Kilkenny 1-18 Clare 1-17
Hot favourites Kilkenny had to rely on an injury time point to secure their dixision 1 status for next season when they overcame Clare in a cracking contest at Nowlan Park this afternoon.
On a day when the sides were level on ten occasions, the Noresiders were fortunate to be ahead at the final whistle. Kilkenny went in to the tie as raging hot favourites but Clare produced, arguably their best display of the campaign and were most unlucky to lose out.
They had outstanding performers in Tony Kelly and Shane O’Donnell and while there will be disappointment at the end result, the Banner men can certainly look forward to the championship with great hope after this performance
Clare’s hopes of avoiding relegation received a great boost when Pat O’Connor, Colm Galvin and Conor McGrath were all declared fit for action although McGrath only lasted twenty minutes at which time he was replaced by Cathal O’Connell.
Kilkenny had the opening two points but Clare then thundered into the game and a goal by Shane O’Donnell after a good delivery from Tony Kelly saw the visitors take the lead which they held until the mid point of the half when T.J. Reid blasted to the net. It was score for score from here to the half time whistle when Clare held a one point lead, 1-8 to1-7.
Kilkennty had the first two points of the second half and from here on it was point for point. Extra time looked a distinct possibility until Kilkenny defender Cillian Buckley capitalised on a poor clearance by Clare to fire over what proved to be the crucial score.
While Clare can point a few crucial mistakes when the gave possession away and also a missed penalty as reasons for the defeat, their overall performance certainly gives great hope as the championship campaign looms
The loss of Tony Kelly to injury in the final couple of minutes proved a blow to Clare hopes as was the loss of Conor McGrath after the first quarter
Kilkenny;–Eoin Murphy; Shane Prendergast, Paul Murphy, Joey Holden; Lester Ryan, Kieran Joyce (0-1), Cillian Buckley (0-2); Joe Lyng, Michael Fennelly (0-1); Walter Walsh (0-3), T.J.Reid (1-3), Matthew Ruth; Jonjo Farrell, Colin Fennelly (0-3), Ritchie Hogan (0-5);
Sub—Mark Kelly for L. Ryan
Clare;–Patrick Kelly; Domhnaill O’Donovan, David McInerney, Cian Dillon; Jack Browne, Conor Ryan, Pat Donnellan; Colm Galvin, Pat O’Connor; John Conlon (0-1), Tony Kelly (0-9), Colin Ryan; Conor McGrath, Shane O’Donnell (1-3), David Reidy (0-3);
Subs—Cathal O’Connell for McGrath (in j); Shane Golden for Colin Ryan; Aaron Cummingham for O’Connell; Seadna Morey (0-1) for Galvin; Bobby Duggan for Kelly
Referee—Cathal McAllister Cork
By Seamus Hayes