Clare 0-14 Laois 1-10
Clare have shown massive potential in recent years, and after they won Division 3 in the league, this last-minute victory over Laois could push them on to greater things in 2016, writes Daragh Small..
Colm Collins’ men were on the brink of defeat in their Round 2A qualifier at Cusack Park in Ennis, but points from substitutes Sean Malone and Shane McGrath helped them over the line.
Stephen Attride scored Laois’ goal in the first-half and they led 1-7 to 0-7 at half-time, but they couldn’t sustain that in the second-half.
Laois made a great start and points from John O’Loughlin and Donie Kingston gave them a 0-2 to 0-0 advantage after five minutes into the breeze.
Clare eventually got their first point through Eoin Cleary in the tenth minute and Cathal O’Connor tied up the game.
Laois were more incisive, and three points in a row from Conor Meredith, David Conway and Darren Strong gave them a 0-6 to 0-3 lead by the 22nd minute.
But they couldn’t make the lead comfortable, and Clare scored three unanswered points to level the match. Cleary, Jamie Malone and Keelan Sexton were all on target before Laois hit a goal.
Attride pushed forward from wing-back, and his endeavour was rewarded when he got on the end of a Kingston hand-pass to blast the ball past Joe Hayes in the Clare goal.
Jamie Malone got a point back but O’Loughlin scored his second point to give Laois a 1-7 to 0-7 half-time lead.
As the conditions worsened at the start of the second-half Laois remained in control. Cleary kicked an early point for Clare but O’Loughlin responded after Darren Strong got a black card.
Then when Tubridy kicked a free, Paul Cahillane and Kingston kicked two points in a row. The game looked to be getting away from Clare as they trailed 1-10 to 0-9 in the 51st minute.
But Clare came with one final drive and hit five unanswered points. Gary Brennan and Cleary landed two quick frees and Shane Hickey brought them within one point, before substitute Sean Malone tied the game.
And then just as five minutes of injury-time were signalled Shane McGrath popped up with the winner, while Jamie Malone got a black card for Clare at the death.
Clare scorers: E Cleary 0-4 (0-4f), J Malone 0-3, G Brennan 0-1 (0-1f), C O’Connor 0-1, K Sexton 0-1, D Tubridy 0-1 (0-1f), S Hickey 0-1, S Malone 0-1, S McGrath 0-1.
Laois scorers: J O’Loughlin 0-3, D Kingston 0-3 (0-2f), S Attride 1-0, C Meredith 0-1, D Conway 0-1, D Strong 0-1, P Cahillane 0-1 (0-1f).
Clare: Clare: J Hayes; S Hickey, K Hartnett, M McMahon; S Collins, G Kelly, C O’Dea; G Brennan, C O’Connor (S McGrath 56); J Malone (Tubridy 74, black card), K Sexton (E Coughlan 55), P Lillis (S Malone 65); E Cleary, D Tubridy (P Collins 48), P Burke (D Ryan 35).
Laois: G Brody; D O’Connor, M Timmons, G Hanrahan; S Attride, K Lillis, D Strong (A Farrell 42, black card); B Quigley, J O’Loughlin; K Meaney (J Farrell 62), C Begley (M Campion 45), P Cahillane (R Munnelly 51); C Meredith, D Kingston, D Conway (G Walsh 49).
Referee: Marty Duffy (Sligo).