Clare upset the odds against Dubs

Clare 1-16 Dublin 0-16

Clare 1-16 Dublin 0-16

Fourteen-man Clare scored a stunning win over Dublin, coming from six points behind to score a first Championship win in four years.

A sensational four-point victory in Ennis pushed the Banner into the third phase of the All-Ireland SHC Qualifiers, and marked the end of the road for a disappointing Dublin side.

After losing Nicky O’Connell to a second yellow card just a minute into the second half, the future looked bleak for Davy Fitzgerald’s side, but they dug deep and performed with passion and courage which their opponents could not match.

Teenager Tony Kelly celebrated his championship debut with the only goal of the game, and what a crucial score it was, blasted to the net from a free in the 54th minute.

The anticipated Dublin response did not materialise, Anthony Daly’s men lost their way and failed to make use of their numerical advantage, instead allowing a Clare side inspired by Brendan Bugler and John Conlon to take control.

Clare’s early advantage was soon wiped out by the accuracy of Paul Ryan, who converted two frees and a ’65 to bring Dublin level, after Clare started brightly, and were three points ahead within the opening six minutes, with John Conlon, Conor McGrath and teenager Tony Kelly all hitting the target.

But Dublin quickly addressed the problem areas, particularly in their half-back line, and the accuracy of Paul Ryan had them right back in it.

He converted two frees and a ’65 to level the scores by the 12th minute, and when he brought his tally to five, Dublin led by 0-5 to 0-3.

Clare had to defend with discipline as their opponents began to run at them from all angles, and Patrick Donnellan and Brendan Bugler averted a couple of dangerous situations.

They got themselves back level midway through the first half through Conlon, but it was wind-assisted Dublin who were getting a grip of the game.

Danny Sutcliffe and O’Brien slotted over points, and they came close to grabbing a goal when David Treacy fired in an angled shot which ‘keeper Pa Kelly turned around a post.

Newcomer Seadna Morey pulled back a Clare point in stoppage time, but the Munster men trailed by 0-11 to 0-7 at the break.

Davy Fitzgerald’s side suffered a blow just a minute into the second half when they were reduced to 14 men, Nicky O’Connell picking up a second yellow card for a reckless challenge on Sutcliffe.

Ryan and Treacy stretched the advantage, but with the wind in their backs, the Banner rallied with passion and raw courage.

Conlon fearlessly ran at the opposition and Darach Honan performed heroically as a lone front man.

Inspirational scores from Tony Kelly and Sean Collins gave them the belief that they could defy the odds, and it was McGrath, with a wonderful point from play, who brought them level in the 50th minute.

Dublin had already lost their way, and appeared to freeze after Kelly blasted a 20-metre free to the net on 54 minutes.

Simon Lambert and Niall Corcoran did pull back points, but they shot a rash of wides in the closing stages when composure was a must.

Bugler was a colossus at the heart of the Banner defence, and Clare completed the great escape with late scores from McGrath and Conlon to complete a hugely significant success.

Scorers:

Clare: T Kelly 1-2 (1-0f), C McGrath 0-5 (4f), J Conlon 0-4, S Collins 0-2, S Morey, J Clancy, D Honan 0-1 each.

Dublin scorers: P Ryan 0-9 (7f, 2 ’65), M O’Brien 0-2, A McCrabbe (f), D Treacy, S Lambert, N Corcoran, D Sutcliffe 0-1 each

CLARE: P Kelly, D O’Donovan, C Dillon, C Cooney, B Bugler, P Donnellan, N O’Connell, S Morey, S Collins, F Lynch, J Clancy, T Kelly, J Conlon, C McGrath, D Honan.

Subs: P O’Connor for Cooney, C Galvin for Clancy, C Ryan for Honan, A Cunningham for Lynch

DUBLIN: G Maguire, N Corcoran, P Kelly, T Brady, R Treanor, J Boland, M Carton, J McCaffrey, M O’Brien, R O’Dwyer, L Rushe, D Sutcliffe, P Ryan, D Treacy, A McCrabbe.

Subs: D O’Callaghan for O’Dwyer, S Durkan for McCaffrey, N McMorrow for Ryan, S Lambert for O’Brien, R O’Carroll for Treacy.

Referee: D Kirwan (Cork).

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