Clare keep their Division 1 hopes alive with win over Kildare
Eoin Cleary notched seven points as Colm Collins’ side came out victorious
Clare’s Joe McGann scores despite Mick O’Grady of Kildare in their Allianz Football League clash. Photo: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho
Clare 1-13 Kildare 0-13
Clare gave their chances of reaching Division 2 semi-final a huge shot in the arm when they followed last week’s win over Laois with their first ever win in Newbridge against Kildare yesterday afternoon.
There is still work to be done for Colm Collins’ team as a defeat next week against Cork and a win for Kildare in Laois could yet see them miss out on score difference but they will carry a great deal of confidence into the game following this deserved win.
It was a game of two halves for Clare as they adopted a very patient and slow attacking style against the wind in the first half but then took off the shackles in the second half and they were eventually deserved winners.
Eoin Cleary was at the heart of their win with a brilliant seven points in the second half. After scoring 10 points last week, he was tightly marked and kept scoreless by Eoin Doyle in the first half but Doyle’s departure through injury in the 43rd minute created some space for him and he capitalised to the full.
Kildare started the game knowing a win would have been enough to secure their place at the top of the group with a game to spare and started with real intent. They led 0-6 to 0-3 at the first half water break with Jimmy Hyland and Neil Flynn causing real problems and sharing the points between them.
Clare slowed down the Kildare attack during the second quarter as the game turned into a real stalemate. Hyland for Kildare and David Tubridy for Clare scored the only points for their teams during that quarter and Kildare led 0-7 to 0-4 at half time.
Straight from the throw-in, Clare had a more attacking intent about them in the second half. The teams scored three points apiece in the opening 13 minutes after the restart but there was a growing feeling that Clare were getting on top.
Keelan Sexton should have hit the Kildare net from a chance but shortly after he was substituted, his replacement Joe McGann made no mistake when he got a chance in the 51st minute. There was an element of luck about the goal as Cathal O’Connor was probably going for a point when shooting but his mishit effort fell perfectly for McGann and he made no mistake to get Clare back on level terms.
Cleary found the space to put Clare ahead for the first time since the early stages heading into the water break and then Tubridy and Cleary again pushed Clare three points clear.
Kildare rallied and a point from 20-year-old Shane O’Sullivan just a minute after coming into the game was followed by a point from a mark from Jimmy Hyland to leave just one between the sides.
Emmet McMahon landed an important point for Clare but O’Sullivan’s second of the match left the game very much in the balance heading into the last three minutes of normal time.
There was actually plenty of time for Kildare to rescue the game with six minutes added on by referee Fergal Kelly but rather than the home side getting back level, two more frees from the increasingly influential Cleary sealed a memorable win.
It’s all up for grabs next weekend with three of the four sides in the group very much in the hunt for a semi-final place going into the last round.
CLARE: S Ryan; C Russell, C Brennan, E Collins, C O’Dea, S Collins, D Walsh; D O’Neill, C O’Connor, P Lillis, E Cleary (0-7, 4 frees, 1’45), D Bohannan (0-1), G Cooney (0-1), D Tubridy (0-3, 2 frees), K Sexton.
Subs: J McGann (1-0) for Sexton (45 mins); E McMahon (0-1) for Bohannan, (52 mins); A Sweeney for Walsh (60 mins); K Hartnett for E Collins (65 mins); A Griffin for Cooney (65 mins); D Masterson for Lillis (70 mins); C Murray for O’Neill (70 mins).
KILDARE: M Donnellan; M Dempsey, M O’Grady, E Doyle, K Flynn, S Ryan, R Houlihan; L Flynn, A Masterson; A Beirne, N Flynn (0-4, 2 frees), P Cribbin, J Hyland (0-4, 1m), K Feely (0-2), D Kirwan (0-1).
Subs: C Kavanagh for Ryan (h/t); F Conway for Beirne (h/t); D Malone for Doyle (43 mins); P Brophy for Masterson (55 mins); S O’Sullivan (0-2) for Kirwan (60 mins); B McLoughlin for Cribbin (70 mins).
Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford).