Clare make Down pay for profligacy in Newry
Eoin Cleary inspires his side to Division Two win as hosts rack up staggering 15 wides
Eoin Cleary inspired Clare to victory over Down. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Down 1-10 Clare 1-12
Clare picked up a vital win over Down in Newry with a hard-earned victory in Newry, led by the brilliant Eoin Cleary who kicked seven points.
However, Down will rue their missed chances as they hit 15 wides in total while Colm Collins’ visitors were much more clinical going forward.
Clare got off to the best possible start with a goal inside 35 seconds of the throw-in when Sean O’Donoghue powered his way in from the right before lashing the ball high and out of the reach of Down keeper Marc Reid.
Eoin Cleary tagged on a free to open up a four-point gap with just three minutes gone, but Down then lifted themselves to draw level by the ninth minute courtesy of three points from Donal O’Hare (two frees) and Shay Millar.
In a frantic opening 20 minutes, the visitors went three in front for the second time with David Tubridy, Cleary and Cian O’Dea putting them 1-4 to 0-4 ahead.
However, Down got their first half goal on the 19th minute as Caolan Mooney burst through a packed Clare defence before squaring to O’Hare who had the simplest of tasks to slot home from close range.
But they would only score once more in the half as Clare chipped away to go 1-9 to 1-5 ahead at the break.
Keelan Sexton and Anthony Doherty (free) traded scores before Cleary produced a stunning effort from the sideline near the corner on the right. The same player then added two more frees either side of a Kieran Malone point to leave the away side in a commanding position at the interval.
Down had a glorious chance to get to within one just two minutes after the restart when Darragh O’Hanlon blasted over the bar from a penalty after David McKibbin had been taken down by Ciaran Russell and Mooney closed it to two, but Cleary and Eoghan Collins edged Clare further ahead again.
After McKibbin was black carded, Russell then suffered the same fate and a subsequent red after a late tackle on the touchline that put Clare down to 14 with 15 minutes to go.
O’Hare and sub Aaron Morgan made it 1-11 to 1-9 but Down spurned chance after chance to get back level and when Cleary converted a stoppage time free, all the hosts could muster in response was an Anthony Doherty ‘45.
Down: M Reid; C Flanagan, B McArdle, A Doherty (0-2, 1f, 1’45); D O’Hagan, N McParland, C Mooney (0-1); D McKibbin, N Donnelly; D O’Hanlon (0-1), C Maginn, S Millar (0-1); B O’Hagan, D O’Hare (1-4, 3f), R Johnston. Subs: K McKernan for McKibbin (Black Card - 51mins), C Poland for Maginn (51mins), A Morgan (0-1) for Johnston (51mins), R Wells for O’Hanlon (63mins), S Dornan for B O’Hagan (69mins)
Clare: K Roche; C O’Dea (0-1), C Brennan, E Collins (0-1); C Russell, A Fitzgerald, P Lillis; G Brennan, C O’Connor; K Malone (0-1), E Cleary (0-7, 6f), G O’Brien; S O’Donoghue (1-0), K Sexton (0-1), D Tubridy (0-1). Subs: A Sweeney for O’Brien (46mins), C Finucane for Sweeney (68mins), D Bohannon for Malone (70mins), E Courtney for Sexton (70mins)
Referee: James Molloy (Galway)