Clare still in Division One hunt

Division One chasers Clare today got the win that keeps them in line for a crack at the premier Allianz NHL title.


Cork 0-18 Clare 2-20, Pairc Ui Rinn, 7.30pm

Scorers: Cork: B O’Connor 0-6 (4f, 1 ’65), P Tierney, J Deane (1f), J Anderson, N McCarthy, K Murphy (Sarsfields) 0-2 each, T McCarthy, G Callinan 0-1 each

Clare: N Gilligan 0-7 (6f), D O’Connell, F Lohan 1-1 each, S McMahon (2f, 1 ’65), T Griffin 0-3 each, C Lynch 0-2, J O’Connor, A Markham 0-1 each

HT: Cork 0-9 Clare 0-11

Official attendance: 3,970

Division One chasers Clare today got the win that keeps them in line for a crack at the premier Allianz NHL title.

Second-half goals from substitute Daithi O’Connell and Frank Lohan, coupled with a brace of penalty stops from ‘keeper Ger O’Connell, saw out a 2-20 to 0-18 win for the Banner men against Cork.

In front of 3,970 spectators, Clare’s second win of the second phase looked in doubt as Ben O’Connor hammered over five second half points between 42 and 64 minutes, but the Newtownshandrum star crucially missed a 49th minute penalty.

Diarmuid O’Sullivan was to also have a penalty blocked down by O’Connell with two minutes remaining.

In a tit-for-tat first half where the Bannermen enjoyed two runs of three consecutive points from 13 to 20 minutes, and 25 to 27, Cork managed to keep in touch with seven scores from play. The visitors were heavily reliant on the placed ball accuracy of Niall Gilligan (3f) and Seanie McMahon (2f, 1 ’65), who accounted for seven of their 0-11 half time tally.

Whilst Clare edged the wide count by six to five, the hosts, lining out without midfielder Mickey O’Connell (dead leg), were the poorer for possession but managed to match Clare, point for point in the final 10 minutes – through Paul Tierney (0-02), right-half forward John Anderson and Ben O’Connor (1f) to end the half just two points down.

Clare reopened proceedings with a bang, and two points inside a minute and a half from Tony Griffina and Niall Gilligan, their night’s top scorer ((0-07 (6f). Cork midfielder Graham Callinan shrugged off a number of tackles to release Joe Deane on goal, but his shot was blocked over.

Colin Lynch and Anderson traded points before O’Connor took centre stage, cancelling out a Gilligan free, and pointing a Callinan feed from a tight angle for 0-13 to 0-15. Dublin referee Eamonn Morris awarded a penalty to Cork as Sarsfields’ forward Kieran Murphy was hacked down on 49 minutes but O’Connell was equal to the shot. An O’Connor ’65 and Niall McCarthy’s second of the night meant the sides were level however, after 51 minutes.

Murphy dinked a lovely point over his head, interspersed by two more O’Connor frees (0-06 total), as Cork stretched out to 0-18 to 0-15 in front. O’Connell latched onto a loose Jamesie O’Connor pass to goal with nine minutes remaining, and four minutes later Lohan repeated the trick as he followed through on his own squared ball, amid a lax Rebel defence, to find the net.

With a Gilligan free, Clare had hit 2-2 without reply and Cork bid farewell to the match, as O’Sullivan saw his penalty attempt saved, and Gilligan and Lohan wrapped up the points scoring on 70 and 72 minutes.

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