Aaron Shanagher was in majestic form for Clare as they made amends for their opening defeat to Cork with this comprehensive victory, writes John Fogarty.
A crowd of 7,395 watched on in Ennis as Shanagher helped ensure the home side led from start to finish on a chastening afternoon for Kilkenny who find themselves bottom of Division 1A.
Shanagher scored 1-4, his goal coming in the 64th minute to seal what had looked a Clare win from the time they strung together four unanswered points between the 52nd and 58th minutes.
Kilkenny registered just three points from play in the first half, the last of them coming in additional time when Clare backed off TJ Reid who duly split the posts. It was a rare reprieve for the Kilkenny attack who were shackled for a lot of that period. Goal chances fell to Cillian Buckley and Richie Leahy but neither came off.
Clare were1-3 to no score up after four minutes and Shanagher was running riot. He opened the scoring then laid on Aaron Cunningham’s goal and followed it up with another beautifully-angled point.
Shanagher then won a free which David Reidy converted and Reidy was on hand again in the 10th minute when Shanagher’s shot was parried out for a 65 by Eoin Murphy. Reidy once more punished a foul on Shanagher in the 14th minute.
Kilkenny were keeping in touching via frees but were finding the physically-imposing half-back line of Clare’s difficult to break down. Murphy made a fine save from Reidy in the 28th minute and when the Kilkenny goalkeeper landed a monster free in the 31st minute Podge Collins cancelled it out seconds later.
FT: Clare 2-19 Kilkenny 0-12. Kilkenny managed just 0-2 in the final 28 minutes of play. Worry lines deepen for Brian Cody— Shane Stapleton (@ShaneSaint) February 19, 2017
Scorers for Clare: D. Reidy (0-7, 5 frees, 1 65); A. Shanagher (1-4, 0-1 free); A. Cunningham (1-0); P. Collins, C. McInerney (0-2 each); D. Fitzgerald, J. Conlon, J. McCarthy, P. Duggan (65) (0-1 each).
Scorers for Kilkenny: T.J. Reid (0-7, 4 frees, 2 65s); C. Fogarty (0-2), E. Murphy (free), C. Buckley, R. Leahy (0-1 each).
CLARE: D. Tuohy; S. Morey, C. Dillon (c), O. O’Brien; B. Bugler, C. Cleary, D. Fitzgerald; J. Shanahan, D. Reidy; J. Conlon, P. Collins, C. Malone; S. O’Donnell, A. Cunningham, A. Shanagher.
Subs for Clare: C. McInerney for A. Cunningham (52); J. McCarthy for D. Reidy (57); P. Duggan for C. Malone, S. Golden for J. Shanahan (both 67); P. Donnellan for B. Bugler (70+1).
KILKENNY: E. Murphy; E. Cody, P. Walsh, C. O’Shea; J. Holden, P. Murphy, K. Joyce; C. Fogarty, C. Buckley; L. Blanchfield, T.J. Reid, R. Leahy; R. Hogan, W. Walsh, K. Kelly.
Subs for Kilkenny: R. Lennon for J. Holden (temp 18-23); J.J. Farrell for W. Walsh (inj), S. Prendergast for E. Cody (both h-t); J. Maher for R. Hogan (49); O. Walsh for K. Kelly (58); S. Morrissey for L. Blanchfield (68).
Referee: J. Owens (Wexford).