*Tony Kelly. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Clare qualified for the semi-finals of the Allianz National Hurling League for the first time in four years following a nine point win over Dublin.
Venue: Cusack Park
Clare completed the group stage in Division 1B of the Allianz National Hurling League with a comfortable victory over Dublin before an attendance of 3,360 at Cusack Park.
The victory, achieved on a day when St.Flannans captured the Dr. Harty Cup for the 22nd time, sealed a league semi-final date for Brian Lohan’s charges.
For the third time in five outings in this campaign, midfielder Tony Kelly finished with a tally of 0-12 while his midfield partner David McInerney landed 0-4 as nine players shared in Clare’s impressive final tally.
Dublin raced into an early 0-3 to 0-1 lead but Clare then hit eight unanswered points too open a six point lead.
This was still the position with five minutes remaining in the half but the visitors dominated this period and hit 1-3 to go to the break on level terms, 1-8 to 0-11. Dublin’s goal came from substitute Eamonn Dillon who caused some problems for the Clare defence following his introduction.
Clearly annoyed with the manner in which they had allowed Dublin bounce back into contention for the points on offer, Clare showed greater urgency on the resumption and by the twelfth minute of the new half they had opened a six point lead again with the score now at 0-18 to 1-9.
Clare continued to hold the upperhand from here to the final whistle and managed to give game time to Aron Shanagher, Gary Cooney, both of whom contributed to the scoreline, Kevin Hehir and Rory Hayes.
They now have two weekends free of competitive action as they await the outcome of games that will determine who their semi-final opponents will be.
SCORERS – Clare: T Kelly 0-12 (10f, 0-1 ’65), D McInerney 0-4, D McMahon 0-2, D Ryan 0-1, S O’Donnell 0-3, J Conlon 0-1, D Reidy 0-2, A Shanagher 0-1, G Cooney 0-1
Dublin: D Burle 0-10 (6f), E Dillon 1-0, P Crummey 0-3, D Gray 0-1, R Hayes 0-1
1: Eibhear Quilligan (Feakle)
2: Liam Corry (Éire Óg)
3: Conor Cleary (St Josephs Miltown)
4: Jack Browne (Ballyea)
5: Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge)
6: Patrick O’Connor (Tubber)
7: Paidí Fitzpatrick (Sixmilebridge)
8: David McInerney (Tulla)
9: Tony Kelly (Ballyea)
10: David Reidy (Éire Óg)
11: Domhnall McMahon (Tubber)
12: Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe)
13: Ryan Taylor (Clooney/Quin)
14: John Conlon (Clonlara)
15: Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg)
Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones) for Ryan (44)
Gary Cooney (O’Callaghans Mills) for Taylor (58)
Kevin Hehir (Inagh/Kilnamona) for McMahon (65)
Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones) for Fitzpatrick (69).
Dublin; Alan Nolan; Paddy Smyth, Eoghan O’Donnell, Andrew Dunphy; Jake Malone, Paul Crummy (0-3), Daire Gray (0-1) , Sean Moran, Riain McBride; Danny Sutliffe,, Donal Burke (0-10, 6f), Fiontán McGibb; Mark Schutte, David Keogh; Ronan Hayes (0-1),
Subs; Eamonn Dillon (1-0) for Moran (25); Alex O’Neill for McGibb(58); John Hetherton for Schutte( 60); Liam Rushe for McBride (65);
Referee; D. Hughes, Carlow