Conor Cooney scores a cool dozen as Galway edge out neighbours Clare

Both sides out of contention for league semi-final spot but eyeing up championship

Galway 0-25 Clare 1-20

Conor Cooney struck a dozen points as Galway recovered from successive losses to Wexford and Cork and ended their league campaign on a positive note when they edged out neighbours Clare at Pearse Stadium.

Both sides were out of contention for a league semi-final spot and neither were in any relegation trouble so, inevitably, there was a lack of bite. But the crowd of about 4,000 witnessed a decent contest between two teams with their eye firmly on the start of the championship next month.

Henry Shefflin was back on the sideline for Galway following the untimely death of his brother Paul, but his coach Richie O'Neill took on media duties for this one.

“We got a few lads back on the field who had been injured, there were elements of our play that really flowed and there are elements we have to improve on, but we’ve got four weeks. That’s what today was about: to get up another step on the ladder and being ready for four weeks’ time, so we’re happy enough with lots of aspects of the play,” said O’Neill.

GPA protest

Clare manager Brian Lohan declined to speak to reporters in support of the GPA protest, but there is renewed hope that 2013 All-Ireland hat-trick hero Shane O'Donnell, who was in Pearse Stadium but was not togged, might be back for the championship following concussion issues.

The sides were level nine times in the opening half, but Galway finished strongly to lead by 0-14 to 0-12 at the interval, with Cooney shooting six points and Cathal Mannion landing three from play.

Clare goalkeeper Eibhear Quilligan, who denied Conor Whelan with a superb save after 11 minutes in the opening half, did likewise after the restart, but Galway extended their lead when Mannion got his fourth point and Cooney tacked on another from placed balls to lead by 0-17 to 0-12.

But Clare hit back and, after David Fitzgerald pointed, Tony Kelly blasted home a penalty after Ian Galvin was fouled to cut the gap to a point after 43 minutes.

Galway responded with the next four points but then Clare hit back and landed four in succession to leave it 0-21 to 1-17 with seven minutes left; but two more from Cooney were decisive as they pulled away to win.

GALWAY: E Murphy; J Grealish, Daithi Burke, D Morrissey; T Killeen, G McInerney, P Mannion (0-1); J Cooney, R Glennon (0-1); T Monaghan (0-2), C Cooney (0-12, 7f, 2'65), C Fahy (0-1); C Mannion (0-5), C Whelan (0-2), B Concannon.

Subs: F Burke for Killeen (46), S Ryan for Morrissey (58), G Lee for Concannon (60), E Niland (0-1) for Fahy (66), David Burke for Glennon (66).

CLARE: E Quilligan; M Gough, A Fitzgerald, P Flanagan; J Browne, J Conlon, D McInerney; S Golden, J McCarthy; C Malone (0-1), D Fitzgerald (0-4), R Taylor (0-5); S Meehan (0-1), T Kelly (1-9, 1-0pen, 6f, 2'65), P Crotty.

Subs: P Duggan for Crotty (13-14), I Galvin for Crotty (half-time), Duggan for Golden (51), R Morrissey for Galvin (57), R Hayes for McInerney (63).

Referee: J Owens (Wexford).