Explosive Banner get back on track

The scoreline suggests a rip-roaring contest but that is a false reading.

Explosive Banner get back on track

[team1]CLARE[/team1][score1]2-20[/score1][team2]KILKENNY[/team2][score2]1-22[/score2][/score]

The scoreline suggests a rip-roaring contest but that is a false reading.

Clare’s explosiveness saw them make amends for their Tipperary performance but their indiscipline and wastefulness almost cost them.

Over half of Kilkenny’s scores came from placed balls, Kevin Kelly dispatching his 13th free to the net with the last play.

With that, a slightly unfair complexion was put on the board but Clare won’t mind this morning. Afterwards, Brian Cody’s body language didn’t scream concern either and neither should he after fielding a side including eight of the team that lost to Limerick last July.

After a shaky beginning when they registered three wides in the first five minutes and Ger Aylward’s wicked goal attempt was only spoiled by the post, Clare hit the ground in style.

The hosts hit an unanswered 1-4 - with the goal arriving in the 14th minute when a Colm Galvin delivery was broken down by Colin Guilfoyle and John Conlon applied the finishing stroke off the ground.

It put Clare into a lead they never relinquished despite some sloppy play from the likes of Rory Hayes and David Fitzgerald which resulted in Kilkenny scores while Kelly also punished the home side’s indiscipline by sending over four frees in that opening half.

“That was something that we need to work on,” accepted Clare co-manager Gerry O’Connor of their fouling. “We did concede and cough up a lot of soft frees and that’s something for our guys to work on. We’ve two weeks to get our tackling right before we head for Cork.”

Clare turned 1-8 to 0-10 up and Galvin, who had begun to pull the strings in the latter part of the first-half, opened up the scoring 18 seconds into the new period. Two Peter Duggan frees followed before Kelly’s effort from a placed ball was quickly cancelled by a Conlon point.

The scoreline read 1-13 to 0-14 in the 48th minute when Clare’s second scoring burst of 1-3 commenced. Paud O’Dwyer allowed a fouled Galvin to carry on to find Podge Collins whose strike was too hot for Eoin Murphy.

A majestic point from Diarmuid Ryan, Galvin’s third and Shane Golden’s second followed and Clare held an eight-point advantage by the 54th minute.

A further reflection of their success was the number of personnel switches Cody was making as Clare ruled the skies.

“They were very strong in the air today compared to ourselves,” said Cody. “We were very good at it last week but every match is different.”

Scores from Aylward and John Donnelly composed Kilkenny although Huw Lawlor was required to put in a painful block on Conlon to deny him a goal chance in the 55th minute with Galvin again the orchestrator of the attack.

Seconds later, the Clonlara man fouled Aylward with Kelly punishing that indiscretion.

Pádraig Walsh was one of the Kilkenny replacements and he earned a free, which Kelly pointed, before sending over a long-range effort himself to make it a three-point game.

Again, Clare came back and Murphy had to snuff out a Gary Cooney shot, although Duggan converted the resultant 65 and Cooney pointed soon after to open the gap to five once more.

Two Kelly frees in quick succession were the next additions although one was cancelled out by replacement Niall Deasy and by the time Kelly sent his free past a group of Clare defenders for a goal, the clock had run out on Kilkenny.

Clare supporters spilled out onto Francis Street relieved but also satisfied with the displays from Galvin, Golden and Diarmuid Ryan.

“An awful lot of ball went into our full-forward line in the first-half, we didn’t convert that,” remarked O’Connor.

When we went to the wings, Diarmuid Ryan and Peter (Duggan) had a lot of success.

"Then we started really well at the start of the first-half, tacked on three or four points, and then they came back again as they do and we got a goal probably against the run of play, Podge got an excellent goal, and we played brilliant hurling for about five or six minutes and that’s what I’m saying.

“We’d be very, very pleased with the quality of the hurling that we did in spurts but we didn’t sustain the quality throughout the whole second half.

"As it was, we were hanging on again with three or four minutes to go.”

Scorers for Clare:

P Duggan (0-6, 4 frees, 1 65); J Conlon (1-1); C Galvin, D Ryan (0-3 each); P Collins (1-0); I Galvin, S Golden (0-2 each); C Guilfoyle, J Cooney, N Deasy (free) (0-1 each).

Scorers for Kilkenny:

K Kelly (1-11, all frees); G Aylward (0-3); J Maher, B Ryan (0-2 each); C Delaney, C Fogarty, J Donnelly, P Walsh (0-1 each).

CLARE:

D Tuohy; R Hayes, D McInerney, D Browne; C Malone, C Cleary, D Fitzgerald; P Duggan, P Collins, D Ryan; C Guilfoyle, J Conlon (c), I Galvin.

Subs for Clare:

G Cooney for C Guilfoyle (53); R Taylor for I Galvin (60); J McCarthy for R Hayes (62); N Deasy for P. Duggan (66); M O’Malley for C Galvin (70+1).

KILKENNY:

E Murphy; P Murphy, H Lawlor, T Walsh; C Delaney, P Deegan, E Morrissey; J Maher, C Fogarty (c); J Donnelly, G Aylward, M Keoghan; B Ryan, K Kelly, R Leahy.

Subs for Kilkenny:

R Lennon for H Lawlor (blood, 26-29); C Browne for J Maher (44); P Walsh for E Morrissey (49); L Blanchfield for R Leahy (53); G Malone for M Keoghan (58);

Referee:

P O’Dwyer (Carlow).

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