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All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Qualifier Round 2 – Dublin 2-22 Clare 0-15

Dublin defeated Clare by 2-22 to 0-15 in Round 2 of the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Qualifiers on Saturday in Croke Park.

Dubs deliver bolt from the blue

Dublin 2-22 Clare 0-15

By Diarmuid O’Flynn for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, July 12, 2010

HOW in heaven’s name did this end up as a 13-point win for Dublin? Yes it’s hurling, an All-Ireland qualifier in the plains of Croke Park where things can change very quickly, and the greasy pitch on Saturday often made ball-winning something of a lottery, but this was truly a bolt from the blue. Having built up a nine-points lead in a spectacular seven-minute first-half spell (21st to 28th minutes, 0-4 each to 0-13 to 0-4, full-forward Dotsy O’Callaghan the scorer in chief), Dublin then committed a cardinal error at any level of hurling, visibly relaxed they allowed a genuinely talented Clare in for three soft points before the break.

Even so, Dublin were still comfortably in front on the resumption, seven points (0-14 to 0-7). However a now-rampant Clare picked up where they had left off, hit six consecutive points in just nine minutes and were reeling in the Dubs point by point. Trailing by one (0-14 to 0-13), the underdogs were now in control in almost every sector of the pitch (still couldn’t breach the outstanding Dublin rearguard, in which custodian Gary Maguire was in superb form with two magnificent saves on the day). By comparison Dublin couldn’t even get a look at the posts at the other, not a single shot either on or off target in this period. This was it, Clare’s game to win and lose.

Then came an error by keeper Donal Touhy, one of the heroes of Clare’s U21 breakthrough All-Ireland triumph last year. He needlessly came off his line to contest a harmless long lobbing ball by Dublin wing-back Peter Kelly with Dublin’s Liam Rushe and his own Brendan Bugler. The ball beat them all and bounced into the empty net. A sucker punch, certainly, but it was only the 45th minute and they were still only four points behind. Still hurling far better as a team there was every reason for them to keep driving on. They didn’t. Where the outfield players should have gritted their teeth and thought, ‘Right, Donal has saved us on many an occasion, now we’re going to recover this for him,’ they did as they had done in the final crucial ten minutes of their Munster semi-final loss to Waterford and simply faded away.

Dublin now tacked on 1-8 against just two points for Clare, and what had been a game balanced on a knife-edge, and tilting towards the Banner, became a romp for the blue-and-blue. “We won by what, ten, 11?” asked bemused Dublin manager Anthony Daly, to be told it was actually 13. “It certainly didn’t seem like that — the reality was that we were in serious, serious trouble.” Ironically Daly, a Banner legend and former teammate and still great friends with Clare manager Ger O’Loughlin and his selectors, knew what was coming after the break and tried to warn his charges. He said: “The last thing we said before we went out after half-time was, ‘They’re going to come at us’. I know Sparrow (Ger) almost intimately and I knew there was going to be Doyler (Liam Doyle) and Danny Chaplin down there (Clare dressing-room) going bananas.

“We tried to warn fellas but our lads can tune out so easily and think the work is done. The few scores before half-time were crucial for Clare. Instead of driving on and killing it off at that stage, we seemed to be… it’s just inexperience I think. We don’t have that ruthless streak that you get off a Cork, Kilkenny or Tipp. We haven’t learned that yet.” The team with even more learning to do, however, is Clare, a team even younger, even more inexperienced, whose cause wasn’t at all helped when corner-back Pat Vaughan (17th minute) and wing-back Patrick Donnellan (47th minute), had both to be stretchered off the field after accidental hits with both ending up in hospital. O’Loughlin admitted their departures were costly. “Those are two very experienced guys and probably two of the fellas who were playing better at the time. In fairness to the lads, in the first 15 minutes of the second half there was only one team in it and that was Clare. We put them thinking big-time and that was the way I was hoping they’d play from the start. They didn’t, and I don’t know why.”

Ultimately however, Dublin strength, and that little bit of extra Dublin experience, was telling. The Clare manager agreed: “We had nine or ten guys out there around 20 or 21 years of age, and you can see the difference. A guy that’s 24 or 25 and has been around for a few years, probably has an advantage physically. That’s something we need to do over the next two or three years, build up on that. We have to find other players in the county, and those players are likely to be around 19 or 20 years of age again, rather than 24 or 25. We’ve been unlucky this year as well with James McInerney, Gerry Quinn, Gerry O’Grady (injured), that has been a bit unsettling for the team. I’ve seen enough to know that there is a good future for Clare, but you wouldn’t want to be getting 13-point beatings like that over the next while, it’s very deflating. Going forward, our best hope is with these lads.” At that stage the lights in the media room went out, plunging us all into darkness – “That probably sums up my day!” said Sparrow, proving the sense of humour, at least is still intact. Might have summed up the day, but doesn’t sum up the season, for Clare – there’s a lot of light ahead for those boys. Dublin? They’re only an hour up the road from the true masters of game control – closing down, closing out. Will they never learn?

Scorers for Dublin: A McCrabbe 0-8 (3f, 2s/l); D O’Callaghan (0-6); P Kelly, S Lambert (1-1 each); S Hiney (0-2); S Durkin, L Rushe, D O’Dwyer, M O’Brien, (0-1 each).

Scorers for Clare: J Conlan (0-3); C Ryan (0-3, 1f, 1‘65); J Clancy, N O’Connell, D Honan (0-2 each); S Collins, F Lynch, B Bugler, (0-1 each).

Subs for Dublin: L Ryan for O’Dwyer (41); S Lambert for Durkin (46); M Carton for P Carton (51); K Flynn for Rushe inj (68); S Ryan for O’Callaghan (69).

Subs for Clare: N O’Connell for Vaughan inj (17); A Markham for Collins (26); G Quinn for Donnellan inj (47); D Barrett for Ryan (59); C O’Donovan for Conlan (70+2).

Referee: J Sexton (Cork).

Dublin lower Banner to claim first Qualifiers win

Saturday, July 10, 2010

From the GAA.ie web site

Dublin are through to Phase 3 of the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship after a 2-22 to 0-15 win over Clare at Croke Park on Saturday afternoon. The Dubs led by 0-14 to 0-7 at the break after a powerful first-half performance, but the Banner staged a fine comeback after the break, cutting the gap to just two points, after scoring five points in a row at the start of the second half. However, the Clare revival was halted abruptly when a goalkeeping mistake by Donal Touhy allowed Peter Kelly to grab a fortuitous first goal for the men from the capital.

Dublin led 1-14 to 0-13 and further points from the excellent Alan McCrabbe – he finished with eight points, including two sublime sideline cuts – and Maurice O’Brien before taking complete control in the final ten minutes. Their second goal came in the 65th minute when livewire forward David O’Callaghan fed substitute Simon Lambert, who drove the ball to back of the net. The sides were level at 0-4 apiece after 20 minutes before the Dubs, with O’Callaghan in excellent form, hit the next nine points of the game in a remarkable nine-minute spell.

John Conlon finally stopped the rot in the 33rd minute with a point from play, ending a 13-minute Clare spell without a score. The Banner added further scores from Nicky O’Connell and Jonathan Clancy just before the break to trail by seven points at half-time. O’Connell and the rangy Darach Honan were amongst the scorers as Clare hit five unanswered points after the break to cut the deficit to just two points. However, Kelly’s goal proved to be the turning point in the second half and the Dubs powered home to claim their first-ever Qualifier win with 13 points to spare.