Debut disappointment for Loughnane

Clare 2-10 Galway 0-14, Cusack Park

Clare 2-10 Galway 0-14, Cusack Park

Ger Loughnane's much-hyped return to Ennis ended in a two-point defeat as Galway were pipped by a fired-up Clare in tonight's televised All-Ireland SHC qualifier.

Loughnane's Galway side now require a win over Antrim in their final Group 1A match next weekend to guarantee their place in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

Clare, who travel to Laois next Saturday, should go on to top the group after tonight's spirited success.

They grabbed a quick 1-1 at the start of the match, with Declan O'Rourke finding the Tribesmen's net and Niall Gilligan firing over a point, and despite not firing on all cylinders or being allowed to, Galway were only a goal adrift, midway through the first half.

Indeed, three late points from Galway - Eugene Cloonan (0-2) and Kerril Wade were both on target - saw Galway go in at the break on level terms at 0-8 to 1-5.

Loughnane's changes went 0-11 to 1-5 ahead with Cloonan and Richie Murray on target, before Colin Lynch and Niall Gilligan cut the gap.

A bright spell then saw Clare decisively strike for 1-1 in the space of a minute as Lynch landed a long range point and Gilligan topped it off with a well-hit goal.

2-8 to 0-11 ahead, the Banner men had enough in the tank to see out what was a morale-boosting win, especially considering the comments Loughnane made about the Clare County Board and the hurling team's previous manager Anthony Daly in an interview with the Clare Champion newspaper during the week.

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