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*Dermot Coughlan in possession. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Clare’s senior footballers slumped to their second defeat in the Allianz National Football league, losing to Roscommon on Sunday.

Roscommon 1-08
Clare 0-04
Venue: Dr Hyde Park, Roscommon

Although trailing by six points the fact that Clare would have the benefit of a near galeforce wind and an extra man suggested that they were in a strong position facing into the second half of this third round tie.

Disappointingly, however, the Banner side’s performance fell well short of what they had delivered when scoring an impressive win over Kildare a week earlier and the home side emerged with a merited win, their first of the current campaign

Adding to the team’s disappointment was the fact that they finished with fourteen men after midfielder Ciaran Russell picked up a straight red card four minutes into injury time and the concession of a goal three minutes later.

It’s widely predicted that it will go down to the final round of games to determine final positions in this division and it may well be that scoring difference will be required to separate teams. If that proves to be the case the concession of that goal could well prove crucial.

Clare played against the elements in the opening half and they dominated possession in the first five minutes but failed to get through for a score. Full back Brian Stack, one of Roscommon’s stars on the day, opened the scoring in the sixth minute and they quickly added like scores from Cathal Cregg and Cian McKeon(free).

Clare created a couple of great chances in the opening half but they lost possession at a crucial time. They had their best chance in the 15th minute but David Tubridy’s attempted pass to Keelan Sexton was superbly intercepted by the home side’s goalkeeper Colm Lavin. The half was twenty three minutes old when Roscommon were reduced to fourteen men as wing back Niall Daly picked up a second yellow card for a foul on Dermot Coughlan. They finished the half strongly and when the half time whistle sounded they were 0-6 to 0-0 in front.

To their credit, the Rossies, despite being a man down and playing against the elements, dominated the second half and they extended their lead when Cian McKeon converted a 13m free five minutes after the resumption of play. A couple of minutes later they came close to finding the net but a combination of Stephen Ryan, Cian O’Dea and Cillian Brennan deflected Conor Daly’s effort behind for a ‘45.

The second half was fifteen minutes old before Clare finally got on the scoresheet, David Tubridy converting a 45m free. Roscommon, however, continued to dictate matters and they looked like the side that had the extra man. Clare made a number of changes and introduced Jack Morrissey, Alan Sweeney and Dale Masterson but the changes failed to break the Connacht side’s dominance.

David Tubridy and Eoin Cleary converted frees as the game went into six minutes of ‘added time’ but Clare were now down to fourteen men as Ciaran Russell picked up a black card eight minutes from the end of normal time. The Ennis man had just returned to the action after serving ten minutes in the sin bin when he picked up a red card.

Cian O’Dea deflected a David Tubridy ‘45 over the bar to move to within four points of the winners but, in the last play of the game and just seconds after they were reduced to thirteen players when Conor Daly picked up a black card, the home side struck for the game’s only goal, substitute Noel Gately providing the finish.

Brian Stack, Donor Daly, Colm Lavin, Enda Smith and Ciaran Lennon were prominent throughout for the winners on a day when Kevin Harnett, Cian O’Dea, Dermot Coughlan and David Tubridy did best for a disappointing Clare whose next outing will be a home tie against Laois on Sunday week, February 23.

Roscommon; Colm Lavin; David Murray, Brian Stack (0-1), Mark Richardson; Niall Daly, Conor Daly, Richard Hughes; Tadhg O’Rourke, Enda Smith (0-1); Niall Kilroy, Cian McKeon (0-3,f), Hubert Darcy; Donie Smith, Ciaran Lennon (0-1) Cathal Cregg (0-2);

Subs; Noel Gately (1-0) for D. Smith (inj, 34); Eddie Nolan for O’Rourke (half time); Finbar Cregg for C. Cregg(66); Conor Hussey for Hughes (70)

Clare; Stephen Ryan; Kevin Harnett, Cillian Brennan, Gordon Kelly; Dean Ryan, Pearce Lillis, Cian O’Dea (0-1); Ciaran Russell, Cathal O’Connor; Sean Collins, Keelan Sexton, Dermot Coughlan; Gearoid O’Brien, Eoin Cleary (0-1,f), David Tubridy (0-2,f);

Subs; Jack Morrissey for O’Brien (50); Alan Sweeney for Ryan (55); Dale Masterson for O’Connor (60), Emmett McMahon for Secton (66),

Referee; D. O’Mahoney, Tipperary

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