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The Clare team huddle before their All-Ireland SHC quarter final at Semple Stadium. Photograph by John Kelly

HURLING: Croker calling after breathtaking Banner backlash

All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Quarter-Final
Clare 1-24 Wexford 3-14

CLARE may have gotten out of jail but what a breakout it proved to be as they unearthed an almost incredulous ten point turnaround to knock Wexford out of the championship for the fourth time in five seasons in front of 34, 640 in FBD Semple Stadium, writes Eoin Brennan.
Having recovered from a stuttering start, Clare looked to be firmly in the ascendency until being struck by a brace of sucker-punch goals that left Lohan’s men trailing by six points with just ten minutes remaining.
It was the fortuitous manner of the goals in contrast to Ian Galvin’s luckless effort at the other end that ricocheted back off the crossbar that would have left most sides feeling as if it wasn’t to be their day.
Clare’s character ensured that they made it their day as despite not firing on all cylinders for long periods, they never dropped their heads at any stage and managed to finally turn the tide by outscoring Wexford by 1-9 to 0-2 coming down the final straight.
Impact subs Aron Shanagher (1-2) and Shane Meehan (0-2) were central to that dramatic late charge while Shane O’Donnell, Tony Kelly, Paul Flanagan, John Conlon and Diarmuid Ryan were others to excel in a remarkable finale.
All that after Jack O’Connor struck for a goal after only 30 seconds of the throw-in to give Wexford the ideal start. It was a lead that they deservedly held until Ian Galvin and Peter Duggan managed to eke out a 0-10 to 1-7 half-time deadlock.
Needing a spark, Clare re-emerged in more more determined mood, with Diarmuid Ryan (2), David Reidy and Tony Kelly putting the Banner into the lead for the first time at 0-14 to 1-9.
Then came that Wexford two goal tsunami in the space of three minutes as first goalkeeper Mark Fanning’s free from his own 20 metre line somehow deceived everyone on its way to the net before Lee Chin rifled home a rebound only seconds after Galvin had hit the woodwork at the other end.
At 3-11 to 0-14, even the most optimistic Clare supporter would have feared the worst. However, Lohan’s men are nothing if not relentless and somehow found an extra gear coming down the final straight to bring their momentum-fuelled season to Croke Park and an All-Ireland Semi-Final showdown against Kilkenny in a fortnight’s time.

Clare: Eibhear Quilligan (Feakle); Paul Flanagan (Ballyea), Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown), Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones); Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe), John Conlon (Clonlara), David McInerney (Tulla); Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge), Ryan Taylor (Clooney-Quin); David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona), Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg), Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin); Ian Galvin (Clonlara), Tony Kelly (Ballyea), David Reidy (Éire Óg)
Subs: Cian Nolan (Smith O’Brien’s) for Hayes (8), Mark Rodgers (Scariff) for Reidy (53), Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones) for Fitzgerald (59), Shane Meehan (Banner) for Galvin (61)

Scorers: Peter Duggan (0-5f); Aron Shanagher (1-2); Tony Kelly (0-4); Diarmuid Ryan (0-3); Ian Galvin, David Reidy, Shane Meehan, Shane O’Donnell (0-2 each); David Fitzgerald, Cathal Malone (0-1 each)

Wexford: Mark Fanning (Glynn-Barntown); Simon Donohoe (Shelmaliers), Shane Reck (Oylegate-Glenbrien), Liam Ryan (Raparees); Matthew O’Hanlon (St James’), Damien Reck (Oylegate-Glenbrien), Paudie Foley (Crossabeg-Ballymurn); Conor Devitt (Tara Rocks), Liam Óg McGovern (St Anne’s); Rory O’Connor (St Martin’s), Jack O’Connor (St Martin’s), Oisin Foley (Crossabeg-Ballymurn); Lee Chin (Faythe Harriers), Conor McDonald (Naomh Eanna), Diarmuid O’Keeffe (St Anne’s)
Subs: Mikie Dwyer (St Mogue’s Fethard) for R. O’Connor (14, inj), Kevin Foley (Rapparees) for O’Keeffe (62), Connal Flood (Cloughbawn) for McGovern (63), Charlie McGuckin (Naomh Eanna) for S. Reck (67, inj), Paul Morris (Ferns St Aidan’s) for D. Reck (68)

Scorers: Lee Chin (1-8, 6f); Jack O’Connor, Mark Fanning (f) (1-0 each); Oisin Foley (0-2); Rory O’Connor, Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Damien Reck, Mikie Dwyer (0-1 each)

Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork)

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