*Clare’s Caleb Walsh. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Clare’s involvement in the inaugural Electric Ireland All-Ireland minor tier 2 football championship preliminary quarter final ended in disappointment when they lost out to a physically stronger Sligo outfit at Cusack Park on Saturday.

Sligo 2-10
Clare 1-7
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis

The visitors laid the foundation for this merited victory in the opening half which they dominated kicking some superb points.

They were helped by two goals which the Clare defence won’t be happy to have conceded as both came after Clare turned over possession. These scores helped Sligo to a half time lead of seven points, 2-6 to 0-5.

To their credit Clare turned in a strong second half but they struggled to turn possession into scores.

The home side started well bur despite dominating possession in the opening ten minutes they could only manage a Shane O’Connell point which came in the seventh minute.

Sligo had to wait until the twelfth minute for their opening score but it was one which rocked Clare. As goalkeeper Eoin Byrne burst from defence he was dispossessed and Aaron Healy blasted to the net to give Sligo a lead they would hold to the finish.

Centre forward Niall Duffy, one of the leading lights in their victory, followed with a point and then the Connacht outfit struck for their second goal, midfielder Cian Nicholson applying the finish after a defence splitting move.

Clare came within a whisker of scoring a goal within ten second of the second half getting under way, Conor Burke’s effort just going to the wrong side of the upright.

Relieved to have escaped without conceding a score, Sligo hit back with a brace of points in the next few minutes.

While Clare enjoyed more possession in the third quarter, they struggled to break down a strong Sligo defence and Clare had to wait until six minutes from the end for their first score of the half, Conor Burke striking for a goal.

The corner forward added two points from frees late in the game which saw Clare finish with fourteen payers after defender James Blunnie was shown a black card in the last minute of normal time.

Four minutes of ‘added time’ followed but there were no further s cores and Sligo emerged as deserving winners.

For Clare, Caleb Walsh, Sean Fennell, Conor Burke and Conor Hill worked hard but a physically stronger Sligo were deserving winners helped by strong performances from Cian Nicholson, Niall Duffy until injured, Aaron Healy, and Danny Woodrow.

Scorers Sligo: Niall Duffy (0-5, 3f); Aaron Healy (1-2) Cian Nicholson (1-0) Conor McDonagh Conor Langan, Matthew Walsh (0-1) each

Scorers Clare: Conor Burke (1-4, 0-3 f); Shane O’Connell, Leo Switzer, Sean Fennell (0-1) each

Sligo;
1: Gareth Cummins,

2: Dante Currid
3: Noah Phillips
4: Conor Murray

5: James Lavin
6: Alexander Lillie
7: Danny Woodrow

8: Cian Nicholson
9: Patrick Brady

10: Conor McDonagh
11: Niall Duffy
12: Cathal Gilligan

13: Matthew Walsh,
14: Aaron Healy,
15: Conor Langan

Subs:
22: Ben Cawley for C. McDonagh (37)
21: Adam Feeney for N. Duffy (inj., 43)
19: Eoin Finnerty for C. Gilligan (48)
17: Tadhg Murphy for N. Phillips (57)
20: Mark Phillips for A Healy (57)

Clare;
1: Eoin Byrne (St. Breckan’s)

2: Aaron Killeen (Lissycasey
3: Brian Keane (O’Currys
4: James Blunnie (Kilrush Shamrocks)

5: Leo Swotzer (Kilmurry Ibrickane)
6: Conor Hill (Lissycasey)
7: Caleb Walsh (Banner)

8: Dirmuid Boyle (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield) Captain
9: Colm Downes (Shannon Gaels)

10: David Cahill (Clooney/Quin)
11: Diarmuid McMahon (Lissycasey)
12: Darragh, Townsend (Cooraclare)

13: Shane O’Connell (Cooraclare
14: Sean Fennell (Kilrush Shamrocks)
15: Conor Burke (Kilmurry Ibrickane)

Subs:
19: Liam Clune (Clooney/Quin) for S. O’Connell (38)
17: Stephen Murphy (St Joseph’s Miltown) for B.Keane (38)
21: Gabriel Fennell (Cooraclare) for C. Downes (40)
18: Cathal Casey (Lissycasey) for A. Killeen (49)
20: Daniel Brody (Ennistymon) for D.Cahill

Referee: Christopher Ryan (Galway)

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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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