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Sexton goal helps Clare seal Division 2 status

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Clare have secured their Division 2 status for 2020 in the Allianz National Football League after edging past Tipperary.

Clare 3-15
Tipperary 1-19
Venue: Semple Stadium

Having went 28 minutes without a score in the second half, Clare looked to be in trouble until Kilmurry Ibrickane’s Keelan Sexton stepped up to rattle the net on the 70th minute to level matters approaching the final whistle.

In additional time it was the experienced heads of Gary Brennan and David Tubridy that popped up with vital points to seal the victory in Thurles and more importantly Clare’s place in the Division next year.

It was an opening half dominated by the hosts as Tipperary’s counter attacks proved problematic for Colm Collins’ charges. Conor Sweeney had 1-01 on the board inside the first three minutes but Clare would reply with 1-02 on the trot as Gavin Cooney collected their first goal of the game.

Four points in a row from the impressive Sweeney followed before Eoin Cleary and Jamie Malone kicked scores to level the sides once again on 22 minutes. Tubridy and Malone put the Banner back in front but eight scores in the final thirteen minutes of the half would see Liam Kearns’ side hold a 1-13 1-08 interval advantage.

Within seven minutes, Clare were on level terms with Tubridy, Cleary, Keelan Sexton and Gary Brennan all finding the target. There was even more reason to celebrate as Doonbeg’s David Tubridy beat Evan Comeford in the Tipperary goal to create a three point lead.

Six scores without reply put the Premier County in firm control as the game entered additional time, Sweeney, Liam McGrath and Steven O’Brien doing damage on the scoreboard.

One week on from being the guilty culprit in a missed pass that sent Meath on their way to victory in Cusack Park, Keelan Sexton became the hero when he goaled on 70 minutes to swing momentum in Clare’s favour at the ideal juncture. Gary Brennan as ever stepped up when his county needed him to build a one point lead while it would be David Tubridy one of their top performers in the League that kicked the final score to seal a two point victory and ensure it would be Cork and Tipperary that suffer relegation to Division 3.

Scorers Clare: David Tubridy 1-3, Gavin Cooney 1-1, Keelan Sexton 1-1, Eoin Cleary 0-4 (0-2f), Gary Brennan 0-2, Jamie Malone 0-2, Cathal O’Connor 0-1, Sean O’Donoghue 0-1.

Scorers Tipperary: Conor Sweeney 1-9 (0-4f), Liam McGrath 0-4 (0-2f), Kevin Fahey 0-2, Steven O’Brien 0-2, Liam Casey 0-2.

Clare:

16. Robert Eyres (Kildysart)

4. Gordon Kelly (St. Josephs Miltown Malbay)

3. Cillian Brennan (Clondegad)

2. Kevin Harnett (Meelick)

11. Sean Collins (Cratloe)

6. Dean Ryan (Na Fianna, Dublin)

7. Cian O’Dea (Kilfenora)

14. Sean O’Donoghue (Cooraclare)

9. Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen)

10. Eoin Cleary (St. Josephs Miltown Malbay)

5. Conall O’hAinifein (Éire Óg)

12. Jamie Malone (Corofin)

13. Gavin Cooney (Éire Óg)

8. Gary Brennan (Clondegad)

15. David Tubridy (Doonbeg)

Substitutes:
25. Keelan Sexton (Kilmurry Ibrickane) for Ryan (36)

22. Kieran Malone (St. Josephs Miltown Malbay) for Cooney (64)

21. Dale Masterson (St. Breckens) for O’hAinifein (67)

Tipperary:
1. Evan Comerford (Kilsheelan-Kilcash)

12. Brian Fox (Éire Óg Annacarty-Donohill)

3. John Meagher (Loughmore-Castleiney)

4. Emmett Moloney (Drom & Inch)

2. Alan Campbell (Moyle Rovers)

6. Dáire Brennan (Kilsheelan-Kilcash)

5. Kevin Fahey (Clonmel Commercials)

8. Steven O’Brien (Ballina)

10. Jack Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials)

9. Liam Casey (Cahir)

13. Philip Austin (Borrisokane)

22. Paul Maher (Kilsheelan-Kilcash)

15. Michael Quinlivan (Clonmel Commercials)

14. Conor Sweeney (Ballyporeen)

11. Liam McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)

Substitutes:
7. Jimmy Feehan (Killenaule) for Maher (60)

19. Liam Boland (Moyle Rovers) for Austin (60)

18. Dan O’Meara (Kiladangan) for McGrath (67)

Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford)

Newmarket-on-Fergus native, Páraic McMahon is a freelance journalist and broadcaster currently working for numerous national and local publications including The Clare Echo, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RTÉ, TheJournal.ie, The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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