Clare cruelly denied by late Kildare comeback

Lilywhites score last seven points to edge into next round of qualifiers

Clare’s goalkeeper Joe Hayes confronts Tomas O’Connor of Kildare at Cusack Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Clare’s goalkeeper Joe Hayes confronts Tomas O’Connor of Kildare at Cusack Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Clare 0-12 Kildare 0-13: Clare looked to be on the way to a famous victory when they thundered into a six-point early in the second half of a pulsating All-Ireland Qualifier - they led by 0-12 to 0-6 and had Kildare on the ropes.

But in a remarkable turnaround the Lilywhites finally out-pointed the distraught Bannermen as they reeled off the final seven points of the game to edge home to a dramatic victory.

Clare had given themselves a great platform when leading by 0-7 to 0-4 at half-time against a listless Kildare side. The teams were level at 0-2 apiece after seven minutes, but points by Rory Donnelly, corner-back Martin McMahon and David Tubridy helped the Bannermen forge 0-5 to 0-2 clear by the 30th minute.

Alan Smith did land a couple of good scores for Kildare in the final minutes of the half to bring his tally to 0-3 but two booming efforts from Shane McGrath ensured that Clare retired to dressing room with a standing ovation from their supporters.

Those supporters were celebrating further within ten minutes of the restart as they bounced back from the concession of a couple of early scores to Smith and took control, hitting a purple patch that yielded four points inside five minutes.

The game seemed Clare’s for the taking, but they failed to score in the final 25 minutes as Kildare staged a remarkable recovery.

Eoin O’Flaherty proved himself the hero when coming off the bench to hit three points, his final effort in the 64th minute proving the winner.

Clare: J Hayes, S Hickey, Kevin Harnett, M McMahon (0-1), J Malone, G Kelly, C Russell, G Brennan (0-2), S McGrath (0-2), S Collins, E Coughlan (0-1), S Brennan, P Collins (0-1), D Tubridy (0-4, 0-3f, one 45), R Donnelly (0-1). Subs: D Ryan for S Collins, E Cleary for Donnelly, M O’Leary for Coughlan, S McNelis for Hickey, Paudge McMahon for S Brennan, L Healy for Russell.

Kildare: M Donnellan, C Fitzpatrick, M O’Grady, O Lyons, E Bolton F Conway K Cribben T Mollick G White, C McNally, N Kelly, P O’Neill (0-1), E Callaghan (0-2), P Fogarty, A Smith (0-6, 0-1 free). Subs: T O’Connor for Fogarty, E O’Flaherty (0-3) for White, P Brophy (0-1) for Kelly, E Doyle for O’Grady, S Hurley for Mollick, D Hyland for Conway

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Armagh)

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