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David Tubridy was Clare's top scorer in Armagh. Photograph by John Kelly.

First half goals key to footballers defeat of Down

Clare 2-11 Down 0-11

THE key to Clare’s six point defeat of Down in Cusack Park on Sunday, was David Tubridy’s injury time goal just before half-time. The Doonbeg man put away Clare’s second goal, seconds after he had pointed a clear goal scoring chance. Keelan Sexton scored Clare’s first goal in the second minute after Tubridy had cut in along the end line, easing beyond Down defenders Gerard McGovern and Niall Donnelly.

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Come half time Clare led 2-7 to 0-3 and while that 10 point lead was emphatic, they could have led by much more. Clare kicked eight wides in the first half, along with missing at least two clear goal opportunities.

The game was played in bitterly cold conditions in Ennis in front of an attendance of 1,749. Clare’s opening 20 minutes was their most impressive spell with their tackling and tracking exceptional, even if their shooting did not match that at times.

They withdrew their captain Gary Brennan early in the second half. The Ballyea club man was replaced by Cathal O’Connor, who was making his first league appearance of 2017, following an appendix operation.

The second half was very scrappy with Down outscoring Clare 0-8 to 0-4. However Clare’s first half performance gave them an advantage that Down, who lacked bite and cohesion, could not reel in.

Clare had a number of excellent displays with full back Kevin Harnett, John Hayes, Gordon Kelly, Liam Markham and David Tubridy all contributing significantly to their first league win over Down since February 1993. Clare are now joint second in division 2 on three points. Their next game is away to Galway on Sunday week, February 26.

A more comprehensive report and post match interviews will be published in Thursday’s Clare Champion.

Clare: Joe Hayes; Dean Ryan, Kevin Harnett, Martin McMahon; Liam Markham, Gordon Kelly, John Hayes; Gary Brennan, Ciaran Russell; Sean Collins, Keelan Sexton, Shane Brennan; Eoin Cleary, David Tubridy, Jamie Malone.

Subs: Cathal O’Connor for Gary Brennan (43), Darren Nagle for John Hayes (48), Cian O’Dea for David Tubridy (53), Pearse Lillis for Dean Ryan (59), David Egan for Jamie Malone (64), Gearóid O’Brien for Sean Collins (67 inj).

Scorers: David Tubridy 1-3, Keelan Sexton 1-1, Eoin Cleary 0-3 (1f), Jamie Malone 0-3, Sean Collins 0-1.

Down: Marc Reid; Ryan McAleenan, Gerard McGovern, Darren O’Hagan; Conaill McGovern, Niall Donnelly, Caolan Mooney; Aidan Carr, Jonathan Flynn; Joe Murphy, Cathal Magee, Shay Millar; Alan Davidson, Pat Havern, Barry O’Hagan.

Subs: Darragh O’Hanlon for Conaill McGovern (35), Conor Maginn for Alan Davidson (35), Kevin McKernan for Pat Havern (43), Ryan Johnston for Gerard McGovern (53), Jerome Johnston for Barry O’Hagan (61), Peter Turley for Jonathan Flynn (63).

Scorers: Cathal Magee 0-3 (2f), Barry O’Hagan 0-2 (1f), Ryan Johnston 0-2, Pat Havern 0-1, Shay Millar 0-1, Aidan Carr 0-1, Darren O’Hagan 0-1.

Referee: Noel Mooney (Cavan).

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