Clare pinch much needed home win

A lucky 14-man Clare somehow escaped Cusack Park with the win, largely thanks to goals from John Conlon and Tony Kelly.

Clare pinch much needed home win

By Declan Rooney

Clare 2-22 Dublin 2-20

A lucky 14-man Clare somehow escaped Cusack Park with the win, largely thanks to goals from John Conlon and Tony Kelly.

Cian Boland and Dotsie O'Callaghan also hit the net for Dublin, who looked favourites to take a third win of the campaign when Clare half back Brendan Bugler was shown a straight red card a minute from half time.

Dublin went on to lead by five points with 19 minutes remaining, but seven unanswered points from the Banner men - Kelly's brilliant goal four minutes from time and five points from the excellent Conor McGrath saved Clare's bacon.

Dublin were utterly dominant before the break and would have been annoyed to only lead by 1-12 to 1-10 at the break, with Liam Rushe and Danny Sutcliffe superb for Ger Cunningham's troops.

Clare had raced out of the blocks and after two minutes points from Tony Kelly and Conor McGrath gave them the initiative.

But it didn’t take long for Dublin to get into their groove and they went on to hit an unanswered 1-3 over the next seven minutes.

O’Callaghan’s quickfire two double had the sides back level before Boland struck the first goal for Dublin.

Full-forward Rushe claimed Shane Durkin’s high ball and Boland emerged to tap the ball home and put Dublin into the driving seat.

Paul Ryan then pointed a free to give Dublin a 1-3 to 0-2 lead with just nine minutes on the clock.

But, points from Kelly and Conlon brought Clare right back into the game only for Dublin to hit back with three of their own.

Ger Cunningham’s side led by 1-6 to 0-4, Aaron Cunningham reduced the arrears with a point for Clare - but O’Callaghan and Rushe answered back with two more scores.

Conlon then sent in a booming effort that somehow managed to find its way in over the head of Alan Nolan in the Dublin goal.

It was a life-line for the Banner but when Bugler saw red for an off the ball incident it looked like they had thrown it away again.

They trailed by two points at half-time and no one could have foreseen their dominance towards the latter end of the game in Ennis. Dublin looked out on their feet as they struggled to stay with Clare's improved pace and distribution. It appeared as if Clare at the extra man for the final quarter.

David Reidy’s introduction was pivotal and his movement and direct running caused havoc inside, while Kelly’s goal capped off a wonderful fightback to take a crucial victory and their first win of the campaign.

Scorers – Clare: T Kelly 1-9 (0-7f); J Conlon 1-4 (0-2f); C McGrath 0-5; A Cunningham 0-1, P Donnellan 0-1, D Reidy 0-1, D McInerney 0-1.

Dublin: D O’Callaghan 1-4; P Ryan 0-5 (0-5f); L Rushe 0-4; C Boland 1-0; M Schutte 0-3; D Sutcliffe 0-1, C Crummy 0-1, S Barrett 0-1, B Quinn 0-1 each

Clare: D Tuohy; P Flanagan, C Dillon, D McInerney; B Bugler, C Ryan, P O'Connor; P Donnellan, C Galvin; J Conlon, T Kelly, S Golden; C McGrath, S O'Donnell, A Cunningham.

Subs: D Reidy for Golden (43 mins), J Browne for O'Connor (52), D O'Donovan for Flanagan (67), B Duggan for Cunningham (70).

Dublin: A Nolan; C O'Callaghan, M Carton, P Schutte; C Crummy, P Kelly, S Barrett; C Boland, S Durkin; C Cronin, D O'Callaghan, D Sutcliffe; M Schutte, L Rushe, P Ryan.

Subs: N Corcoran for Carton (28 mins), B Quinn for Cronin (55), C Keaney for Corcoran (60), E Dillon for Sutcliffe (64),

Referee: C McAllister (Cork).

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