*Ciaran Russell. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
CLARE’s senior footballers time in Division 2 has come to an end, for now, with a fifteen point win over Limerick.
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis
After falling to five defeats in a row, relegation is the unwanted reward for Clare’s efforts in this year’s Allianz National Football League. It brings to an end a seven year run in Division 2 for Colm Collins’ men, the outcome of which ultimately arose in their second and third round defeats to Meath and Kildare.
Fielding eight players earning a first-time start in this year’s campaign, the tie was used as an opportunity for them to put up their hand for a potential championship appearance. Other alterations involving established players were also trialled with Ciaran Russell and Jamie Malone most impressive in this regard at full and centre back respectively.
Early points from Emmet McMahon and Keelan Sexton put Clare ahead while Donal O’Sullivan denied Aaron Griffin from raising a green flag on two minutes. O’Sullivan stepped up again at the end of the half to stop Mark McInerney from goaling.
Chief scorer James Naughton opened Limerick’s account on five minutes before Clare responded with the next four scores on the trot.
Playing with the aid of a slight breeze, defending the Town end and shooting towards the Clonroad, Clare would hold an eight point advantage at the sounding of the half-time whistle.
On the restart, Naughton kicked the way with three points in a row. The straight red card of wing forward Adrian Enright took wind from Limerick’s sails and they were further knocked back when in the subsequent passage of play when Mark McInerney kicked the ball into the back of the net, Daniel Walsh with the delivery to tee up the Éire Óg attacker.
Naughton responded with the next score before Aaron Griffin and two points from Emmet McMahon followed.
Just before five minutes of additional time was announced, Clare struck for goal number two. Podge Collins with a precision cross-field ball found Ciaran Downes and he made no mistake in nestling the ball to the bottom right corner of the net.
While Clare’s league campaign started as it ended by securing victory in Cusack Park, the intervening defeats seeing them drop down to the third division. On this occasion, the duo of Malone and Russell were prominent alongside Ikem Ugwueru, Cillian Rouine and Emmet McMahon.
Scorers Clare: M McInerney (1-03 1f), E McMahon (0-05 1f), K Sexton (0-05 1f), A Griffin (0-03), C Downes (1-00), D Walsh (0-01), P Collins (0-01), S Griffin (0-01)
Scorers Limerick: J Naughton (0-05 2f), P Nash (0-02), C Sheehan (0-01), K Ryan (0-01)
1: Stephen Ryan (Kilrush Shamrocks)
2: Cillian Rouine (Ennistymon)
3: Ciaran Russell (Éire Óg)
4: Michéal Garry (Cooraclare)
5: Ikem Ugweru (Éire Óg)
6: Jamie Malone (Corofin)
7: Daniel Walsh (Kilmurry Ibrickane)
8: Emmet McMahon (Kildysart)
9: Darragh Bohannon (Shannon Gaels)
10: Brendy Rouine (Ennistymon)
11: Padraic Collins (Cratloe)
12: Ciaran Downes (Kilmihil)
13: Mark McInerney (Éire Óg)
14: Keelan Sexton (Kilmurry Ibrickane)
15: Aaron Griffin (Lissycasey)
23: Pearse Lillis (Cooraclare) for B Rouine (45)
20: Shane Griffin (Lissycasey) for Sexton (47)
21: Dan Keating (Kilmihil) for Bohannon (56)
25: Darren Nagle (Liscannor) for Russell (56)
1: Donal O’Sullivan (Monaleen)
2: Jim Liston (Gerald Griffins)
3: Séan O’Dea (Kilteely/Dromkeen)
4: Brian Fanning (Pallasgreen)
5: Cian Sheehan (Newcastle West)
6: Barry Coleman (Rathkeale)
7: Gordon Brown (Na Piarsaigh)
8: Cillain Fahy (Dromcollogher/Broadford)
9: Colm McSweeney (Gerald Griffins)
10: Adrian Enright (Fr Caseys)
11: James Naughton (St Senans)
12: Paul Maher (Adare)
13: Cathal Downes (Kildimo/Pallaskenry)
14: Davy Lyons (Adare)
15: Peter Nash (Killdimo/Pallaskenry)
16: Aaron O’Sullivan (Pallasgreen) for O’Sullvan (HT)
17: Brian Donovan (Monaleen) for Ryan (HT)
21: Dara Noonan (Gerald Griffins) for Lyons (47)
20: Tony McCarthy (Killdimo/Pallaskenry) for Brown (47)
26: Cormac Woulfe (Naomh Seanan) for Fanning (52)
Referee: Barry Judge (Limerick)