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Nail biting moments for one Clare fan as it gets to the end of their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly

Heartbreak for Clare As Meath March On To Super Eights

Clare suffered an agonising loss to Meath in the fourth round of All Ireland SFC Qualifiers, with the Royals taking a 2-16 to 1-18 win in Portlaoise.

In a first half that allowed little time for breath, the sides were level on six different occasions, including at the half-time whistle.

Meath looked to have stolen a vital march when Brian Menton slammed home a scrappy goal right on the 35th minute to put his side 1-9 to 0-10 ahead.

The response from Clare was immediate, with Gordon Kelly raiding from corner-back to kick a vital score before Jamie Malone arrowed over his fourth of the half to restore parity at 0-12 to 1-9.

Meath had Mickey Newman to thank for the lion’s share of their first-half tally as he landed 0-5 with all bar one of those coming from placed balls.

David Tubridy was central to the Clare challenge once more with 0-3 for him in the first period including two from frees.

Clare had seven different scorers in that first 35 minutes, with Gary Brennan, Cathal O’Connor, Eoin Cleary and Cian O’Dea also splitting the posts.

Meath dominated the opening period after the restart, outscoring Clare 1-4 to 1-0 by the 45th minute.

Gavin Cooney’s goal came after Cian O’Dea played a dangerous ball to the square and the Eire Óg man got a fist to just get the ball over the line.

That came after the opening two points for Meath, but the hammer blow came with Newman’s goal straight after Cooney’s.

They added two more points unanswered to move 2-13 to 1-12 ahead in what was a crucial period.

Cathal O’Connor cut the gap to three with a fine score from distance with 15 minutes to go, and Clare welcomed back Dermot Coughlan off the bench for his first appearance since suffering a serious ankle injury against Armagh in the National League.

It was Coughlan who set up Tubridy to reduce the gap to two, but Meath hit back with a free to lead by 2-14 to 1-14 with less than 10 minutes to play.

Eoin Cleary’s free brought it back to two with five to play but a big let off came when Meath squandered a one on one goal chance with the ball going wide from close range.

Cillian O’Sullivan and David Tubridy swapped points as the tension ramped up, with another from Meath pushing them three ahead in injury time.

A late David Tubridy free gave Clare hope, and Coughlan cut the gap to one but it proved to be the last action of the game as the final whistle brought the curtain down on Clare’s bid for the Super Eight’s.

Clare: Stephen Ryan; Gordon Kelly, Cillian Brennan, Kevin Hartnett; Sean Collins, Aaron Fitzgerald, Dean Ryan; Gary Brennan (c), Cathal O’Connor; Sean O’Donoghue, Eoin Cleary, Jamie Malone; Gavin Cooney, David Tubridy, Cian O’Dea.

Scorers:  David Tubridy (0-6, 3f), Jamie Malone (0-4), Gavin Cooney (1-0), Cathal O’Connor (0-2), Eoin Cleary (0-2, 2f), Gary Brennan, Gordon Kelly, Dermot Coughlan and Cian O’Dea (0-1 each).

 

Shane Gallagher of Meath in action against Gavin Cooney of Clare during their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
Sean O Donoghue of Clare in action against Donal Keogan of Meath during their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
Sean O Donoghue of Clare in action against Shane Mc Entee Of Meath during their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
Gary Brennan of Clare in action against Padraic Harnan of Meath during their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
Jamie Malone of Clare in action against Seamus Lavin of Meath during their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
Sean Collins of Clare in action against Thomas Mc Govern of Meath during their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
Ethan Devine of Meath in action against Dean Ryan of Clare during their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
Cian O Dea of Clare goes down injured during their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
David Tubridy of Clare in action against Gavin Mc Coy of Meath during their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
Jamie Malone of Clare celebrates a point during their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
Padraic Harnan of Meath in action against Eoin Cleary of Clare during their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
Jamie Malone of Clare in action against Conor Mc Gill of Meath during their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
Jamie Malone of Clare in action against Seamus Lavin of Meath during their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
Gary Brennan of Clare in action against Ethan Devine and Bryan Menton of Meath during their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
Gavin Cooney of Clare celebrates a goal during their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
Jamie Malone of Clare in action against Padraic Harnan of Meath during their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
Dermot Coughlan of Clare in action against Bryan Mc Mahon of Meath during their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
Nail biting moments for one Clare fan as it gets to the end of their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
A Clare fan urges on her team in he closing stages of their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
Colm Collins, Clare manager, in the closing stages of their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
Selector Enda Coughlan looks on as it gets to the end of their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly

A clearly disappointed Cathal O Connor of Clare at the end of their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
Kevin Harnett is hugged by Dean Ryan of Clare at the end of their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly
A clearly disappointed Aaron Fitzgerald of Clare at the end of their Championship Qualifier Round 4 game at Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly

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