Clare and Dublin taking positive vibes from high-scoring encounter
Tony Kelly serves up something special at Parnell Park with 20-point haul
Dublin’s John Hetherton chases down Tony Kelly of Clare. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho
Dublin 2-23 Clare 0-34
Brian Lohan has always had the default outlook of the undaunted, as the player he was and the manager he is now, and nothing about the nature or indeed necessity of this win threatened to change it.
In the calm aftermath of Saturday’s five-point win over Dublin, which saw Clare come from behind at half-time and Tony Kelly help himself to a monster score of 20 points, Lohan gently approves of it all, then promptly looks ahead.
“Happy with the display, we kind of put ourselves under pressure coming up here to get a performance, so yeah, happy with that,” Lohan said. “It wasn’t a case of being too hard on our lads at half-time, because we’re doing a lot of things right, and happy enough with how they responded in the second half.”
Kelly was central to that, as Clare slowly wore Dublin down, the Ballyea man back in the centre-forward position after missing the last day with an injury, his haul including four from play, off his left and right, upside down and inside out, where every distance was not near.
“Yeah, what did TJ Reid get 1-18 last week?” asked Lohan. “Each team has quality players that are well able to take the responsibility of scoring. We’re lucky enough that we have Tony. While we’re happy enough to get the victory here, we’ve got a good test coming next Saturday in Cusack Park. Kilkenny are the benchmark, Leinster champions, it will be another great test for our lads.”
Dublin manager Mattie Kenny was similarly unruffled and likewise looking ahead: they finish up away to old Leinster rivals Wexford next week: two weeks after it’s championship time, Dublin facing the rising Antrim tide, on June 26th, Clare taking on Waterford the following day.
“I felt as the game was going on that we were giving away too many frees,” said Kenny, pointing to Clare’s 34-point score. “Tony Kelly was scoring from all sides so that’s something we’ve got to look at, that we’re a little bit more disciplined in the tackle.
“Look, Clare played really well tonight but our lads played really well also. I thought the intensity was stepped up since the break a few weeks ago. You can see now that we’re getting close to championship and both sides really went at it. I think that’ll do both Clare and ourselves a lot of good.
“We always said from the start that the league is all about preparing for the championship. We have a really good game against Wexford next weekend, we’ve used 27 or 28 players up to now, and there’s a couple of guys we haven’t seen, a couple of guys who are yet to come back. I think it is all panning out nicely for us at this stage.”
So it’s happy-go-lucky as they go it both cases it seems, Lohan making no further case around the Covid-19 controversy, and indeed Dublin will take further refuge in the fact they had produced on the only goal chances of the evening, converting two and forcing a fine save from Eibhear Quilligan.
Ultimately Kelly’s tally (he scored 0-8 in the first half, 0-12 in the second) was enough to secure the five-point win, Dublin playing the last 10 minutes with 14 men, after full back Eoghan O’Donnell was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Both teams had a spread of scorers too, Clare’s Aidan McCarthy chipping in with four from wing forward, Shane O’Donnell hungry as ever adding two more, as did Mark Rodgers, with David Fitzgerald also adding two off the bench.
After leading at the break by two points, still contesting with intent throughout the second half, Dublin lost a little handle on Clare’s constant harrying. Still Donal Burke was keeping them in it with some excellent placed-ball accuracy of his own; he finished with 0-13, including three from play in the second half.
Playing with the breeze, Dublin hit the hard ground running, responding to Clare’s opener with four unanswered points, thanks Cian Boland, Danny Sutcliffe and Chris Crummy. Level again at the water break thanks to another Burke free, Clare kicked on again, Aron Shanagher displaying another of his now trademark high-fetch and scores, with O’Donnell also knocking over two points deftly struck with his own effortless style, leaving it 0-12 to 0-9.
Then on 28 minutes, slightly against the run of play, Dublin hit the net; Ronan Hayes of Kilmacud Crokes, having moved back to full forward, latching onto a long ball from Boland, expertly driving the goal home off the ground. It was his first shot at goal and impressively finished.
Level again, Dublin took a brief lead and then soon extended it, this time Boland finishing off the second attempt on goal after Crummey’s shot was saved. And with that Dublin went into the break with two goals, and two points to the good, 2-11 to 0-15.
DUBLIN: A Nolan; A Dunphy, E O’Donnell, C O’Callaghan; P Smyth, C Burke, D Grey (0-1); C Crummy (0-2), J Madden; D Sutcliffe (capt) (0-2), D Burke (0-13, nine frees), M Schutte (0-1); C Boland (1-1), R Hayes (1-2), E Dillon (0-1).
Subs: R McBride for Smyth (50 mins), J Hetherton for Schutte (53), D Keogh for Boland (60), F Whitely for Sutcliffe, P Crummy for Dillon (both 70).
CLARE: E Quilligan; R Hayes, C Cleary, A Fitzgerald; D Ryan (0-1), J Conlon (capt), P Fitzpatrick; C Malone (0-1), C Galvin; A McCarthy (0-4), T Kelly (0-20, 16 frees), S O’Donnell (0-2); A Shanagher (0-1), M Rogers (0-2), I Galvin.
Subs: D Reidy (0-1) for I Galvin (47 mins), D Fitzgerald (0-2) for Fitzpatrick (53), S McMahon for Rodgers (63), J McCarthy for C Galvin (67).
Referee: Colum Cunning (Antrim).