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Shane Mc Grath of Clare goes head first at the Sligo defence during their National League game in Cusack park. Photograph by John Kelly.

Superb second half wins it for Clare


(Peter O’Connell)

Clare 0-22 Sligo 1-13

TRAILING by 0-5 to 0-0 after 14 minutes and 0-10 to 0-4 down eight minutes before half-time, Clare staged an excellent recovery in winning their second game of the division 3 NFL. Now on two points from three games, Clare play Tipperary on Saturday in Thurles in round four. Sligo meanwhile are now bottom of division 3, not having picked up a point yet.

[doptg id=”48″]Scoring ten evenly split points from play between them, Pat Burke and Shane McGrath put over an array of superb points for Clare, while Shane Hickey also pointed three from play.

Clare only got going late in the first half when, backed by a strong breeze, Sligo were six points ahead. However come the interval the Yeats County team were just 0-11 to 0-9 ahead. Adrian Marren and David Kelly were exceptionally dangerous for Sligo for much of that opening half. Clare didn’t match Sligo’s zest for most of the first half and turned over possession numerous times.

They did up their game late in the first half though and maintained that intensity all through the second half with McGrath, Burke, Hickey, Seán Collins, Gary Brennan and even Dean Ryan pointing.

David Tubridy didn’t start, due to a groin complaint which flared up again on Friday night but the Doonbeg man came on for Shane Brennan at half time and kicked two points.

Sligo goaled in second half injury time, when Marren netted. However only a joint Joe Hayes and Dean Ryan blocked prevented a Sligo goal in the opening minute for the second half. Perhaps had Sligo goaled then, they would have made more of a game of it.

Clare completely controlled the middle third in that second half with Cathal O’Connor excelling while Burke and McGrath were immense. Dean Ryan also had a great game while his first league game of 2015 will have brought on Kevin Hartnett.

Clare: Joe Hayes (Lissycasey); Dean Ryan (Eire óg), Kevin Hartnett (Meelick), Martin McMahon (Kilmurry Ibrickane); Jamie Malone (Corofin), Gordon Kelly (Miltown), Ciaran Russell (Eire óg); Gary Brennan (Clondegad-captain), Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen); Shane McGrath (Thomas Davis), Shane Hickey (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Seán Collins (Cratloe); Shane Brennan (Clondegad), Podge Collins (Cratloe), Pat Burke (Kilmacud Crokes).

Subs: David Tubridy (Doonbeg) for Shane Brennan (half-time), Seán Haugh (O’Curry’s) for Jamie Malone, Martin O’Leary (Kilmihil – both 59), Chris Dunning (Wolfe Tones) for Seán Collins (68), Darren Nagle (Liscannor for Martin McMahon (black card -70).

Scorers: Pat Burke, Shane McGrath (0-5 each), Shane Hickey (0-3), Gary Brennan (0-3, 0-2f), Seán Collins (0-2), David Tubridy (0-2, 0-1f), Cathal O’Connor, Dean Ryan (0-1 each).

Wides: 4
Frees: 23
Yellow card: Ciaran Russell
Black card: Martin McMahon

Sligo: Aidan Devaney; Daniel Maye, Ross Donovan, Eoin Flanagan; Keelan Cawley, Brendan Egan, Noel Gaughan; Pat Hughes, Cristoir Davey; Neil Ewing, Mark Breheny (captain), Niall Murphy; David Kelly, Adrian Marren, Cian Breheny.

Subs: Kevin McDonnell for Cristoir Davey (29), Stephen Gilmartin for Cian Breheny (45), Johnny Martyn for Daniel Maye (52), Luke Bree for Keelan Cawley, Gareth Ryan for Noel Gaughan (both 61).

Scorers: Adrian Marren (1-7, 0-3f), David Kelly (0-3), Mark Brehony, Cristoir Davey, Neil Ewing (0-1 each).

Wides: 5
Frees: 19
Yellow cards: Mark Breheny, Adrian Marren, Gareth Ryan.

Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo).

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