Clare cling on to deny Wexford a memorable comeback

After leading by 13 points at one stage the home team were given a scare late on

Clare 2-22 Wexford 1-22

Clare had to dig deep in the last quarter to come away with the spoils at Cusack Park on Sunday. Having led by 13 points after 15 minutes of the second period, the hosts saw that advantage whittled down to just two and, after a nervy finish, they managed to overcome a spirited Wexford by three in the end.

Played in front of a crowd of 4,245, this was a tie that saw the Bannermen deservedly lead by 1-15 to 0-11 at half time.

In the opening half, Davy Fitzgerald’s Wexford had to play second fiddle to a sharp Clare outfit that utilised a clever short passing game. Wexford opened the scoring with a Rory O’Connor point inside a minute of the throw-in. They doubled their lead moments later when corner-forward Cathal Dunbar split the posts in a period of early Wexford dominance. But once Clare settled, they hit four in a row through Podge Collins, Peter Duggan twice and Tony Kelly.


Youngster Diarmuid Ryan hit his first of four for the Banner County on eleven minutes as his side out-hurled their opponents throughout the field. The game’s opening goal came in injury-time before the break when John Conlon finished off a move from the edge of the square that began with Kelly and also involved advancing wing back David Fitzgerald.

Clare returned with intent and added 1-3 without reply, early in the half. First up came a Tony Kelly point from play and then referee John Keenan awarded Clare a penalty for a foul on Peter Duggan. Duggan planted the sliothar in the left corner of the net and then Ian Galvin and Diarmuid Ryan added further valuable points. Wexford’s Rory O’Connor and Ryan exchanged scores by the 50th minute to leave Clare 2-19 to 0-12 ahead. But the Slaneysiders refused to yield and they finally hit a purple patch. Rory O’Connor notched two in a row followed by good points by Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Jack O’Connor, Lee Chin and Kevin Foley.

Then they struck for a goal of quality involving about five handpasses. Shaun Murphy was on the end of this passing movement, hitting it first time into the net. A further pair of points by Rory O’Connor and Foley reduced the deficit to just two (2-19 to 1-20) with seven minutes remaining.

Clare eventually grabbed their first score in 16 minutes when Peter Duggan landed a free from inside his own half. Podge Collins and Ian Galvin hit the target for the Clare men while Jack O’Connor replied with a pointed free in injury time and still the drama continued.

Wexford’s Lee Chin was fouled and Jack O’ Connor’s close in free was stopped on the line by goalkeeper Donal Tuohy. Seconds later Wexford’s Rory O’Connor had a chance to equalise but a last minute intervention by defender Jack Browne thwarted his goal effort, deflecting for a 65. Unfortunately for Fitzgerald’s men, the resultant shot was dropped in to the edge of the square and cleared by the Clare defence, with the last action of the game.

CLARE: D Tuohy, R Hayes, D McInerney, J Browne, P O'Connor (C) C Cleary, D Fitzgerald (0-2), S Golden (0-1), C Galvin (0-1), P Duggan (1-6, 1-0pen, 0-6f), T Kelly (0-2), D Ryan (0-4), I Galvin (0-2), J Conlon (1-1), P Collins (0-3).

Subs: C Malone for Fitzgerald (54 mins), R Taylor for Golden (61), J McCarthy for P O'Connor (65), A McCarthy for Ryan (68), A Shanagher for Conlon inj. (68).

WEXFORD: M Fanning, L Ryan (0-1), D Byrne, S Reck, P Foley, M O'Hanlon (C.), S Murphy (1-0, 1-0f), D O'Keeffe (0-1), K Foley (0-2), A Nolan (0-1), L Óg McGovern (0-2), I Byrne (0-4, 0-4f), C Dunbar (0-2), L Chin (0-1), R O'Connor (0-5).

Subs: C McDonald for McGovern (h/t), P Morris (0-1) for I Byrne (h/t), D Reck for S Reck (54), J O'Connor (0-2, 0-1f) for Dunbar (54), H Kehoe for Nolan (66).

Referee: J Keenan ( Wicklow).