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Leaden Clare out of McGrath Cup

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O’Callaghan of UCC is tackled by Clare’s Chris Dunning. n UCC’s David Kearney tackles Dean Ryan.   Photographs by John KellyUCC  0-12   Clare  0-9

Although Clare led 0-4 to 0-0 after just nine minutes of last Sunday’s McGrath Cup quarter-final in Cooraclare, lack of fitness, teamwork, forward movement and ability to regularly win their own kick-outs caught up with the home county.

Early points from Gary Brennan, Ger Quinlan, Alan Clohessy and David Tubridy eased Clare into a commanding lead as UCC started very tentatively and were particularly confused by the introduction of the closed fist pass rule. Clare’s onslaught proved to be a temporary one though.
Once the Cork college settled, their understanding, finishing and fitness helped them into a 0-6 to 0-4 interval lead.
Their best forward, David Kearney, scored three first-half points from play with his marker Dean Ryan nowhere near sharp enough for his man.
Gary Brennan caught a couple balls at midfield but Clare lost six-in-a-row of their own kick outs at one period in the opening half. At no stage did the Clare wing-backs, Graham Kelly or Chris Dunning, look for a short kick-out or make a run to create space for the midfielders to run into behind them.
Early second-half points from Tubridy and Laurence Healy pulled Clare level, 0-6 apiece, and it was only in the last 10 minutes that UCC pulled away.
With Clare not threatening to disturb the net at the opposite end, Joe Hayes saved very well from David O’Callaghan six minutes into the second-half.
Shortly afterwards, Alan Clohessy, who was the first Clare man to win a mark under the new rules, equalised after Paul Reidy had worked hard to win back possession.
David Gould and David Tubridy, with a classy left-footed effort from centre-forward, traded scores but Paul Honohan and Gould then established a 0-10 to 0-8 advantage for UCC.
Five minutes from time, David O’Callag-han extended the visitor’s advantage and although Paul Reidy briefly ignited Clare’s hopes of making a late comeback, Seán Kiely’s last-minute point sealed a semi-final berth for UCC.
While Clare will have to come up with a few viable kick-out strategies, Joe Hayes played solidly in goals, while Brian Cummins played fairly well in the full-back line.
Graham Kelly was easily Clare’s most committed player and revelled when any chance to hit a shoulder presented itself. Gary Brennan impressed periodically at midfield, while the Clare attack didn’t function in what could be described as a coherent manner.
Alan Clohessy kicked a brace of points and showed a decent work rate as did Paul Reidy, while David Tubridy showed the odd flash of skill when moved to centre-forward but not often enough.
The full-forward line weren’t an example of best practice on the movement front, although there were definitely times in the first-half especially, when the ball should have been delivered more directly and faster into the inside line.
With some experienced players due back in time for the opening NFL division 4 game against Wicklow on February 7, that Clare team is likely to be stronger.
The majority who lined out last weekend have plenty of fitness and sharpness work ahead if they are going to feature.

Clare: Joe Hayes (Lissycasey), Brian Cummins (Corofin), Shane McNelis, Dean Ryan (Éire Óg); Chris Dunning (Wolfe Tones), Gordon Kelly (St Joseph’s, Miltown, Captain), Graham Kelly (St Joseph’s, Miltown); Laurence Healy (Ennistymon), Gary Brennan (Clondegad); Alan Clohessy (Liscannor), Paul Reidy (Kilmihil), Ger Quinlan (O’Curry’s); Mark Tubridy (Cooraclare), David Neylon (Shannon Gaels), David Tubridy (Doonbeg)
Subs: Conor Crowley (Kilmihil) for Dean Ryan (half-time), Seán Flynn (Doora-Barefield) for Ger Quinlan (half – time), Podge McMahon (Clondegad) for Mark Tubridy (38), Gary Leahy (Wolfe Tones) for David Neylon (48), Diarmuid Daly (Corofin) for Chris Dunning (50)
Scorers: David Tubridy 0-3 (0-2f), Alan Clohessy 0-2, Gary Brennan, Ger Quinlan, Laurence Healy, Paul Reidy 0-1 each
Wides: 7   Frees won: 16   Marks: 3
Yellow cards: Graham Kelly, Gordon Kelly
UCC: Ken O’Halloran (Captain), Donal Óg O’Donovan, Eoin Hegarty, Shane Enright; David Limerick, Adrian Greaney, Philip Corrigan; Seán Kiely, John Buckley; David O’Callaghan, Brendan Jer O’Sullivan, David Gould, David Kearney, Seamus Hayes, Paul Honohan
Sub: Barry O’Driscoll for Brendan Jer O’Sullivan (17 – injured)
Scorers: David Kearney 0-3, David Gould 0-3f, Paul Honohan, Seán Kiely 0-2 each, David O’Callaghan 0-1, Barry O’Driscoll 0-1 f
Wides: 11   Frees won: 27   Marks: 3
Yellow cards: David Gould, Paul Honohan.
Referee: John Lynch (Kerry)

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