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Clare's Martin O'Leary .

O’Leary does the business in London

FIFTEEN minutes into Sunday’s game in Ruislip, London corner-back Philip Butler was met with the curly finger. He had been beaten to virtually every ball by his 19-year-old opponent, who was playing just his third national league game for Clare.

To date, Kilmihil’s Martin O’Leary, who scored 0-4, has been one of Clare’s most potent forwards in the 2014 campaign. He attributes this to the quality and guidance of the more experienced players around him.

“They’ve been around the block. The likes of Tubs [David Tubridy] inside in the full-forward line, his movement is unbelievable and then we have the likes of Gary [Brennan] kicking in the ball. If you make it stick, take on your man,” is how he put it after Clare’s second league win of the new season.
Clare introduced five subs, including a couple of U-21s and a few old stagers.

“There’s a good mix. We had two young lads in Jamie [Malone] and Jack [O’Dea] and the experience of Rory [Donnelly] and Claw [Alan Clohessy]. They’ve been there down through the years. You need the fresh legs. They’re very good subs. The boys that were taken off, they had their shift done.

“We were told at half-time that if you had your shift done, they’d put in fresh legs.  We’re new to it. They’ve been around and they know the story. They’re bringing us into it,” O’Leary said of how the older players are helping the new boys.

Twenty-four minutes into the second half, O’Leary put over his best score with his right foot, which isn’t usually over-utilised for shooting. It could have been a goal and came during Clare’s best spell, playing against the elements in Ruislip.

“Playing into the breeze suits us more. We’ve good ball winners in the forwards, like Shane McGrath, Séan Collins and Podge [Collins]. Especially in heavy conditions, you really have to carry the ball. The main thing was to come over here and get the win. We’re top now and that’s good,” he reflected.
O’Leary acknowledged that Clare’s goals helped to create a comfortable distance between them and the Exiles.

“They were killers. We got two in-a-row and got on top of London. We kicked on then, although we conceded a silly goal but that happens. Hopefully against Wicklow we can meet our targets.

“Coming over here and getting a win is a great experience. It’s just about getting the bodies right now again and refocusing. If we can get the two points against Wicklow now, that’s the main thing,” Clare’s youngest attacker said.

About Peter O'Connell

West Clare native Peter O'Connell worked for The Clare Champion for 12 years and covered everything from sport, especially GAA, news, features and had been even known to branch into the fashion scene on occasion.

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