A 20 point masterclass from Tony Kelly earned Clare a third successive National League victory over Dublin in their penultimate group clash in Parnell Park this evening.
Venue: Parnell Park
Having been on the sidelines since suffering a dead leg in the opening half against Wexford three weeks previously, the 2020 All-Star returned with a vengeance to help the Banner control matters in what was a compact cauldron of intensity.
In all, Kelly scored four from play and another four placed balls from near his own ’45 as he repeatedly kept Clare ticking over on the scoreboard. Aidan McCarthy also raided for four points while in addition, substitute David Fitzgerald impacted from the bench in the final quarter with a long range brace to seal matters.
The strong wind certainly proved a major factor but Clare proved superior in both halves, despite being stunned by the concession of two quick goals late in the opening period.
0-4 to 0-1 down after only four minutes, Clare gradually snatched back the whip hand ether side of the water break to complete a nine point first half turnaround, five from Kelly to hold a 0-12 to 0-07 advantage by the 23rd minute.
Wind-assisted Dublin did bounce back off the ropes however as the switch of Ronan Hayes to full-forward inspired a brace of goals in the space of four minutes to turn the tie on its head once more.
Hayes struck for 1-1 in quick succession before seeing a second goal attempt somehow tipped away by goalkeeper Eibhear Quilligan by the half hour mark. However, Clare didn’t heed the warning signs and seemed vulnerable once more when Cian Boland grabbed a second major on the home side’s way to a 2-11 to 0-15 interval lead.
With the wind now at their backs, it seemed only a matter of time before Clare hit the front again. And after a brief resistance from their hosts, inevitably it was Kelly, ably assisted by McCarthy, that finally turned the tide in the Banner’s favour ten minutes into the second half.
A five point unanswered rally, which spanned either side of the final water break, bolstered Clare’s cushion to six at 0-28 to 2-16. And from there, it was up to Kelly’s accuracy from placed balls to steer the Clare ship to safety as he converted five of their last six points to cement timely back-to-back league victories, only three weeks out from their opening championship tie against Waterford.
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Scorers for Clare: Tony Kelly (0-20, 15f, 1’65), Aidan McCarthy (0-04), Shane O’Donnell (0-02), Mark Rodgers (0-02), David Fitzgerald (0-02), Cathal Malone (0-01), Diarmuid Ryan (0-01), Aron Shanagher (0-01), David Reidy (0-01)
Scorers for Dublin: Donal Burke (0-13, 9f); Ronan Hayes (1-02), Cian Boland (1-01), Danny Sutcliffe (0-02), Chris Crummy (0-02), Mark Schutte (0-01) Daire Gray (0-01), Eamonn Dillon (0-01)
1: Eibhear Quilligan (Feakle)
2: Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones)
3: Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown)
4: Aaron Fitzgerald (Éire Óg)
5: Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe)
6: John Conlon (Clonlara) (Captain)
18: Paidí Fitzpatrick (Sixmilebridge)
8: Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge)
21: Colm Galvin (Clonlara)
7: Aidan McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona)
23: Tony Kelly (Ballyea)
15: Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg)
14: Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones)
13: Mark Rodgers (Scariff)
11: Ian Galvin (Clonlara)
10: David Reidy (Éire Óg) for I. Galvin (47)
9: David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona) for Fitzpatrick (53)
26: Stiofan McMahon (Broadford) for Rodgers (62)
24: Jason McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona) for C. Galvin (67)
1: Alan Nolan (St Brigid’s)
2: Andrew Dunphy (St Brigid’s)
4: Cian O’Callaghan (Cuala)
3: Eoghan O’Donnell (Whitehall Colmcille)
5: Paddy Smyth (Clontarf)
6: Conor Burke (St Vincent’s)
7: Daire Gray (Whitehall Colmcille)
9: James Madden (Ballyboden St Enda’s)
11: Chris Crummey (Lucan Sarsfields)
10: Danny Sutcliffe (St Jude’s)
14: Ronan Hayes (Kilmacud Crokes)
12: Mark Schutte (Cuala)
13: Cian Boland (St. Oliver Plunett/Eoghan Ruadh)
15: Eamonn Dillon (Naomh Fionnbarra)
8: Donal Burke (Na Fianna)
20: Riain McBride (St Vincent’s) for Smyth (49)
24: John Hetherton (St Vincent’s) for Schutte (53)
22: Davy Keogh (Thomas Davis) for Boland (60)
21: Fergal Whitely (Kilmacud Crokes) for Sutcliffe (70)
26: Paul Crummy (Lucan Sarsfields) for Dillon (70)
Referee: Colum Cunning (Antrim)