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Cathal O'Connor tries to get past Leitrim's Shane Moran during their Round 2 Division 4 National Football League game at Miltown Malbay.
The loss of Cathal O'Connor, to a second half injury, was a setback to Clare in Drogheda. Photograph by John Kelly.

Footballers well beaten in Drogheda

(Peter O’Connell)

Louth 1-16 Clare 0-13

NOT scoring in the last 27 minutes of their six point division 3 NFL loss to Louth in Drogheda was one of the primary reasons behind Clare’s defeat to their Leinster opponents.
When David Tubridy pointed his sixth score, eight minutes into the second half, Clare led 0-13 to 1-7 and they looked set for their second win within a week.
However the loss of Cathal O’Connor to injury and the black card shown to Ciaran Russell, in the fourth minute of the second half, derailed Clare who lost their composure in the second half.
They weren’t helped by a poor refereeing decision, 13 minutes into the second half, when Gary Brennan was clearly fouled by Adrian Reid. Seconds earlier the Clare midfielder had his jersey pulled back as he cut through. However neither a penalty or a free was awarded.
That said once Louth got a grip in the second half, Clare were off the pace and did not attack the game as they had in the opening period.
Clare led 0-9 to 1-5 at half time with an injury time Shane McGrath point giving them the advantage. McGrath’s point came after Cathal O’Connor blocked down a Louth kick in the middle of the field.
Clare had started very well and led 0-4 to 0-1 after nine minutes with Daid Tubridy and Shane Hickey kicking two points each. Louth responded though with four successive points, two from full forward Conor Grimes who looked dangerous.
Hickey tied the teams at 0-5 each before Adrain Reid goaled for Louth in the 20th minute. Cathal O’Connor should have cut out a high ball but instead Reid capitalised and finished neatly.
Now trailing 1-5 to 0-5, Clare responded well, kicking four successive scores with Tubridy, Hickey and McGrath all pointing.
Midway through the half Clare moved Gary Brennan into full forward, with his brother Shane relocating to midfield, while David Tubridy went to centre-forward. Brennan could have goaled in the 22nd minute but his shot was beaten away but Louth goalkeeper Neil Gallagher.
Clare will be disappointed with the performance more than the result. They never threatened their work rate and intensity which they brought to their opening round win over Wexford.
Their next league game will be at home to Sligo on March 1.

Clare: Joe Hayes (Lissycasey); Dean Ryan (Éire óg), Kevin Hartnett (Meelick), Martin McMahon
(Kilmurry Ibrickane); Ciaran Russell (Éire óg), Gordon Kelly (Miltown), Jamie Malone (Corofin); Gary Brennan (Clondegad-captain), Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen); Seán Collins (Cratloe), Shane Hickey (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Shane McGrath (Thomas Davis); David Tubridy (Doonbeg), Shane Brennan (Clondegad), Pat Burke (Kilmacud Crokes).

Subs: Podge Collins (Cratloe) for Ciaran Russell (black card-39), Keelan Sexton for Cathal O’Connor (40-inj), Chris Dunning (Wolfe Tones) for Seán Collins (62), Martin O’Leary (Kilmihil) for Pat Burke (66), Seán Haugh (O’Curry’s) for Shane Hickey (68).

Scorers: David Tubridy (0-6, 0-4f), Shane McGrath (0-4), Shane Hickey (0-3).

Frees: 38

Wides: 1

Louth: Neil Gallagher; Kevin Toner, Patrick Reilly, Padraig Rath; Derek Crilly, Dessie Finnegan, Darren O’Hanlon; Bevan Duffy, Eoin O’Connor; Adrian Reid, Daniel O’Connor, Declan Byrne; Ryan Burns, Conor Grimes, Colm Judge.

Subs: Ruairi Moore for Eoin O’Connor (34-inj), Derek Maguire for Daniel O’Connor (half-time), Anthony Williams for Derek Crilly (40), James Stewart for Darren O’Hanlon (43), Shane O’Hanlon for Adrian Reid (65-black card).

Scorers: Ryan Burns (0-5, 0-3f), Adrian Reid (1-1), Conor Grimes (0-3), Colm Judge (0-3, 0-1f), Declan Byrne (0-2), Derek Maguire, Shane O’Hanlon (0-1 each).

Frees: 19

Wides: 6

Referee: Martin McNally (Monaghan).

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