*Clare’s Daniel Walsh. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Despite producing one of their best performances of the season, Clare had to give best to Monaghan in Clones on Sunday afternoon.
Venue: St Tiernach’s Park, Clones
Clare’s third championship defeat on the trot following the Munster final loss to Kerry and opening round of the All-Ireland SFC series to Donegal means hopes of reaching back to back All-Ireland quarter-final are reliant on beating the side which knocked them out of the last eight last year, Derry.
A strong second half showing proved decisive for the home side on a day when Jack McCarron contributed nine points, eight from open play.
That said, Clare will look back on a tie in which they had some missed opportunities, particularly in the second half when they created a couple of goal chances but just failed to convert.
Being able to introduce players of the experience of Darren and Kieran Hughes and Conor McManus during the second half played a key role in Monaghan’s victory which keeps them very much in the hunt for qualification for phase 2 of the qualifiers.
Pointless after two games, Clare face the Ulster champions Derry in the final group game and are unable to progress to the All-Ireland quarter-finals off the back of two defeats.
Cathal O’Connor, Ciaran Russell, Jamie Malone and Emmet McMahon were prominent for Clare in this outing.
The sides retired at the interval on level terms at 0-10 each having been on level terms four times in a half in which Clare played some excellent football.
The visitors took the lead after a minute through midfielder Darragh Bohannon and by the mid point of the half they had a four point advantage with the score at 0-7 to 0-3.
Monaghan did well in the next ten minutes and outscored Clare 0-4 to 0-1 before Jack McCarron kicked the equalising point on the half hour mark making the score 0-8 each.
The Ulster side went ahead two minutes later through Karl Gallagher but points from Emmet Mahon and Keelan Sexton had the Banner men ahead again with the half time whistle approaching.
The last score of the half came from Monaghan goalkeeper Rory Beggan who converted a 45 which came about after Clare goalkeeper Stephen Ryan made an excellent save from Conor McCarthy.
Monaghan edged in front early in the second half and they had opened a two point gap when Clare struck for the game’s first goal. A good run from defence by Ciaran Russell caused problems for the Monaghan defence and when the ball broke close to goal Darragh Bohannon bravely dived in to flick to the net and put Clare back in front. They were level four times more before the three quarter stage arrived after which the home side hit three in a row to take back a lead they would hold to the finish.
With two minutes of normal time remaining and Clare trailing by two points, the winners put together a superb move which ended with wing back Conor McCarthy finding the net for a score which finally killed off the Clare challenge.
Clare’s starting team showed three changes in personnel and some positional switches from the side which was named earlier in the week.
Cian O’Dea, Darren O’Neill and injured team captain Eoin Cleary were replaced by Manus Doherty, Darragh Bohannon and Mark McInerney.
O’Neill and Cleary were amongst the matchday squad but O’Dea who had played a club game with his club Kilfenora the previous week wasn’t togged for this tie.
Positional switches saw Cillian Rouine line out at wing back with Manus Doherty slotting in at corner back while Pearse Lillis switched from wing forward to centre back with Jamie Malone moving to wing forward.
Scorers Monaghan: Jack McCarron (0-9, 1 f); Conor McCsrthy (1-2); Michael Bannigan (0-3, 1f); Conor McMahus (1 free), Karl O’Connell |(0-2) each; Rory Beggan (‘45), Ryan O’Boyle, Karl Gallagher, Stephen O’Hanlon, Gary Mohan (0-12) each
Scorers Clare: Emmett McMahon (0-6, 5f); Darragh Bohannon (1-1); Cathal O’Connor (0-4); Keelan Sexton (0-3, 1f); Mark McInerney (1 f), Jamie Malone (0-2) each
1: Rory Beggan;
2: Ryan O’Toole
3: Kieran Duffy
4: Ryan Wylie
5: Karl O’Connell
6: Conor Boyle
7: Conor McCrthy
8: Karl Gallagher
9: Killian Lavelle
10: Stephen O’Hanlon
11: Michael Bannigan
12: Ryan McAnespie
13: Jack McCrron
14: Gary Mohan
15: Shane Carey;
Darren Hughes for Wylie (40)
Conor McManus for Carey (45)
Kieran Hughes for Gallagher (65)
1: Stephen Ryan, Kilrush
2: Ronan Lanigan, Eire Og,
3: Cillian Brennan, Clondegad.
19: Manus Doherty, Eire Og;
5: Ciaran Russell, Eiree Og
12: Pearse Lillis, Cooraclare
4: Cillian Roune, Ennistymon;
8: Cathal O’Connor, Coolmeen
17: Darragh Bohannon, Shannon Gaels;
10: Daniel Walsh, Kilmurry-Ibrickane
11: Emmett McMahon, Kildysart;
6: Jamie Malone, Corofin;
23: Mark McInerney, Eire Og
14: Keelan Sexton, Kilmurry-Ibrickane
15: Podge Collins, Cratloe
21: Aaron Griffin (Lissycasey) for Collins (inj. 36)
25: Alan Sweeney (St. Breckans) for Brennan (51)
9: Darren O’Neill (Éire Óg) for Bohannon 55)
22: Shane Griffin (Lissycasey) for McInerney (61)
24: Brian McNamara (Cooraclare) for Walsh (70);
Referee: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh)