63 minutes).
Scorers: Aidan Malone (3-1, 1pen, 1f), Niall Hickey (1-2), Paudge Collins (0-3), Tony Kelly (0-3), Darren Malone (0-1).

Waterford: Marcus Millea; Ray O’Ceallaigh, Kevin Phelan, Stephen McGrath; Lorcan O’Corraoin, Danny Duggan, Brad Carroll; Ronan Sheehan, Eamonn Power; David Hallihan, Danny O’Brien, Cormac Condon; Emmet Power, Paul Whyte, Eoin Walsh.
Subs: Donal Breathnach for Condon (half-time), Conor Mulcahy for Millea (inj 50 minutes), Conor O’Shea for O’Brien (53 minutes), Aidan Condon for O’Ceallaigh (58 minutes).
Scorers: Emmet Power (1-0), Eamon Power (3f, Paul Whyte (0-2, 1f, Ronan Sheehan (0-1).

Referee: Pádraig O’Sullivan (Kerry).


A tough test awaits Clare

Given that Tipperary ran a fancied Kerry side to a point in their first-round game last week, the Premier County outfit will be favourites this Saturday in Thurles.
Tipperary football is enjoying a fair degree of success these days and the recent win in the Munster U-21 championship followed by Clonmel High School’s All-Ireland B success suggests that it will take a huge effort on Clare’s part if they are to win this one.
A final decision on the fitness of Enda Boyce won’t be made until later this week but at this stage he must be very doubtful and should he fail to recover in time for the game, it will be a blow to the Banner side’s hopes.
Playing a third championship game in just 10 days is a tough ask and it may well prove too much for Clare.

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