By Daragh Ó Conchúir
Clare 2-17 Kildare 1-19
Clare produced a rousing finish to beat Kildare in a high-scoring Allianz Football League Division 3 final at Croke Park.
Neil Flynn cut loose for Kildare early on and scored a wonderful goal as they went six points clear but it was the Bannermen that led at half time, thanks to David Tubridy’s goal just before the interval.
With Tubridy also punishing some indisciplined Kildare defending, Clare held a 1-10 to 1-9 lead at half time.
The second half remained open, and the lead changed hands on numerous occasions.
Kildare had Kevin Feely sent off for a second yellow card offence in the 59th minute but the Lilywhites looked like closing out the game.
Tommy Moolick was desperately unlucky to see his piledriver cannon off the crossbar six minutes from time but when Paul Cribbin sent over two booming points, it looked like Kildare would just get over the line.
There were eight minutes of extra time though and in the first minute, Gary Brennan had his second goal assist of the day to set up Dean Ryan and the teams were level.
They exchanged points again and Clare had Graham Kelly dismissed on a straight red card.
Cleary slotted what proved to be the winner in the seventh minute of extra time and there were 78 minutes on the clock when the unfortunate Flynn dragged a free from outside the 45 just wide.
Scorers – Clare: D Tubridy 1-5 (0-5fs); E Cleary (0-6, 4fs); D Ryan 1-0; P Lillis, J Malone 0-2 each; E Coughlan, P Collins 0-1 each
Kildare: N Flynn 1-6(0-5fs); A Tyrrell 0-6(4fs); P Cribbin 0-2; E O’Flaherty 0-2, F Conway, A Smith, T Moolick 0-1 each
Clare: J Hayes, S Malone, K Harnett, M McMahon, S Collins, D Ryan, C O’Dea, G Brennan, C O’Connor, P Lillis, E Cleary, J Malone, D Tubridy, K Sexton, P Burke. Subs: P Collins for S Malone (ht), S McGrath for Burke (54), E Coughlan for O’Dea (67), G Kelly for Sexton (68), J O’Dea for McMahon BC (70+7)
Kildare: M Donneallan, O Lyons, C Fitzpatrick, D Hyland, R Houlihan, F Conway, J Byrne, K Feely, T Moolick, A Tyrrell, E O’Flaherty, P Cribbin, E Callaghan, A Smith, N Flynn. Subs: C McNally for Callaghan (47), K Murnaghan for Tyrrell inj (54), E O’Connor for Smith (58), E Powderly for Fitzpatrick inj (70+1), Daryl Flynn for Moolick (70+6), E Bolton for Conway (70+7)