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Third league defeat piles pressure on Clare footballers

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*Kevin Harnett offloads possession. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Failure to convert good scoring opportunities proved costly for Clare in the fourth round of the Allianz National Football League Division 2 played in front of an attendance of 893 people at Cusack Park this Sunday afternoon.

Laois 1-12
Clare 1-11
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis

Thirteen wides, seven of which came in the second half when they enjoyed the greater share of possession, is sure to concern Clare as they turn their attentions to a trip to Cavan next week.

Laois laid the foundations for this win in the opening half at the end of which they held a six point lead, 1-8 to 0-5. The midlanders enjoyed the upperhand in most areas in that first half and while Clare had failed to avail of some good scoring chances, they were a little fortunate not to have been further behind at the halfway point.

In addition to their poor finishing, Clare struggled to deal with the Laois kickout throughout the opening period

Clare’s Alan Sweeney. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

There was much more urgency about Clare on the resumption and by the three quarter stage they had cut the visitors led to three points. The winners pushed their advantage back to five points with six minutes of normal time remaining but the introduction of Joe McGann from St. Breckans to the attack for the final quarter caused a lot of problems for the visitors and created huge openings for Clare.

With four points separating the teams and five minutes remaining McGann, on his senior debut for Clare, provided the pass to team captain Eoin Cleary who was fouled resulting in a penalty which David Tubridy converted.

From here to the finish Clare piled on the pressure but David Tubridy and Eoin Cleary both saw their efforts from frees go wide of the target as Laois held on for a victory which keeps their hopes of winning promotion alive.

Laois; Niall Corbett (0-1, ‘45); Cahir Healy, Mark Timmons, Gearoid Hanrahan; Trevor Collins, Robert Pigott, Patrick O’Sullivan; John O’Loughlin, Kieran Lillis; Damian O’Connor, Eoin Lowry (0-2), Sean Byrne; Ross Munnelly (0-4, 2f), Colm Murphy (1-2), Evan O’Carroll(0-3, 2f)

Subs;Brian Byrne for Healy (inj. 26) Michael Keogh for O’Connor (49) Brian Carroll for S. Byrne (51) Mark Barry for Murphy (64)

Clare; Stephen Ryan; Kevin Harnett, Cillian Brennan, Gordon Kelly; Pearse Lillis (0-1), Sean Collins, Alan Sweeney; Dale Masterson, Cathal O’Connor (0-1); Cian O’Dea, Keelan Sexton, Dermot Coughlan; Eoin Cleary (0-4, 2f), David Tubridy (1-4, 0-3 frees, 1-0 penalty, 0-1 ‘45), Gearoid O’Brien(0-1)

Subs; Eamonn Tubridy for S. Ryan (inj. 24); Emmett McMahon for Masterson (half time); Cormac Murray for O’Brien (half time); Joe Mc Gann for Sexton (56); Eoghan Collins for Harnett (64)

Referee; L. Devenney, Mayo

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