*Jamie Malone. Photograph: Martin Connolly
A place in the third round of the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers is the reward for the Clare senior footballers following their emphatic win over Leitrim on Saturday evening.
Venue: Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada, Carrick-on-Shannon
At the beginning of the year once the championship fixtures were confirmed, Clare’s goal was always to be playing on Saturday June 22nd. However instead of competing in the Munster Final, they had to settle for the qualifiers and got their All-Ireland SFC campaign off to a winning start.
It was a very impressive opening half from Colm Collins side who built up a tally of 2-12. Jamie Malone tapped home for the first green flag following a Conall Ó hÁiniféin run through the Leitrim defence. Captain, Gary Brennan was alert to ping home a rebounded effort for the second attempt.
As the scoreline suggests, the visitors did ease up on the gas for the second half amassing just 1-05, their trend of failing to keep the scoreboard ticking has been an issue all year and reared it’s head in what was a positive outcome.
Terry Hyland’s Leitrim kicked six scores without reply in the closing stages to cut the distance between the teams. If such a scenario is repeated the next day out, Clare’s year will come to an abrupt halt.
Nonetheless it is certainly job done for the Clare footballers and they will await Monday morning’s draw with interest as they await their next opponents.
Scorers for Clare: Eoin Cleary 0-7 (0-3f), Gary Brennan 1-3, Jamie Malone 1-2, David Tubridy 0-5 (0-1f, 0-1 45), Éimhín Courtney 1-0.
Scorers for Leitrim: Evan Sweeney 0-5 (0-3f), Domhnaill Flynn 0-3 (0-2f), Dean McGovern 0-3, Shane Moran 0-3, Mark Plunkett 0-2 (0-1 45), Jack Heslin 0-1.
CLARE: Stephen Ryan; Dean Ryan, Cillian Brennan, Gordon Kelly; Sean Collins, Aaron Fitzgerald, Conal Ó hÁiniféin; Seán O’Donoghue, Gary Brennan; Eoin Cleary, Cathal O’Connor, Jamie Malone; Gavin Cooney, David Tubridy, Cian O’Dea. Subs: Kieran Malone for J Malone (48), Éimhín Courtney for Cooney (52), Gearóid O’Brien for O’Dea (54), Darragh Bohannon for O’Connor (58), Cormac Murray for Tubridy (63), Einne O’Connor for Kelly (66).
LEITRIM: Cathal McCrann; Aidan Flynn, Micheal McWeeney, Conor Reynolds; Raymond Mulvey, Mark Plunkett, Paddy Maguire; Pearce Dolan, Shane Moran; Domhnaill Flynn, Seán McWeeney, Shane Quinn; Oisín McCaffrey, Dean McGovern, Ryan O’Rourke.Subs: Evan Sweeney for O’Rourke (13), Oisín Madden for Reynolds (34), Jack Gilheaney for McCaffrey (half-time), Jack Heslin for Mulvey (half-time), Gary Plunkett for D McWeeney (50), Niall Brady for Flynn (74).
Referee: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh).