*Clare’s Dermot Coughlan. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

CLARE’s senior footballers suffered a successive defeat in the All-Ireland SFC, losing out to Tyrone by a margin of fourteen points.

Tyrone 3-15
Clare 0-10
Venue: Healy Park, Omagh

In the first championship meeting between the counties, Tyrone produced a much stronger final quarter final outscoring Clare 1-9 0-2 to run out convincing winners.

Mathematically there is still a possibility of Clare still emerging from Group 3 in the All-Ireland SFC but the setback of the Tyrone loss is sure to leave some wounds that Jim McGuinness and Donegal will be keen to lacerate further in a fortnight’s time.

For large parts of the game, Clare matched Tyrone, it was only the goals from Niall Devlin in the opening half that separated them while with twenty minutes to go they were about to bring the tie to three points but instead found themselves five adrift and from here Tyrone went from strength to strength.

Clare were forced to finish out the game with fourteen men following a straight red card for Darragh Bohannon on sixty six minutes. The margin was seven points at this stage, it doubled in his absence but of further worry is the fact that he is set to miss the final group tie versus Donegal.

February 1996 in the National Football League was the last time the counties met, it was pointed out by one Tyrone supporters that this occurred on the same weekend as the London Docklands Bombing. Thankfully no such incidents were reported when the teams met twenty eight years on but there was a detonator from Brian Dooher’s charges when it came to the final quarter.

June’s Bank Holiday sunshine didn’t extend all the way across the border into Northern Ireland as Clare made the long journey to Omagh to try record their first win in the 2024 All-Ireland SFC.

It was a bright start from Mark Fitzgerald’s side who opened the scoring via Cillian Rouine inside twenty two seconds. Ciaran Daly responded from an acute angle to level matters with Tyrone’s first attack.

A numerical disadvantage fell Clare’s way when Ikem Ugwueru after making a powerful run forward, was dispossessed and in falling to the floor was deemed to have pulled the ankle of Mattie Donnelly with Jerome Henry awarding a black card to the Ennis man.

During this spell, Tyrone only kicked a single score, the prominent Niall Devlin pushing them into the lead on four minutes.

Two frees in succession over the course of nine minutes from Emmet McMahon put Clare back in the ascendancy. Ronan Lanigan put McMahon into the scoring zone before he showed composure under pressure for time and space to equalise. The Kildysart school teacher was fouled on fifteen minutes and converted the free to put the visitors ahead.

Fast movement of the ball and speed off the ball helped Tyrone to raid for their first goal on nineteen minutes. Corner back Devlin had a tidy finish to the bottom corner of Stephen Ryan’s net after the ball was played across the square by Michael O’Neill and Aidan Clarke.

It took Clare seven minutes to reply but they then hit two scores on the bounce, first Ronan Lanigan finished off after he was put through by Alan Sweeney, then Rouine added his second score when Ugwueru drew the opposing players allowing Rouine to spot a gap and run into it before steadying himself to shoot off his right boot.

This had Clare back on level terms but straight away Tyrone worked the ball up field, goalkeeper Niall Morgan carried forward before the ball was put into the danger area where once again Niall Devlin was quickest to the react, he took the ball around Ryan and slotted to the net to put the Ulster finalists ahead by three points.

Devlin added the final score of the first half on thirty two minutes to put Tyrone 2-3 0-5 ahead as they retreated to the dressing room.

When they emerged on the field, it was Tyrone that started with intention, Mattie Donnelly and Brian Kennedy kicking scores.

Emmet McMahon and Aaron Griffin responded at the other end over the course of six minutes before Darragh Cavanan and McMahon traded efforts. Gavin Murray had a chance to lower the gap to three but hit the upright, Tyrone worked the ball up field and converted a Canavan mark.

Murray’s attempt was followed by two missed frees from Jamie Stack and one from McMahon as Clare really failed to capitalise. It gave the hosts a lift and they took their performance up another gear, aided by the introduction of Conn Kilpatrick and captain Peter Harte.

They struck for their third goal on seventy minutes when Darragh Canavan unleased a bullet to the roof of the net. Tyrone worked the ball to the full-forward after a Stephen Ryan kickout to forward Jamie Stack was claimed by the Ulster side who put the ball straight back into Ryan’s net and added to the pain felt by Clare’s diehard supporters in Omagh.

Missed opportunities were costly for Clare, from placed balls and from play. They had momentum but didn’t capitalise on this and their return of four misses in a row during the third quarter really hurt them. As did coughing up basic turnovers and the return of only 0-2 from play from their forward line.

Losing by fourteen is a blow to Clare who for large spells delivered a very strong performance and matched Tyrone but this will be of little consolation. Ronan Lanigan, Cillian Rouine and Gavin Murray led the way for Clare.

Tyrone showed their class and experience with Mattie Donnelly, Niall Devlin and Darragh Canavan delivering exceptional performances.

Scorers Tyrone: N Devlin (2-2), D Canavan (1-4 2f 1M), M Donnelly (0-4), R Canavan (0-2), C Daly (0-1), B Kennedy (0-1), C Kilpatrick (0-1)

Scorers Clare: E McMahon (0-5 3f), C Rouine (0-2), M McInerney (0-1 1’45), R Lanigan (0-1), A Griffin (0-1).

Tyrone:
1: Niall Morgan (Edendork)

2: Niall Devlin (Coalisland)
3: Pádraig Hampsey (Coalisland)
4: Michael McKernan (Coalisland)

18: Aidan Clarke (Omagh)
6: Matthew Donnelly (Trillick)
7: Kieran McGeary (Pomeroy)

8: Brian Kennedy (Derrylaughan)
23: Joe Oguz (Errigal Ciarán)

10: Ciarán Daly (Trillick)
11: Michael O’Neill (Ardboe)
12: Seán O’Donnell (Trillick)

13: Darren McCurry (Edendork)
14: Darragh Canavan (Errigal Ciarán)
15: Ruairí Canavan (Errigal Ciarán)

Subs:
9: Conn Kilpatrick (Edendork) for Oguz (49)
19: Peter Harte (Errigal Ciarán) for McCurry (56)
24: Shea O’Hara (Ardboe) for McGeary (56)
22: Cathal McShane (Owen Roes) for O’Donnell (63)
25: Cormac Quinn (Errigal Ciarán) for O’Neill (66)

Clare:
1: Stephen Ryan (Kilrush Shamrocks)

2: Manus Doherty (Éire Óg)
3: Cillian Brennan (Clondegad)
4: Ronan Lanigan (Éire Óg)

7: Ikem Ugwueru (Éire Óg)
6: Cillian Rouine (Ennistymon)
11: Dermot Coughlan (Kilmurry Ibrickane)

8: Darragh Bohannon (Shannon Gaels)
9: Brian McNamara (Cooraclare)

12: Gavin Murray (Éire Óg)
5: Alan Sweeney (St Breckan’s)
15: Ciaran Downes (Kilmihil)

13: Emmet McMahon (Kildysart)
14: Aaron Griffin (Lissycasey)
10: Daniel Walsh (Kilmurry Ibrickane)

Subs:
19: Jamie Stack (St Breckan’s) for Downes (42)
23: Éinne O’Connor (Éire Óg) for McNamara
24: Cian Burke (St Breckan’s) for Sweeney (55)
22: Joe McGann (St Breckan’s) for Griffin (62)
21: Mark McInerney (Éire Óg) for McMahon (65)

Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo)

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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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