*Shane Golden was one of Clare’s best performers. Photograph: Martin Connolly

Clare have defeated reigning League champions Kilkenny to record their first win of the competition this year.

Clare 2-20
Kilkenny 1-22
Venue: Cusack Park

A goal in either half via John Conlon and Podge Collins was significant as Clare put their first two points on the board at the expense of champions Kilkenny in Ennis on Sunday afternoon.

It was a marked improvement from Clare, this was a team performance encapsulated by Diarmuid Ryan’s three points, all of which were created through excellent link up play.

Although it was Kilkenny that raced into an early 0-05 0-02 lead, the hosts gradually found their groove hitting 1-04 without reply in a six minute period. Captain John Conlon showcased some ground hurling with the goal, Rory Hayes started the move with a turnover in defence before a midfield combination between Shane Golden and Colm Galvin resulted in the ball dropping around the goalmouth where the Clonlara attacker made no mistake.

Kilkenny added five of the final scores of the half to reduce the gap to a single point at half-time. Clare started the better in the second half with Colm Galvin, Peter Duggan and John Conlon all on target. Kevin Kelly’s accuracy from placed balls ensured they were always within a few scores of their opponents, however some breathing space was afforded to the Banner when Podge Collins fired past Eoin Murphy on the forty seventh minute when once again Colm Galvin played a key role in crafting the goal.

Further points from Ryan, Ian Galvin and Shane Golden extended their lead to eight points but Brian Cody’s Cats clawed it back to three before additional time commenced. Kevin Kelly goaled from a free in the final puck of the game, fortunately for the hosts Paud O’Dywer’s final whistle sounded on the restart.

Though defeat is never welcomed in Kilkenny, they can be content on their journey home. Cody fielded an outfit largely comprised of new players, although behind for large parts they kept the scoreboard ticking and could have caused an upset had an inordinate amount of injury time been played. Crucially the Cats failed to test Donal Tuohy frequently, seeing the damage Tipperary did this should have been one of their main objectives from the off.

Having left a lot to be desired in Thurles last weekend, Clare upped their game considerably in front of a home crowd. They were the better team overall, their support play was exemplary but of concern is the amount of scoreable frees conceded, over seventy minutes Kevin Kelly amassed 1-11 from frees, this figure must be reduced. Management’s use of the bench and timing of substitutions was a positive move, the more players trialled out at this time of the year the better for Clare hurling in the long run.

Colm Galvin and Shane Golden were outstanding at midfield, it was here the template was set, Rory Hayes and Podge Collins were others to standout for the winners. Next up for Clare is a trip to Pairc Uí Chaoimh on February 17th.

Clare:

1: Donal Tuohy (Crusheen)

20: Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones)
3: David McInerney (Tulla)
4: Jack Browne (Ballyea)

7: Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge)
6: Conor Cleary (Kilmaley)
26: David Fitzgerald (Inagh/Kilnamona)

8: Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge) (0-02)
21: Colm Galvin (Clonlara) (0-03)

12: Peter Duggan (Clooney/Quin) (0-06 4f 1’65)
17: Podge Collins (Cratloe) (1-00)
10: Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe) (0-03)

13: Colin Guilfoyle (Newmarket-on-Fergus) (0-01)
14: John Conlon (Clonlara) (1-01)
22: Ian Galvin (Clonlara) (0-02)

Subs:
25: Gary Cooney (O’Callaghans Mills) (0-01) for Guilfoyle (52)
9: Ryan Taylor (Clooney/Quin) for I Galvin (60)
2: Jason McCarthy (Inagh/Kilnamona) for Hayes (62)
18: Niall Deasy (Ballyea) (0-01 1f) for Duggan (66)
19: Michael O’Malley (Kilmaley) for C Galvin (70)

Kilkenny:
1: Eoin Murphy (Glenmore)

2: Paul Murphy (Danesfort)
3: Huw Lawlor (O’Loughlin Gaels)
4: Tommy Walsh (Tullaroan) (0-01)

5: Conor Delaney (Erins Own) (0-01)
6: Paddy Deegan (O’Loughlin Gaels)
7: Enda Morrissey (Bennettsbridge)

8: James Maher (St Lachtains) (0-02)
9: Conor Fogarty (Erins Own) (0-01)

10: John Donnelly (Thomastown) (0-01)
11: Ger Aylward (Glenmore) (0-03)
12: Martin Keoghan (Tullaroan)

13: Billy Ryan (Graigue-Ballycallan) (0-02)
14: Kevin Kelly (St Patricks) (1-11 1-11f)
15: Richie Leahy (Rower Instioge)

Subs:
20: Conor Browne (James Stephens) for Maher (43)
19: Padraig Walsh (Tullaroan) for Morrissey (49)
24: Liam Blanchfield (Bennettsbridge) for Leahy (51)
22: Ger Malone (Mullinavat) for Keoghan (57)

Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow)

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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