Allianz NHL Division 2 – Clare 0-13 Antrim 1-9

Ryan point enough to see off wasteful Antrim

Clare 0-13 Antrim 1-9

From the Irish Independent newspaper

Monday March 22 2010

Antrim suffered another league defeat as they were edged out by table-toppers Clare at Casement Park yesterday, but it could have been all so different. The Saffrons were lightweight in attack where only Neil McManus really troubled the visitors’ rearguard. Granted, the winners were without six of their selected lineout, and they also saw Fergal Lynch red-carded in the 52nd minute, but they made up for all that with a fine display of running and passing. The home side got off to a great start when McManus rocketed a penalty to the Clare net in the second minute and led by 1-1 to 0-1 after seven minutes. Points by Clare free-taker Colin Ryan, Fergal Lynch and Diarmuid McMahon had the game level six minutes later.

Both sides traded points for the rest of the first half with the scores level on two other occasions. Clare moved 0-9 to 1-3 ahead after 33 minutes but two late points by McManus, the second a massive strike from midfield, left Antrim trailing by 0-9 to 1-5 at the break. Two points each were hit over in the opening quarter hour of the second half but over the next 13 minutes only two points were scored, both for Clare by Sean Collins and Ryan. That was the end of Clare’s scoring while Paul Shiels and Colm McFall brought Antrim back to just one point adrift. Clare’s defence survived a testing closing stage as it beat out a number of Antrim raids that should really have produced an equaliser.

SCORERS — Clare: C Ryan 0-5 (0-5f), B Nugent 0-3, D McMahon, F Lynch 0-2 each, S Collins 0-1. Antrim: N McManus 1-3 (1-0 pen), P Shiels 0-3, S McNaughton, C McFall, A Smylie 0-1 each.

CLARE — P Brennan; P Vaughan, C Dillon, G O’Grady; B Bulger, J McInerney, P Donnellan; S Collins, A O’Brien; F Lynch, B Barrett, D McMahon; D Honan, A Markham, C Ryan. Subs: B Nugent for Honan (15), C O’Donovan for O’Brien (22), M Flaherty for Markham (47), M Murphy for Barrett (64), E Glynn for Donnellan (69).

ANTRIM — G McGhee; A Graffin, C Donnelly, M Scullion; M McAuley, K McKeegan, C Herron; P Shiels, PJ O’Connell; S McCrory, N McManus, S McNaughton; B McFall, C McFall, C McAllister. Subs: A Smylie for McAllister (h-t), T McCann for Scullion (47), D Hamill for McCrory (53), S McKeague for B McFall (61), E McCloskey for O’Connell (68).

REF — B Kelly (Westmeath)
Fourteen-man Clare withstood a late comeback to beat Antrim 0-13 to 1-9 at Casement Park on Sunday. Antrim trailed 1-5 to 0-9 at the break, but fought back to level the game midway through the half thanks to Neil McManus, who finished with 1-5 for the Saffrons. Clare had Fergal Lynch sent off in the second half but they led by two points going into the final stages. They had goalkeeper Philip Brennan to thank for the two after he made a superb save from Aaron Smiley. Smiley and Colm McFaul hit late points for the home side, but the Banner held on for a one-point win.

Antrim grabbed an early goal after Pat Vaughan was penalised and the referee pointed to the spot, with McManus stepping up to slam the ball home. Lynch and Colin Ryan hit back for Clare before Barry Nugent came on as a substitute and levelled the game with a fine point at 1-2 to 0-5. Nugent, who came on for the injured Darach Honan, finished the half with three points while Ryan also finished with 0-3 in the first half. McManus pitched in with 1-4 of the Saffrons’ total in the opening 35 minutes, his late point leaving one point between the sides at the break. Paul Shiels was the only other Antrim man to register a score in the first half. McMahon extended Clare’s lead after the break, but Antrim might have taken the lead when Shiels’ free landed in the small square before bouncing off Clare goalkeeper Philip Brennan’s shoulder and clear. Clare led by 0-13 to 0-8 with five minutes left on the clock, but their hopes were not helped when Lynch was dismissed.