Clare among the goals as they progress at Leitrim’s expense

First-half strikes from Jamie Malone and Gary Brennan earned Banner some breathing space

Clare’s Éimhín Courtney scores his side’s third goal during the All-Ireland SFC qualifier against Leitrim at  Páirc Seán MacDiarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon. Photograph: Evan Logan/Inpho

Clare’s Éimhín Courtney scores his side’s third goal during the All-Ireland SFC qualifier against Leitrim at Páirc Seán MacDiarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon. Photograph: Evan Logan/Inpho

 

Leitrim 0-17 Clare 3-17

Clare’s two first-half goals and a third after the break killed off the Leitrim challenge in an entertaining encounter played in excellent conditions in Carrick-on-Shannon.

Clare goals came from Jamie Malone in the 14th minute and Gary Brennan seven minutes later and took the wind out of Leitrim’s sails as they had recovered from three unanswered Clare points in the opening minutes to reduce the arrears to just one before Malone struck for the first Clare goal.

The loss of star forward Ryan O’Rourke to injury in the 13th minute was a massive blow for Leitrim and the the Banner County dominated the exchanges for the remainder of the half, leading 2-12 to 0-6 at half-time.

In a match of contrasting halves, Leitrim upped their game after the break, outscoring the Banner, but the gap between the sides proved too much for the hosts, who had no answer for Clare’s physicality and strong running game.

Leitrim’s Shane Moran started gaining the upper hand at midfield where the impressive Gary Brennan had been dominant, and although they managed to reduce the deficit significantly, Clare never looked like losing.

LEITRIM: C McCrann; A Flynn, M McWeeney (capt), C Reynolds; R Mulvey, M Plunkett (0-2), P Maguire; P Dolan, S Moran (0-3); D Flynn(0-3, one free), S McWeeney, S Quinn ; O McCaffrey, D McGovern (0-3), R O’Rourke.

Subs: E Sweeney (0-5, two frees) for R O’Rourke (13 mins), O Madden for C Reynolds (33), J Heslin (0-1) for R Mulvey, J Gilheaney for O McCaffrey (both h/t), G Plunkett for S McWeeney (50), N Brady for D Flynn (74).

CLARE: S Ryan; D Ryan, C Brennan, G Kelly; S Collins, A Fitzgerald, C Ó hÁinféin; S O’Donoghue, G Brennan (capt) (1-3); E Cleary (0-7, two frees), C O’Connor, J Malone (1-2); G Cooney, D Tubridy (0-5, one 45), C O’Dea.

Subs: K Malone for J Malone (47 mins), E Courtney (1-0) for G Cooney (51), G O’Brien for C O’Dea, D Bohannon for C O’Connor ( both 59), C Murray for D Tubridy (62), E O’Connor for G Kelly (65).

Referee: N Cullen (Fermanagh).

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