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John Conlon of Clare in action against PJ Scully of Laois during their NHL game at O'Moore Park, Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly

Third time’s a charm as Clare prove too strong for Laois in National League Round 3

National League Division 1 Group B Round 3
Clare 2-27 Laois 1-17

CLARE completed a perfect National League afternoon after the hurlers’ commanding victory over Laois complemented earlier rousing wins for the mens and ladies footballers also against Leinster opposition, reports Eoin Brennan.
Following disappointing reverses against Antrim and Wexford, Brian Lohan’s side craved a victory to finally kickstart their season in Portlaoise. As it turned out, there was never really any doubt about the execution of that result as Clare led from start to finish and were clear winners long before the final whistle.
An outstanding Shane O’Donnell solo goal in the ninth minute was the main separator in the opening period as Clare, despite impressive braces for Cathal Malone and Diarmuid Ryan, struggled to put clear daylight between the sides.
13 wides in the first half ensured that Clare only held a 1-12 to 0-11 advantage by the break but the visitors stepped heavily on the gas on the restart. Again O’Donnell slalomed through, this time offloading to substitute Mark Rodgers to volley home his first senior goal in the 48th minute, the clinching score fittingly as Clare moved 2-19 to 0-13 clear.
Ross King did bat home a goal against the run of play at the other end just before the final water break. However, with Clare emptying the bench, they quickly got back on track, led by the consistent freetaking of Aidan McCarthy to run out comfortable winners.

Brian Lohan, Clare manager, instructs his players in the warm up before their NHL game at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise. Photograph by John Kelly

Clare: Eibhear Quilligan (Feakle); Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones), Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown), Aaron Fitzgerald (Éire Óg); Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe), John Conlon (Clonlara), Jack Browne (Ballyea); Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge), Jason McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona); Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg), David Reidy (Éire Óg), Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge); Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones), Ian Galvin (Clonlara), Aidan McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona)
Subs: Mark Rodgers (Scariff) for Golden (HT), David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona) for J. McCarthy (45), Colm Galvin (Clonlara) for Reidy (56), Domhnall McMahon (Michael Cusack’s) for I. Galvin (63), Cian Nolan (Smith O’Brien’s) for Ryan (63), Darragh Lohan (Wolfe Tones) for Conlon (67), Gary Cooney (O’Callaghan’s Mills) for O’Donnell (67)

Scorers: Aidan McCarthy (0-13, 11f, 1’65); Mark Rodgers (1-2); Cathal Malone (0-4); Shane O’Donnell (1-1); Diarmuid Ryan, Ian Galvin (0-2 each) John Conlon, Jason McCarthy, David Fitzgerald (0-1 each)

Laois: Enda Rowland; Diarmuid Conway, Donnchadh Hartnett, Sean Downey; Conor Phelan, Matthew Whelan, Jack Kelly; Fiachra Fennell, Paddy Purcell; James Ryan, Colm Stapleton, Ciaran Collier; PJ Scully, Eoin Gaughan, Ross King
Subs: Ciaran Comerford for Purcell (47), James Keyes for Gaughan (47), 21, 18 Ciaran McEvoy for Whelan (62), Lee Cleere for Phelan (62), Aaron Dunphy for Stapleton (64), Stephen Bergin for Collier (70)

Scorers: PJ Scully (0-10, 6f, 1’65); Ross King (1-2); Paddy Purcell (0-2); James Ryan, Colm Stapleton, Jack Kelly (s/l) (0-1 each)

Referee: Patrick Murphy (Carlow)

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